Mauritius is a paradise not only for the eyes, but also for the palate. You will find a variety of flavours and aromas from the different migrations through its history, with culinary traditions from France, India, China and Africa.
Depending on the region, rice or a variety of flat bread, called farata (paratha) by the local people, is eaten with curries. The extensive use of spices like saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and herbs like thyme, basil, and curry leaves are the common ingredients that provide some powerful, yet subtle.
Dholl puri and roti, originally an Indian delicacy have become the fish and chips of Mauritians. Biryani from Mughal origins is a dish expertly prepared by the Muslim community, with meat mixed with spiced rice and potatoes.
The eclectic culture mix that is Mauritius gets carried through to the island’s cuisine. A spectacular mix of Indian spices, fruit from Asia and Africa, tropical vegetables, imported game and fresh seafood from the Indian Ocean is bound to tickle your taste buds.
The combination of Indian and African ingredients with the added elements of French cuisine can lay claim to being the world’s first ‘fusion cuisine’.
The most common meat in butcher’s shops are goat, chicken and venison as all three can be eaten by all religious groups on the island – pork is forbidden to the Muslims and the Hindu eat neither pork nor beef. Wild boar is also quite popular, especially during hunting season. The chosen meat can be cooked in one of a range of rich, spicy sauces including curry.
Several species of muscular fish can be substituted for meat, and octopus is particularly popular. Fresh water crayfish are farmed in the island and taste delicious simply grilled with some fresh squeezed lemon. Smaller prawns are added to curry, often alongside chicken.
Eating street food is a way of life for Mauritian people, who are often found snacking. The street vendors cater to the ordinary working class population and their prices are thus very cheap. They stock up on foods like dholl purri – wheat pancakes stuffed with mashed split peas and served with tomato sauce- and samoosas –a triangular pastry stuffed with spicy meat, vegetables or both.
You can buy many snacks on the streets of Mauritius including the famous gateaux piments (literally, chilli cakes), along with octopus curry in bread. The tomato and onion based dish called Rougaille is a variation of the French rago. The dish usually consists of meat or seafood and all Mauritians eat this dish often if not daily.
Mauritians have a sweet tooth and make many types of ‘gateaux’, as they are called. The cakes vary and you can find cakes very much like at home and others similar to Indian sweets like Gulab Jamun and Rasgulla among many others.
The higher class hotels work hard on their cuisine. Attention to detail is key, as the quality and variety of their food will have a high impact on client satisfaction. Hotel executive chefs are kings of the kitchen with vast experience world cuisine.
Major hotels will always have a range of international dishes to enjoy ant the quality is outstanding. The finest ingredients are imported to provide an authentic taste.
Breakfasts on Mauritius are great, especially at the open kitchen hotels like Le Touessrok and Le Paradis, where staff will prepare your English-style breakfast or pancakes while you wait.
Most hotels will offer a Mauritian buffet once a week, but the spices and hot flavours are often downplayed to suit the blandest of palates.
I had the best Indian food EVER at Shanti Maurice in Mauritius. Wow, you can just never tire of the world class cuisine at Shanti Maurice. I cannot wait until my next visit! I will need to make a plan to visit again!
Mauritius produces a wide range of cane rum. It is very cheap and is a nice drink when mixed with cola and ice. Don’t forget the coconut water with a dash of lime and a splash of local rum over ice.
If you are staying in a hotel where the drinks are wildly expensive consider collecting your tipples while you are out and about from the local village shops or supermarkets where the prices are much cheaper.
The local beer Phoenix is considered to be one of the best in the world and costs around 30 rupees for a pint. The local Black Eagle beer, brewed in Nouvelle France is one to watch out for as well.
Try visiting the Medine Estate Refinery shop at Bambous, on the west of the Island, for a wide variety of locally produced rums and liquors.