A multi-cultural island, Mauritius harmoniously blends cuisines from all over the world, adapted to the islander’s personal tastes. Because of the blend of cultures, there’s always something new to try and discover. While European, American and Asian dishes are available anywhere on the island, there are some staples that embody everything Mauritian food stands for. A common misconception is that Mauritius food tends to be as spicy as Indian food, but this is not the case. Spicy and hot condiments in Mauritius are always optional. Rest assured, you can always skip on the chilli if you want something milder. Wondering what to eat in Mauritius? Read on to find out.
An absolute staple on the island, Dholl Puri is present in virtually every region of Mauritius. This basically consists of two pieces of flatbread stuffed with pulses and enjoyed in pairs. Street vendors may serve you a pair filled with tangy marinara sauce, curry and optional Mauritian chilli. Not only is it exceptionally delicious but Dholl Puri is also amongst the most affordable street food on the island. Dholl puri is often accompanied by a tall glass of chilled flavoured milk sprinkled with grated jelly – the Mauritian version of Bubble Tea.
Rice and Bread
It’s no secret that Mauritians love their carbs. Most of the meals are accompanied by servings of rice and bread. While the islanders tend to favour Basmati or Jasmine rice, it is also possible to find brown or gluten-free rice. Bread is another common staple in Mauritius and often forms part of a typical Mauritian breakfast. Most natives enjoy half or a full bread roll with butter and cheese, accompanied with a cup of tea or coffee at breakfast. For lunch, they bring along a bread roll stuffed with various fillings and condiments- the Mauritian equivalent of sandwiches.
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Pasta is also a staple on the island. Far from spaghetti Bolognese or classical lasagnas, Mauritians regularly indulge in what they call “Macaroni Thon”, which is basically boiled pasta sautéed with onions, fresh tomatoes and a can of tuna fish. It is garnished with cheese, crushed salty crackers and herbs. Another local twist on pasta is “Dhall Pitta”, which is ravioli cooked in a pulse-based soup.
Known as “Gadjacks” on the island, fried snacks are quite popular in Mauritius. While people tend to avoid fried food during the week, a common Sunday brunch would typically include an assortment of samosas, fried dumplings, egg rolls, eggplant slices fried in batter, fried yeast balls, toasts and tea a bit like the Mauritian version of a British fry up! Though some people like to make their own “Gadjacks”, there are plenty local vendors selling this snacks. Sunday dinners often include a whole fried fish with fried onions and parsley, accompanied by French baguettes and fried meat or chicken.
Another firm favourite on the island, the Biryani originates from various parts of India and the Middle East. The locals have adapted it to their personal preferences. This dish basically consists of rice layered with saffron water and fried vegetables, meat, chicken or fish, along with fried potatoes and boiled eggs. While it can quickly be prepared in a rice cooker, Mauritians tend to do it the traditional and somewhat time-consuming way: in a metal vessel sealed shut with flour dough. Biryanis in Mauritius come with different types of condiments such as cucumber salad, pickled onions, various types of chutneys and tomato salsa. While these are quite easily available in just about every eatery on the island, you can also buy them from street vendors who will serve up your biryani right from a steaming pot in the back of their van.
Fruit: Fresh and Pickled
Your Mauritius food list can’t go without some fresh fruit. Because it is a tropical island, fresh fruit is readily available. Mauritians are also extremely fond of pickled delicacies such as pickled olives in a sweet and sour sauce. There are several street vendors with carts full of fresh fruits and different types of pickles. Drizzle sweet tamarind sauce or sprinkle ground red chilli on top, you will have the best street food ever. The best place to tuck into those mouth-watering treats is, undoubtedly, on the beach. Every beach in Mauritius comes with fruit vendors: if you can’t decide what to go for, you can always opt for the fruit cup for a variety of flavours. Sink your teeth into a juicy slice of pickled mango as you watch the sun set over the horizon. Awesome!
Mauritian spirits: The perfect accompaniment to Mauritius food!
Mauritius may be reputed for its delectable food, but it also produces some of the most flavourful wines and spirits in the Indian Ocean. Because the island produces mass quantities of sugar cane, several of their locally produced beverages are flavoured by cane sugar and syrup, adding an absolutely refreshing sweetness to it. Mauritian rum pairs beautifully with warm and spicy ‘Dholl-Puri’ or even a plate of local fried snacks.
Do give the famous Phoenix and Blue Marlin beers a try as well. You can find these locally produced beverages in literally every supermarket on the island. What’s better than quenching your thirst with a cold beer?
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