Mauritius has a rich and diverse culture, despite being a small island of about 1 million people. The infuse cultures from African and Asian roots has influenced the cuisine on the island. Together with the bountiful land and sea, you can feast on some exotic and delicious local foods.
From local eateries, street stalls and restaurants, you should aim to eat at where there are long line ups and people waiting- this is probably where the best local food is found. Don’t stay in your resort – get out and explore the island and its amazing and delightful food.
Mauritius has got several signature dishes, one of them being Dholl Puri which could probably be the national dish of Mauritius. Dholl Puri can easily be found in any street stall, sold at very cheap prices. This is a beloved street food in Mauritius that originally has its roots from India but it is now forms part of a conventional Mauritian cuisine. It can be eaten for lunch or as a snack or for anything.
The Mauritian Dholl Puri is similar to a tortilla but made using yellow split peas.
The best thing about dholl puri is that it is so versatile that it can be served with savory curries or pickled vegetables such as the typical Mauritian ‘Rougaille’ (a tomato based sauce) or with sweet dishes like ‘Kheer’ (Rice pudding).
Another strong contender as the national dish of Mauritius, has to be the Rougaille.
This creole dish is in the heart of all Mauritians. It is a tomato based dish, cooked with a variation of spices, such as garlic, chillies, coriander etc. the combination of all these spices, gives it a very rich and distinct flavour. This sauce then accompanies almost anything, as a topping or filling. Various ingredients can also be added to the sauce, such as fish, egg, sausages or meat. Salted fish in the rougaille sauce is especially a favourite among many Mauritians.
Whether they are curries, stews, Chinese dishes or Indian, seafood is a popular ingredient in Mauritius, since it is surrounded by the ocean. On the island, you can find a variety of incredible seafood, from the local fish to calamari and lobsters. Seafood on the island can be prepared in almost anyway you want it; baked, grilled, fried or sauteed.
Local fish, including the ‘capitaine’ fish, dorado, tuna and others are often used in a variety in dishes- ranging from grills or in curries and stews. Lobsters, are in particular, grilled and often served during catamaran cruises. Octopus is not only a favourite in Mauritius but is plentiful on the small Mauritian territory of Rodrigues. It is usually, dried or can be added to curries, salads or to Vindayes- a spicy turmeric and mustard based dry roast. Crabs are another delicacy you will find on the island, where it is often served in soups.
On the topic of seafood, and as previously mentioned, Vindaye is a spicy Mauritian dish, cooked with mustard, garlic, ginger, turmeric, onion and usually fish, although it can be made with vegetables or octopus instead. Tuna, Dorado and Barracuda fish are often used for this dish, where they are cut into thick slices. It’s served with rice, lentils, pickles and chutneys or even filled in bread.
Similar to the Indian dish, Briyani is a rice dish made with beef, chicken, fish, mutton or vegetables as well as yoghurt, saffron and spices that originate from Muslim Mauritians.
Made with basmati rice, potatoes and either meat, chicken or fish, along with various other spices, Briyani has become an iconic Mauritian dish. Once slow cooked for about 45 minutes, it is served hot and accompanied with a cucumber salad and/or pickled vegetables (achard). Briyani is often featured at Muslim celebrations and events, though it can readily be found at many street stalls, snack bars and restaurants.
On this tropical island, you can consider deep fried snacks as real Mauritian street food. Amongst the large variety of fried snacks , the samosa can be easily recognised due to its distinct triangular shape. The outside of the samosa is made of dough, and can be filled with different fillings, for example cheese, spiced potato, chicken or fish. The samosas are deep fried so that they are crispy on the outside. You can buy samosas on the street and at local and indian restaurants.
This typical Mauritian snack is made up of yellow split peas and seasoned with chilies and spring onion. The name means ‘Chili Cake’ or alternatively called ‘Gateau Dhal’ but rest assured it is far from being hot and spicy. This snack is very popular in Mauritius and is easily found in almost all food corners. Gateau Piment is the all time favorite of all Mauritians. It is sometimes enjoyed with bread and butter during breakfast time, but is also great during lunch and dinner!
Tropical Fruit Salad
When we talk about fruit salad it is not like the one you know; a Mauritian fruit salads is rather different to what you have ever eaten. It is a mix of tropical fruits such as pineapple, mango, guava, apple, and even cucumber, but it is seasoned with tamarind sauce and chilli salt. If you’re not a fan of hot and spicy foods, then you can always ask for them to leave it out.