Mauritius top local cuisines to try

Article posted 06 March 2019

Mauritius top local cuisines to try

If you’re visiting Mauritius, follow this guide for authentic local food and cuisine. From street food to fine dining, these are the sweet and spicy flavours to savour.

For a small island nation with little over 1 million inhabitants, Mauritius has an extraordinarily diverse food scene, having absorbed influences from several continents including India, China and Europe. To add an extra culinary dimension to your trip, these are the essential local delicacies you’ll want to make sure are on your dining itinerary. Whether you’re after a sit-down meal in off-the-radar restaurants in Mauritius, or are looking to grab some street food at a thriving market or bazaar, Mauritius has something delicious to offer you. You’ll also have no trouble satisfying your sweet tooth either.

Classic Indian curry

When it comes to Mauritius’ food, incredible Indian flavours are everywhere. For traditional curry that’s sure to hit the spot, head to Le Tandoor restaurant on Royal Road in Grande Baie, to the north of the island. The menu offers classics like tikkas and biryanis, alongside some amazing seafood dishes, such as masala lobster. And, of course, the kitchen makes use of its clay tandoor oven for everything from naan breads to kebabs.

Fish Vindaye

Mauritian cuisine is known for its super-fresh seafood, and one of its most popular fish dishes is the curry, Vindaye. Believed to have been inspired by the Indian Vindaloo, Vindaye is an intensely flavoured dish usually featuring fish cooked in turmeric, mustard, garlic and ginger. Often tangy, with lightly pickled fish, it’s one of the region’s defining dishes. For an authentic example in a restaurant heaving with locals, try La Terrasse, also located in Grand Baie.

La Rougaille

Coconut chutneys and spicy pastes form the backbone of Mauritian cuisine, and one of the best-loved is Rougaille, a Creole-inspired, tomato-based mixture that gives its name to a famous stew. The dish in turn lends its name to a restaurant – La Rougaille Creole – that’s well worth checking out. As well as its signature dish (which is typically flavoured with onions, garlic and thyme alongside the tomatoes), it also serves octopus curry, aubergine fritters and grilled seafood.

Dim Sum

It’s perhaps surprising when you first learn that Mauritius has a thriving dim sum scene. Those flavourful little dumplings are in fact quite common on the island because of the influence of late 19th-century Chinese migrants who helped to shape Mauritian food culture. First Restaurant, located in Port Louis, is the place to go for some of the best dumplings you’ll find outside of Hong Kong. It looks unassuming, but alongside traditional dim sum you’ll also find classic rice and meat dishes.

Street food

Mauritius street food is vibrant and diverse. There are food markets and bazaars everywhere, including Port Louis and Flacq. There’s so much on offer, from dim sum-style Boulettes to deep-fried foods like samosas and fritters (known collectively as Gajak). However, above all else, the one street food you must try while exploring Mauritius is the famous Dholl Puri. It’s a pancake wrap made from yellow split peas, which is then filled with bean curry and topped with chutney and pickles. The ultimate grab-and-go food, it’s available at almost any market, but head to Dewa, Rose-Hill, for a premium example.

Chilli paste

Mauritians like their food spicy, and you’ll find chilli in all its forms (fresh, pickled, powdered, dried) just about everywhere. There’s a well-known chilli paste, brilliantly called Mazavaroo, that can be served on the side of anything. Usually containing onion, garlic, ginger, lemon and shrimp alongside the fiery pepper, Mazaravoo is served in restaurants, or you can buy it by the jar if you need to bring some back home in your suitcase to feed your new addiction.

Fresh Fruits

As you’d expect from any tropical paradise, there’s an abundance of fresh produce readily available on Mauritius, and during a long day at the beach, you probably won’t be able to think of anything better to snack on. Fresh Victoria pineapples, mangoes and coconuts are often sold from cart-vendors strolling the sands, and for the more adventurous, seek out a chilli-flecked, sweet-salty fruit salad. Although, maybe have a coconut water on standby to tame the heat.

Sugar Cane

In many ways, Mauritius is defined by its sugar-production, so make the most of it and indulge your sweet tooth. It’s still Mauritius’ biggest export, and what they traded with for centuries, so check out L’Aventure du Sucre, a sugar museum based in a former factory, where you can taste numerous varieties. There’s also an excellent restaurant on-site, where you can dine on modern delicacies, and, yes, the desserts come with lots of fancy sugar work.

Sweet treats

If the talk of sugar has sparked your interest, you’ll be pleased to know that Mauritius does a nice line in sweet snacks. Mithai – another Indian influence – is a sugary, buttery confection not to be missed. There are so many flavours you might struggle to choose, though. Elsewhere, look for sweet potato cakes (Gateau Patate Douce), a deep-fried coconutty, cardamom delight, as well as coconut cakes and Gateau Napolitaine (iced, jam-filled biscuits).

Rum cocktails

Mauritius’ sugar canes have also been used for rum, and with a number of distilleries scattered around the island, you never have to go far to seek out high-quality examples. If you’re not a fan of neat spirits, a Petit Rum Punch can be found almost anywhere, which mixes the rum with sugar syrup (and other flavourings, if you like). You can even buy ready-mixed bottles to bring home with you. And if alcoholic drinks aren’t your thing, Alouda is a famous Mauritian drink to keep you cool: a milky drink thickened with seaweed extract, it’s often flavoured with vanilla and almond, and contains bubbly basil seeds or tapioca balls.

For an ideal base for exploring the food of Mauritius, stay at one of Club Med’s luxury, all-inclusive resorts on the island.

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