Cuisine

What to eat in Mauritius – discovering Mauritian Gastronomy

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Mauritian cuisine - shrimps with spiced rice and coriander

Mauritian gastronomy is as diversified as the inhabitants of this small tropical island: Creole, Indian, Chinese, European, or simply a mix and match of all those cultures and tastes. Holidays in Mauritius are incomplete without having experienced the local gastronomy.

Creole cuisine

Rice is a staple of most meals. It is served accompanied with chayote, pumpkin, eggplant, squash, leafy greens and pickles. Meat and fish are usually served in the form of “rougaille”, i.e. cooked with tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, aromatic herbs and chilies. Creole cuisine is colored, mildly spicy but above all nicely perfumed. The Mauritian lagoon is brimming with fish and shellfish that are often eaten fried or grilled and accompanied with green limes. Fish, crab, as well as vegetable soups are also much appreciated.

One of the most prized meals of Creole Cuisine is the “Millionaire’s salad” which is heart of palm served as a salad or grilled. It takes 7 years for a palm tree to be fully mature and each heart extracted from the trunk yields only 600 grams of edible material hence the name of “millionaire’s salad”.

Chinese Cuisine

The most well-known dish in Chinese cuisine is fried noodles; however, Chinese cuisine is richer and more varied than that. Thanks to the wok, a large cooking utensil having a round base and which is placed on a flame, vegetables, bamboo shoots and mushrooms remain firm and crunchy. Chinese cuisine based on pork, beef, shrimps and fish is always accompanied with soy or oyster sauces, ginger, lemongrass, and fine herbs.

Indian Cuisine

Perfumed with saffron, turmeric, coriander, cardamom, and cumn, curry remains the most characteristic meal of Indian cuisine. Fish, chicken or beef curry is always served with leafy vegetables. As with Creole cuisine, rice is a staple of most meals.

Two of the meals everyone must try during their holidays in Mauritius is briyani, made with rice, spices, yoghurt,  meat or fish accompanied with a refreshing cucumber salad and the vindaloo, which is a meal made with fish marinated in a mix of vinegar, mustard seeds, turmeric, onions, garlic, ginger and chilies, all cooked in oil.

The other common dishes that are considered part of Mauritian gastronomy include:

Roti: the roti is a round flatbread which is consumed by all Mauritians. It is made with unleavened wheat flour and comes in several varieties. The most popular is the faratha which is enriched with ghee. Other varieties are the chappati and the poori. Another variety of poori is the dholl poori which is made with grain flour instead of wheat. Most of those, especially the faratha and the dholl-poori are popular Mauritian street foods.

Gateaux pîments: they are round fritters of dholl and chili. They are often consumed as a snack.

Samosas: they are as popular as gateaux pîments and are of a triangular shape and are often filled with cheese, vegetable curry, fish, chicken or other meats.

Napolitaine: despite its name, the  Napolitaine is a typically Mauritian pastry made from two biscuits filled with jam and covered with a generous layer of pink sugar icing.

Photo credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreyww/

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  1. Pingback: The islands East of Africa: Mauritius, Rodrigues, the Seychelles, Madagascar, Réunion, the Comoros | Indian Ocean

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