A FOODIE’S GUIDE TO OUR ISLAND DESTINATIONS: CULINARY DELIGHTS TO TRY
Most visitors arrive on our tropical islands to sunbathe on the beaches and try out snorkelling and other water activities, but food lovers will delight in knowing that Indian Ocean islands are gastronomic destinations ideal for culinary exploration.
Mauritius has diverse and flavourful cuisine influenced by its multi-cultural heritage. Local creole food is a style of cooking that blends Indian, Chinese, African and European influences. Creole dishes often include seafood and rice spiced with the bold flavours of turmeric and cumin.
Seafood plays a big part in the traditional food of Mauritius, with lobster, prawns and fish commonly found on menus, cooked in various ways including grilling, frying and steaming.
A Mauritian curry is a flavourful dish that typically includes a combination of spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. It often features vegetables such as potatoes and eggplant and can also include meat or seafood. Coconut milk is generally used to add a creamy texture and sweetness to the dish. The flavours are complex and aromatic, making it a popular and delicious dish in Mauritian cuisine.
To tantalise your taste buds it’s worth sampling the island’s famous street food. Some popular dishes to try are: “dholl puri” (a type of flatbread served with bean curry and chutney), “gateau piment” (chilli cakes), “mine frite” (fried noodles), “rougaille” (tomato-based stew), and “gato pima” (sweet potato cakes).
The Seychelles is bursting with visual beauty. From the turquoise hues of the water to the lush, tropical surroundings to the dramatic black granite boulders scattered throughout the soft, white beach shoreline. The cuisine in Seychelles is also delightful and bursting with unusual flavours. Seychellois food, influenced by many different cultures including French, British, Spanish, Indian, African, and Chinese, takes the best of these elements and creates its own delicious cuisine known as Creole cuisine.
Seafood is a dominant feature on menus at this island destination, especially grilled fish. Some of the popular fish eaten in Seychelles include tuna, red snapper, barracuda, sailfish and mahi-mahi. The fish is usually marinated with a mixture of lemon juice, ginger and chilli and then roasted over an open fire.
Octopus salad is a local dish found all over the island from hotel restaurants to local corner cafes. Fresh octopus (zourit) is mixed with various fruits and vegetables is a great appetizer, enjoyed either as a hot or cold dish.
Heart of Palm salad usually consists of sliced or chopped hearts of palm (the inner core of certain palm trees), mixed with other ingredients such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions and avocado. Complete this refreshing and nutritious salad with a tangy sweet and sour ginger and lime dressing.
For your sweet tooth, try some cassava cake, a delicious dessert made from grated cassava, coconut milk, eggs and sugar. This delicious, sweet treat is best eaten with custard.
Zanzibar cuisine is full of exotic flavours and aromas thanks to the variety of spices found on the island such as cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and saffron. The combination of Indian, Arabic, Swahili and European influences creates mouth-watering dishes to savour.
The ocean around Zanzibar is full of fresh seafood and octopus is a firm favourite. It’s served in various ways, from grilled octopus to octopus coconut curry.
Chips Mayai is a popular street food in Zanzibar and is a combination of French fries (chips) and an omelette (mayai) made with eggs and sometimes onions and tomatoes. The fries are mixed into the egg mixture and then fried until crispy on both sides. It is often served with kachumbari (a tomato and onion salad) and chilli sauce.
Spice cake is a popular dessert in Zanzibar using various spices including cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, to flavour the cake. Join the locals and consume this sweet treat with a delicious cup of coffee or tea.
The cuisine of Maldives is largely influenced by Indian, Sri Lankan and Arabic flavours. Dhivehi Cuisine is the traditional cuisine of Maldives with fish, rice and coconut as its basic components. Other popular dishes include curries, grilled fish and spicy snacks called hedhikaa.
A popular and must-try breakfast in Maldives is Mas Huni – shredded smoked Tuna with finely chopped onion, coconut and chilli. Eaten with freshly baked roshi flatbread, mas huni is a sublime way to start the day.
Yams are one of the few crops that are grown on this island and as a result, fried yams are a popular snack in Maldives served with different spicy sauces.
Aluvi Boakibaa, a sweet cassava and coconut cake, is an integral part of the cuisine in Maldives. This melt-in-your-mouth treat is a firm favourite for both locals and tourists.
There’s a saying that the best way to truly experience a destination and immerse yourself in its culture is through its cuisine. We agree!