How can you spend a holiday on a tropical island without enjoying its thousand and one flavours? To this question, no one can find a good answer. No one can claim to have come to Mauritius to leave on an empty stomach. Like nowhere else, catering in Mauritius is an art. From supermarkets to street corners, you will be able to taste the dishes we are going to make you discover. Mauritian cuisine is in fact a mixture of cultures. Flavours from India mixed with those from Africa, not forgetting Chinese cuisine and European gourmets. It goes without saying that in Mauritius, you can enjoy a wide range of tropical fruits and vegetables with natural flavours… So we propose you a selection of 25 dishes or foods not to be missed during your stay in Mauritius…
Alouda is a sweet, milk-based, pink drink containing tapioca balls. This drink is usually flavoured with almond, vanilla or other syrup to suit your taste. According to locals, the best place to find it is at the central market in Port Louis. A milkshake style drink, alouda is particularly refreshing after a wet morning at the busy market.
This Mauritian dish is known as a derivative of the Indian vindaloo. It is cooked with mustard, garlic, ginger, turmeric, onion and usually fish, although it can be replaced by vegetables. It is served with rice, lentils, salad and chutneys. Rest assured, if you tire of fish, ask for calf's liver in vindaye sauce.
Because of its Chinese population, Mauritius has a delicious Cantonese cuisine. Mauritians have made their own dim sum - commonly called dumplings. There are several varieties: fish, shrimp, cabbage, or chicken among others. Dim sum is steamed and can be eaten as is or in broth, but with a good chilli! Usually sold in restaurants, you can also find them on the beach.
Gajak, or snacks…are Mauritian snacks, usually of the fried variety. You'll find them sold on the back of motorbikes and at food stalls near markets, beaches and on the roadside. Try samosas, fried aubergine, fried cassava balls and sweet potatoes. All this with a good mazavaroo!
Mauritians eat chilli with everything. EVERYTHING. This includes fruit (think unripe mango candied with chilli), home cooked dishes, as well as your curries and fish dishes that you will find in the restaurant. There is a chilli paste (called mazavaroo) that goes with just about every meal. Pick up a bottle of mazavaroo as a fiery souvenir at one of the island's many markets.
Mauritius produces some of the best sugar in the world, a fact you may not be aware of when you're enjoying your fifth caramelised pineapple dessert. I mean, it just tastes like sugar, right? Wrong. The best way to try Mauritius' delicious sugars is at L'Aventure du Sucre, a fascinating museum dedicated to sugar, which offers a tasting of about nine different types of sugar.
Being an island surrounded by the sea and not consuming at least one seafood is like having a watch but no battery! Any way you want it: baked, grilled, fried, sautéed. Mauritius has incredible seafood - from captains to squid to lobsters. Mauritian cuisine revolves around seafood - whether it's curries, stews, Chinese or Indian dishes, it's absolute bliss in seafood heaven.
The Bois Cheri estate, in the south of the island, grows black tea mixed with Ceylon tea imported from Sri Lanka and vanilla flavours from South Africa to produce a delicious black vanilla tea. You'll find it all over the island (and on Air Mauritius!) but the best place to drink it is at Café Bois Cheri, after a tour of the factory and a tea tasting. The establishment offers an incredible view of the palm-fringed tea plantation fields and the south coast.
With a strong Indian influence in its cuisine, it would be impossible for Mauritius not to have a good curry… Do you love spicy food? You want to eat Indian food but far from India? Mauritius is the place to be! The word curry is indeed just a pinch of salt in the soup… Chicken curry, turkey curry, venison curry, beef curry, mutton curry, fish curry, crab curry, squid curry, pork curry, wild boar curry, vegetable curry… these are only a few examples of curries cooked in Mauritius. Just mentioning them makes your mouth water! Need I tell you that you can find them everywhere in the island? And yes, in every restaurant, you will find, how shall I put it? Curry to your taste.
Legend has it that Mauritian pineapples are sweeter and more delicious than those grown elsewhere in the world. Like puri dholls, pineapples are sold everywhere. However, there are various ways to enjoy this firm and juicy fruit; candied, in salads, plain or in juice. But the best way is to eat the pineapple plain with a good tamarind compote, crushed chilli and salt.
From Grand Bay to Souillac, from Rose Hill to Flacq and Flic en Flac, this dish is sold everywhere on the island. For many, if Mauritius had a national dish, dholl puri would have been proclaimed as such. The word Puri comes from India which suggests that this dish originated in the Great Peninsula, but the origin of dholl puri is Mauritius. This dish is prepared with ground flour and dholl, and is served with curry, vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
Foodies in Mauritius should try mithai - Indian sweets. Intensely sweet and buttery, they should be eaten in moderation. Mithai consists of a wide variety of sweet cakes such as Laddoo - a ball the size of a table tennis ball, orange and dipped in syrup. There is also Ras-Goola (syrup and milk) of the same size as Laddoo and Gulab- Jamun. These cakes, as the names suggest, originated in India.
Don't leave Mauritius without drinking coconut water. Coconut water is deliciously refreshing. Like pineapples, the best place to find it is on the beach. Buy one from a beach vendor and sip it, before taking it back to the vendor to be cut up so you can eat the flesh, a creamy treat!
Another popular street dish is fried mine (fried noodles). This is a simple and tasty dish of noodles fried in soy sauce, topped with vegetables and served with chicken, egg and chilli. As it is a Chinese-influenced dish, the best place to eat fried mine is, unsurprisingly, in the Chinatown area. It is also available in almost every restaurant and snack bar on the island.
The island's local beer, Phoenix, is an award-winning, cool and refreshing beer that goes well with any meal. It can also be enjoyed on its own, with gajaks, in front of a sumptuous sunset on the beach.
This is similar to Indian paratha - a flat bread eaten with curry. You can find it in street stalls or in many Mauritian and Indian restaurants.
Sweet potato cakes are a delightful Mauritian snack. The sweet potato paste is coated with a filling of coconut, cardamom and sugar which is then fried.
There is rum and then there is rum. Mauritian rum is an agricultural product. It is indeed rum made from cane sugar instead of molasses. St Aubin and Château Labourdonnais produce very good rums. The Rhumerie de Chamarel, which is located at the place of the same name (Chamarel), in the south-west of the island, produces an award-winning double distilled rum aged in oak barrels. The three distilleries produce rum both neat and infused with different flavours, such as vanilla, coffee, kumquat, spices and citrus.
In short for the "little rum punch", you see it everywhere on the island, with different ingredients added to a base of rum and sugar syrup. You can buy rum punch at the Rhumerie de Chamarel.
The vanilla, which you can find in the markets and souvenir shops of Mauritius, is not really Mauritian. It is vanilla of a different quality that comes from Madagascar. The only place where you can buy Mauritian vanilla is in St Aubin, where you will find a small vanilla plantation. Once there, you can enjoy vanilla chicken and a creamy crème brûlée at the restaurant on the veranda of the beautiful colonial house.
Of all the different types of chutneys in Mauritius, coconut chutney is an absolute delight, with its fresh and aromatic taste - coconut and mint. It is the perfect complement to a spicy mazavaroo curry.
The palms grow for about seven years and are then cut down to extract the "heart". This is an inner 'tube' of the tree about the size of an arm, which feeds about three people as an appetizer. It is then finely chopped and eaten raw in a smoked marlin salad. It is also delicious eaten cooked in a sauce.
These delicious biscuits (which Mauritians call "coco cakes") are made from grated coconut and sugar. Syrup and chocolate are also added and, in some recipes, pistachios.
Rougaille is a popular Creole dish. A kind of tomato stew in which meat or fish, garlic, onions and thyme are cooked. The best rougaille is a plain rougaille with coriander and shallots.
The dish par excellence. Originating in India and perfected in Mauritius, Biryani - pronounced "briani" - is a mixture of rice, spices, curdled milk, potatoes and meat (chicken, beef, fish or vegetables). Usually served at weddings, Biryani is sold in Plaine-Verte, in the capital Port-Louis. The dish is also available throughout the island.