Food News

Love hoppers? Learn how to make your own with Sydney’s Hopper Kadé

The Sri Lankan restaurant is bringing the growing love of hoppers to the people with a series of classes.
Dan Gray

Sydney’s Hopper Kadé is bringing hoppers to the people. The Sri Lankan eatery, located in Haymarket’s Exchange building, is holding a series of workshops where co-owner Ruvanie De Zoysa will show how to make the bowl-shaped crêpes from scratch. It’s part of her broader mission to demystify Sri Lankan food.

“Some people find the concept of making hoppers intimidating,” she says. “The classes are about making it as accessible as possible.”

There’s alchemy to making hoppers. The batter is a mixture of coconut milk and rice flour (yes, hoppers are gluten-free), which undergoes a two-stage, six-hour fermentation process; though for the classes De Zoysa has developed a recipe that condenses the fermentation to 30 minutes.

“Hopper fermentation is a bell-curve – there’s a small window where you’ll achieve their optimum flavour,” she says. Under-ferment the batter and it won’t reach the desired thickness and frothiness; over-ferment, and the hopper will taste too sour.

Hoppers in the making.

Then there’s the cooking process, a combination of steaming and dry-frying the hoppers in a bowl-shaped pan that’s similar to a mini wok. “It’s a bit of a dance to get the batter right up the sides of the pan” says De Zoysa. Done correctly, the result is a hopper that’s lacy and crisp on the outside with a spongy, doughy bit in the middle.

De Zoysa likens hoppers to pancakes – they’re typically eaten for breakfast, though only once or twice a week in Sri Lankan households. And much like pancakes, “the first hopper is the dud one.”

In the class, participants will also learn how to make two sambols (one with coconut, another with red chilli and onion) and sit down to a three-course Sri Lankan lunch before walking away with the hopper recipe and bottles of Sri Lankan gin and arrack (a distilled spirit made from the sap of coconut flowers or sugarcane).

In Sydney, Sri Lankan restaurants have historically been clustered in Toongabbie and Pendle Hill in the city’s west. But the recent march of restaurateurs opening in the inner-city – Sri Lankan Street Food in Glebe, O Tama Carey’s Lankan Filling Station in East Sydney, and Hopper Kadé in Haymarket – is testament to the growing curiosity of the island country’s cuisine, which De Soyza describes as a “natural following” from the end of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009, and the cuisine’s popularity in the United Kingdom.

De Soyza, who was born in Zambia to food-loving Sinhalese parents, says Hopper Kadé is a vehicle to share the food of her heritage. “I want to share the knowledge that I take for granted,” she says. “It’s time for the world to experience good, wholesome Sri Lankan food.”

Hopper Kadé, The Exchange, Shop 1 / 1 Little Pier St, Haymarket, NSW

Hopper-making classes are $95 (plus booking fee), and run on

Sat 1 Feb 11am-1.30pm

Tue 4 Feb 6.30pm-9.30pm

Sat 15 Feb 11am-1.30pm

Tue 18 Feb 6.30pm-9pm.

Bookings are essential. For more information and tickets, visit

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