As the population in Mauritius is so diverse, the culinary traditions are a blend of English, French, African, Chinese and Indian giving lots of unique flavours and culinary genius. Rice, sugar cane, various seeds, spices, fruits and vegetables, tea and coconut are grown here. Fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood are very popular all over the island. You can even opt to have your own chef in your luxury villa who can cook delicious Mauritian food for you to suit your own preferences.
Villanovo have listed below are some Mauritian specialities that you must try when you visit the island:
> Camarons - freshwater prawns in a hot sauce
> Mazavaroo - hot finely chopped chillies or chilli paste served with more or less every meal
> Millionaire’s salad - leaves of salad, a palm tree heart (vegetable from the inner core of a palm tree), oysters, crayfish, prawns, crabs and a red sauce dressing
> Dholl puri - fried thin bread stuffed with ground yellow split peas, served with chutney, bean curry and atchar
> Mine frites - fried noodles topped with spring onions and chilli
> Phoenix beer - a local lager
> Gateaux piments - chilli and lentil fritters
> Mithai - Indian sweets
> Rougaille - a tomato stew made with fish or meat, garlic, thyme, onions and tomatoes
> Faratas - salted cakes made from flour, water and oil that is eaten accompanied by rougaille.
> Samoussa - a triangular donut composed of a thin paste of wheat that coats a farce traditionally made of vegetables or meat, chilli and spices.
> Curry - fish or meat dish mixed with a spicy sauce
Tea, often flavoured with vanilla, is a flagship drink and is produced in the South of the island. In particular, you will have the opportunity to discover the famous Tea Route, in the heart of 3 different areas on the island. Add to this the traditional thirst-quenching drinks such as tamarind juice or alouda (grenadine-flavoured milk with tapioca).
Alcoholic beverages are also often produced on the island except for highly consumed and imported whiskey. The rums of the island tend to gain in quality over the years. Indeed, the production is even oriented on an old rum... Thus, you can enjoy many rums (macerated with local fruits). A pure delight, very full-bodied!
The green island is certainly the most famous rum on the island. The beer is fresh and delicious: the Phoenix blondes or Blue marlin, and the brown Black Eagle. The wine is more surprising, test it and especially the white wine.
You will see on the market many vegetables that you do not use at home: the darling, the giraumon, the cassava, the sweet potato, the embrevades, the pipengaille, the breadfruit, the sea salt, the margoze, the arouille, lalo... Many peppers from the strongest to the sweetest. A real discovery for amateurs!
- Brèdes: the main vegetables. These are all vegetables that correspond to greenery (spinach, sorrel, beet leaf, pet, watercress, petsai, dream...). They are boiled, steamed, stewed and you will find it difficult to find them in the chic restaurants because they are discredited (dish of the poor).
- The palm kernel: palm heart in the rules of the art. Quite expensive, it is nicknamed "the salad of the millionaire".
- Rice: rice is the basis of Mauritian cuisine. Many varieties are available (long, short, round, small...) but the most popular is the basmati with popular dishes such as Cantonese rice, fried rice or rice pillaw (plof).
Here again the variety of fruits offered is impressive. Discover the different types of mango, lychees, papaya, guava, star fruit, cachiman, passion fruit (grenadine), cythera fruit, tamarind, soursop, jamrose, loquat (bibasse), londan (fruit resembling litchi), jamalaque, jack-fruit, red coconut. Taste the fruits already known but here have an incredible flavour: melon, watermelon, banana, mandarin, lemon, pineapple, avocado.
- The vindaye: typical dish (which is also consumed a little in Reunion). It is believed to be from Western India. It is eaten cold with a slightly vinegary taste. It can be accompanied by bread (chapati or roti) or rice. The most refined is the fish vindaye, with delicate flavours!
- The rougaille: Creole dish from Reunion. It is slightly different in Mauritius, and is prepared with very strong side dishes (onions, garlic, tomato, ginger, spices) with fish, sausages and meat.
- The chutney: native of India, the chutney aims to raise the poor dishes in taste. A mixture of spices, chilli, vinegar and all sorts of fruits, there are as many chutneys as there are accompaniment ideas.
- Curry: a mixture of spices, it is also a complete dish prepared with this mixture of spices. Native of India. You will find it is well served at mealtimes of Mauritian families or on restaurant menus. This delicious dish is cheap.
- The byriani: traditional dish of India based on all meats or fish (except pork), accompanied by rice.
- The deer, the wild boar, the brown pig: meats quite expensive, that one eats in sauce or in the form of steak. These meats were implanted by the Dutch (java deer).
- Fish: tropical fish, grilled whole fish, curry fish, fish in vindaye, smoked fish... The fish is king. The best preparations? Smoked marlin, tazar (barracuda), fish-butter, and sardines with bread and candied pepper!
- Seafood: as for fish, seafood will accompany your dishes with pomp. The crab is king, it is consumed in all its varieties (the broth in small, the bigger carlets, the carcassailles, the sepoys, the little chickens, etc). The other that is very famous is the octopus (ourite) served as a hot dish or salad. You will also find: squid, oysters, periwinkles, tectecs, shrimps (goats, giant and camarons).
- Fries: you will find them à la carte, but they are often consumed in the street or on the beaches proposed by street vendors. The most remarkable are: dhol puri (pancakes stuffed with vegetables and sauce), rotis (thick pancake), samosas (stuffed puff pastry), chili cake.
- Chinese cuisine: taste the "fried mine", the "overturned bowl", the soups. Good value for money. It's fresh, simple and delicious.
Here is a recipe for you to try at home and take a part of Mauritius to your dining room table.
Ingredients: 1/2 tsp turmeric; 400ml warm water; vegetable oil; salt; 250g yellow split peas, soaked overnight; 1kg plain flour; 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1. Toast the cumin seeds and then grind them.
2. Drain the peas and rinse them. Blend these with the cumin seeds to make a powder.
3. Put the flour, turmeric and 2 pinches of salt in a bowl and mix well. Add the water to make a smooth dough and knead. Leave for 20 - 30 minutes under a damp cloth.
4. Form balls from the dough and stuff with the pea mixture. Roll them out to make the dough flat and round.
5. Oil a frying pan, and then cook each dholl puri on a high heat for approximately 2 minutes on each side.
This typical Mauritian dish makes for a hearty breakfast or a nutritious dinner.