Mauritius is an island where absolutely everything is mixed: European architecture amidst the tropics, where Indians speak French and dance African sega on weekends on the beaches. The local cuisine is not lagging behind, it is a real paradise for gourmets! French, British, Indian, Chinese and African national dishes meet here. What and where to try? Let's find out.
Let me tell you about the most famous Mauritian treats.
Bol Renversé is a traditional Mauritian dish that is a mixture of rice, meat, vegetables and eggs served in the shape of an upside down bowl. It literally translates to "upside down bowl".
The ingredients used to make bol renverse are usually rice, beef or chicken, curry paste, vegetables (usually carrots, peas, and cabbage), eggs, and soy sauce. It is prepared in the following way: first fry meat pieces in a pan, then add curry paste and vegetables and stew all together until cooked. Then add boiled rice to the frying pan, mix and lay it on the bottom of a large bowl, which was previously smeared with soy sauce. On top, pour whipped eggs and put the dish in the oven for a few minutes until golden crust. After that, a crust will form on top, resembling the shape of the plate.
Millionaire's Salad is another popular Mauritian dish that is made with fresh vegetables, sometimes fruits and seafood. The salad got its name due to the set of ingredients that only rich people used to be able to afford.
To prepare the Millionaire Salad you will need shrimp, squid, crab meat, avocado, mango, pineapple, coconut heart, red pepper and onion. All ingredients are chopped and mixed together and then the salad is dressed with lime juice and olive oil.
The heart of the coconut is the center part of the trunk of a palm tree that is at least 7 years old. It turns out that going into the salad, it literally gives its life.
Biryani is a dish made of rice and meat (chicken, lamb or beef). It has Indian roots but has become an integral part of Mauritian culture.
Spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric as well as garlic, cilantro, onions, oil, yogurt and lemon juice are used to make biryani. Each chef has their own special recipe that includes specific combinations of ingredients.
Biryani uses a long braising method that allows the rice to infuse with flavors. Usually the meat is sauteed with onions and then a sauce of spices and yogurt is added. Rice and meat are layered in a deep pot and braised until cooked.
Biryani is served with a side dish of vegetables, salad or couscous. It is considered a festive dish and is prepared only on special occasions, but those who wish to try it any day in the restaurants of Mauritius.
Dholl Puri (Dholl Puris)
Dholl Puri is a combination of flatbread (roti), bean puree and sauces. Oil, beans, turmeric, cumin, garlic, ginger and other spices are used for preparation. The beans are boiled until soft, then kneaded and mixed with the spices to create a flavorful and delicious puree. Flatbreads are made from a dough based on flour and salted water. They are rolled out in thin circles and fried in a pan with plenty of oil.
This dish is very nutritious and hearty, and is suitable for a snack or a light lunch. Dol Puri is very popular with vegetarians as it is free of meat and animal products.
Literally translates as "pepper cake." It is a traditional Mauritian dish that is spicy fried lentil balls. This popular appetizer is available in many restaurants and street stalls.
Gato Pimen is made using lentils, onions, green peppers, red peppers, curry leaves and other spices. Lentils are soaked for several hours, then ground together with onions and spices to make a coarse mass. It is rolled into balls, which are then fried in oil until golden.
Gato pimen is usually served with tomato or spicy chili-based sauces. It can also be served as an appetizer to other dishes such as Dol Puri.
Fried Noodles (Mine Frite)
Mine Frite is an Asian dish that has become very popular in Mauritius. It gets its name from the combination of the words mein, which means "noodles" in Cantonese, and frite, which means "fried" in French.
This dish uses fresh egg noodles that are fried in a pan with cabbage, carrots, chicken, shrimp or meat. All ingredients are seasoned with soy or fish sauce, salt and pepper. For those who like spicy, the dish is garnished with garlic sauce and hot pepper paste.
Although the dish is relatively simple, it is easy to find in any restaurant, hotel or on street stalls in Mauritius.
Where to try Mauritian cuisine?
Mauritius offers a wide range of restaurants and cafes where you can experience the local cuisine. Here are a few well-known restaurants with good ratings.
La Table du Château
Address: Domaine de Labordonnais, Mapou
A luxurious restaurant that offers traditional Mauritian dishes combined with French charm.
Address: Cascavelle Shopping Center, Cascavelle
Very cozy and beautiful place. The food is spectacular and the atmosphere is pleasant.
Address: School Lane, Grand Baie, Île Maurice
A small local-style street food stall. No luxurious ambience, but the food is delicious!
The Boathouse Grill & Bar
Address: The St. Regis Mauritius Resort
A stunning restaurant overlooking the ocean. The perfect place to have a candlelit Mauritian-style family dinner with the sound of the waves.
Address: B59, Trou d'Eau Douce
This restaurant specializes in shrimp and seafood. The veranda offers a beautiful view of the ocean.
Address: Route Royal Pointe Aux Cannoniers Grand Baie, Pamplemousses district.
Despite its modest interior, this café offers truly delicious dishes, including Mauritian cuisine.