Rice is a staple in the Sri Lankan diet and is the basic food for all meals. Each ethnic group is known for its own dishes, but each has also borrowed from the others over time; thus, Sri Lankan cuisine is a combination of all the different types. A variety of curries are popular, from mild to very spicy. Sri Lankans typically consume little meat, but they do eat large amounts of pulses (peas and beans) and nuts. Tea is served with most meals and as refreshments.
The different religions of the country play a large role in determining what is and is not eaten. Sri Lankans of all religious groups seek to avoid those things that would cause spiritual pollution. Because food enters the body, it is considered a prime source of potential pollution. Those that adhere strictly to Buddhist doctrines, do not eat flesh of any kind. Some Buddhists, however, include fish or eggs in their diet. Hindus do not eat beef or pork, and Muslims do not eat pork.