Mauritian Food – An Overview

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Mauritius is an island of about 1 million inhabitants situated in the Indian Ocean. The ethnic diversity of the local people is reflected in its cuisine. As a result, the cuisine of Mauritius is a blend of Indian Cuisine, Creole, Chinese and European. In Mauritius, local fruits and vegetables used under the influence of culinary traditions of France, India, China and Africa with its variety of flavours and aromas have resulted in a cuisine that is unique to the island.

The most commonly served in Mauritius, and tasty dishes include Creole rougailles, Indian curries and biryanis, Chinese “mine frite”, and French “gratin de crabes sur coeur de palmiste”. All these are part of the cuisine of Mauritius. The commonly used ingredients in Mauritius are tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and chillies while the traditional base is definitely the curries and “rougailles” which is made from the blends of home crushed spices. Spices also constitute a major part of Mauritian cuisine. The extensive use of spices such as saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves provide a powerful, yet subtle flavour to the dish. This interblending of spices give the cuisine of Mauritius its charm and uniqueness.

Locals in Mauritius would eat a combination of curries and rougailles along with beans (lentils, kidney beans, yellow split lentils) and white rice. Vegetables are usually greens either grown in the back garden or freshly bought from the market prepared as “bouillons” (like a soup) or “touffés”(like a stir fry). On the sidewalks of main streets, the Mauritian community loves to buy dholl puris (flat bred with peas), faratas and gateaux piments (spicy balls of peas). As far as drinks are concerned , the Alouda bought in Mauritius, which is a milk drink prepared with basil seeds is the favourite with all communities.

The pluri-ethnicity of the dishes from Mauritius is reflected in the cuisines of Mauritius. Over the years, the communities have blended each others’ spices and ingredients to their own tasted resulting in a tasty mixture sure to flatter the senses. For example, a Creole rougaille is best served with a variety of achards (pickles), a Chinese “mine frite” (noodles) is often served with various “chatini” (chutneys).

The tourist visiting Mauritius must absolutely taste this extensive variety of dishes. There is a variety of Chinese restaurants where one can taste cuisine of Mauritius under Chinese influence. The best sellers are fried rice and mine frite (fried noodles), crab soup, sweet and sour fish. For more adventurous ones, the sidewalks of Port-Louis, the capital of Mauritius, is the best place to go. The must-eat are boulettes (meat or fish balls), “mine frite”, dholl puris, gateaux piments and samosas. For meat lovers, Creole restaurants offer a wide choice of the tastiest cuisine of Mauritius including, grilled prawns, venison curry, gratin de coeur de palmiste, a Mauritian delicacy and many more. For dessert, a fresh exotic fruits salad is the best of the best, served with French wine.

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Source by Ralph Ramah

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