Papadums, a thin crisp wafer made from legume or rice flour and served as a side dish.
Sambals, which are fresh chutney side dishes; they may include red onion, chili, grated coconut, lime juice, and are often the hottest part of the meal.
Each bowl contains small portions, but as is traditional in most of tropical Asia, if a bowl is emptied, it is immediately refilled.
The food uses chili peppers, cardamom, cumin, coriander and other spices. It has a distinctive taste. The cuisines uses ingredients like dried fish which are local to the area. The spicier preparations are believed to be among the world's hottest in terms of chilli content (second only to Sylheti). While natives are born into this cuisine and develop a healthy tolerance to spicy food, many visitors and tourists to the country often find the spiciness excessive. As a result, many local restaurants in developed and tourist areas offer special low-spice versions of local foods to cater to foreign palates, or have an alternative western menu for tourists.