10 Must-Try Foods in Mauritius

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Several waves of colonization, the rise of the slave system and the influx of immigrants from Asia have led to Mauritian cuisine to become an unusual mixture of Creole, French, British, Indian and Chinese cuisines. If you have traveled to Southeast Asia, then the food in Mauritius is unlikely to surprise you. And if you are going to the island for the first time, then below is not only a list of 10 dishes that you should definitely try, but also a list of local cuisine features that you should know about in advance.

What to try in Mauritius from food: a list of dishes

Street food in Mauritius deserves a special mention. Street food is found almost everywhere, and it is in this category that the most popular dishes of Mauritius belong.

Drinks in Mauritius – both alcohol and traditional non-alcoholic – also deserve a separate story. Therefore, the article from a small gastro review of the features of Mauritian cuisine has grown into a full-fledged food guide on the island with a list of what you should definitely try.

10 Must-Try Dishes in Mauritius

Mauritian dishes have options for a wide variety of tastes, and even if you don’t like the whole selection, you can always choose something from it that suits you personally. Below are the Top 10 Best Mauritian Dishes – or at least they are the most popular and authentic ones.

Mine frite

Mine frite is a dish found in Mauritius in dozens of different variations. It is of Chinese origin. It is deep-fried (WOK) egg or rice noodles, to which oyster and soy sauces are added, as well as a variety of fillers. These include vegetables (such as cabbage and carrots), chicken, shrimp, and sliced ​​scrambled eggs. Unlike rougaille, many different ingredients can be mixed in one serving of noodles.

Mauritius Cuisine - Egg Noodles with Meat

Egg Noodles with Meat

The best Mine frite is served in Chinatown in Port Louis. But you can taste it all over the island, both at the table and for take away – this is a popular type of street food.

Bol renversé

Bol renversé also has an Asian origin. Sometimes the Bol renversé is even called “magic”, magic bowl. I’ve also seen in under the name “super bowl”. The reason for this is the unusual serving, in honor of which it was named – “overturned bowl” or “upside down bowl”.

What to try in Mauritius – Bol renversé

You can try it at Fortune Eight Restaurant in Port Louis

The secret to the Bol renversé is that the ingredients are laid out in a certain sequence in a deep semicircular bowl and are served at the table in this form. Before you start eating, the waiter will turn the bowl upside down – and the bowl will remain on the plate in a neat dome. This dome is then topped with scrambled eggs or scrambled eggs, although in some cases the egg layer is initially placed in the bottom of the bowl.

In addition to the egg, the Bol renversé has two main layers: basmati rice at the base and a layer of stewed vegetables, meat and seafood above it. With the exception of rice, the combination of ingredients can be very different. There are also vegetarian options, including mushrooms. A classic is the recipe with chicken, carrots and corn on the cob.

Camarons – king prawns

In Mauritius, freshwater camarons shrimp are grown, which serve as the basis for a popular dish of the same name – “camaron”. Shrimp can be cooked in many different ways. Somewhere they are simply grilled and served with vegetables and rice, and other places they are stewed in a spicy sauce.

10 Must-Try Foods in Mauritius

Grilled camarons or king prawns. I tried the fish restaurant Grill & Chill on Pereybere Beach

Mauritius Biryani

Mauritius Biryani is a complex and very hearty dish of rice, potatoes, vegetables, meat, eggs, unsweetened yogurt and a mixture of seasonings dominated by saffron, cardamom and cumin. Once it was prepared only on major holidays because of the laboriousness and high cost, but now you can try biryani at any time. Prepared according to a simplified recipe, it is even sold by weight in large supermarkets, allowing you to save on restaurant visits.

Food to try in Mauritius - biryani rice

Biryani is prepared in several stages: the ingredients are first fried or boiled in separate containers, and then mixed and combined in a large deep pot or cauldron, where they reach readiness.

Fish Vindaye

Fish Vindaye is fish cooked in a special way, served as a separate dish, as an appetizer or as a filling for sandwiches and flatbreads. Its key feature is that the fish fillet is first lightly fried, and then marinated for several days in a mixture of vinegar and a special vindaye paste.

Fish vindaye - Mauritius cuisine

Fish vindaye served with your choice of rice or French fries

The basis of the “vindaye” are mustard seeds and onions fried in a pan, but in addition to them, the paste includes garlic, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, turmeric and green chili pepper rings. For fish vindaye, choose fish with a dense texture (for example, tuna or sea bass) so that it does not spread from a long stay in the marinade. In some restaurants, fish is replaced with octopus.

Boulettes or dumplings

Buolettes are balls of meat, fish, shrimp, tofu or chayote (Mexican cucumber), which are usually wrapped in a thin dough like manti, but can also be used without a “wrapper”, in the form of meatballs. Most often they are served with the broth in which they were boiled, but sometimes separately with oyster, soy or garlic sauce – especially if they were steamed.

In this list, boulettes are the second recipe that has left the walls of restaurants and conquered the streets of Mauritius. As a street food, you can even order an assortment of different boulettes and find your favorite among them.

Dishes worth trying in Mauritius

Boulettes or dumplings come from Chinese cuisine

Gateaux Coco

Coconut sweets Gateaux Coco are a very popular delicacy in Mauritius. Apart from water, it has only three main ingredients – coconut, sugar and vanilla. Food coloring, salt and milk powder are sometimes added to them.

Preparing gateaux coco is extremely simple – fresh coconut flakes are boiled in sugar syrup until it thickens, and then dragees or sweets are formed from it. When the molasses hardens, the sweets acquire a pleasant crunchiness. They are often served with tea or as a dessert at the end of a meal.

Rougaille

Strictly speaking, the rougaille itself is not a full-fledged dish, but a spicy tomato sauce-gravy of Creole origin. Dozens of dishes are prepared on its basis in Mauritius – with chicken, squid, eggs, vegetables, salted fish, dried shrimp, tofu or vegetables. In this case, only one type of filler is usually used, and rougaille is then named accordingly – for example, rougaille with salted fish is called “rougaille Poisson sale”, and “Rogaille Ti Pois” is prepared on the basis of green peas.

The recipe for the sauce itself may vary slightly from cook to cook, but it certainly includes tomatoes. Other additives include onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, chili, coriander, and salt.

Palm Heart Salad (Millionaire’s Salad)

Palm heart salad is perhaps the only “indigenous” Mauritian dish on the list. Alas, as hinted at by its second name, “millionaire’s salad”, not everyone can afford it. The reason for the high price lies in the main ingredient – the core of the edible palm. Such palm trees are grown for seven years, and then they are cut down and the trunk is cleaned of bark. The white core is cut into small pieces and seasoned with lemon juice, vegetable oil and vinegar. Usually seafood is added to the salad – smoked marlin or salmon, king prawns, crab meat – but this is not a mandatory addition.

Sept Cari

Millionaire’s Salad also has a competitor in this Top 10. Sept cari, or “seven curry” is an even rarer delicacy. It arrived in Mauritius from India, where it had an almost sacred meaning – it was served to guests at funerals, weddings and religious ceremonies. Now you can try it in ordinary restaurants, but this dish has not yet received wide distribution.

Sept curi are seven vegetarian curries served on a banana leaf, accompanied by rice or puri. It is offered by hand. Seven curries embody six basic tastes according to the Indian version – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy and tart. The curries themselves in this set may vary from community to community and restaurant to restaurant, but most commonly include eggplant, unripe bananas, green beans, potatoes, pumpkin, breadfruit, and mangoes.

Gastro Tours in Mauritius

Gastro tours are a great way to safely experience the local cuisine and learn something new for yourself.

Here are three Mauritius gastro tours that I think are worth checking out:

  1. The Mahebourg gastro tour will take you to the first capital of Mauritius. You will join the rich history of Mahebourg, closely connected with the Dutch and French periods in the life of the island, take a boat ride along the river and try some local dishes. I advise this tour to those who are staying on the east or south coast of the island. Read more about the tour →
  2. Port Louis: street food tour will guide you through the markets and hidden corners of the capital of Mauritius. You will taste different types of Mauritian street food, which reflects the mixture of cultures on the island. I recommend this tour to those who are staying on the western or northern coast of the island. Read more about the tour →
  3. Grand Baie: A guided walking tour will introduce you to the life and history of this coastal city – including its non-tourist side. You will chat with several local culinary specialists, watch the preparation of ordinary and street cuisine dishes, and then taste the fruits of their labors. I recommend this tour for those who are spending their vacation on the northern and northwestern beaches of the island. Read more about the excursion →

For a complete list of food-related excursions, follow this link →

Features of the cuisine of Mauritius: what you need to know

The vast majority of dishes in Mauritian cuisine were borrowed, but still they acquired features that are characteristic only of the island. The main local feature is that seafood is often used in recipes for meat dishes: fish, shrimp, octopus and a variety of shellfish.

  • Seafood is widely added to curry – a sauce with a complex combination of spices (turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander, chili, black pepper, fenugreek, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.), which is usually served with rice. Curry is eaten everywhere in Mauritius, and in each case the method of its preparation is somewhat different – the filler (from vegetables to shrimp or deer meat), a set of seasonings or other qualities.
  • Mauritian cuisine, especially Indian and Chinese cuisine, is quite spicy. Here, chili peppers are added into everything, even to dishes that seem to be completely unsuitable for this – for example, to fruits (pineapples and mangoes). If you don’t like excessive spiciness or don’t want to trouble your stomach, note before cooking that it is to be served without pepper, no chili. When it comes to Creole cuisine, you can also use the expression pah for “not spicy.”
  • Bread is rare in Mauritius, except for French baguettes. The usual bread is replaced with a variety of cakes – puri or roti. Therefore, you should not ask in English to bring bread. It is quite possible that instead of “bread” they will hear “wild herbs”, bredes, and bring food that is even thicker seasoned with spices than usual.
  • Some dishes in Mauritius are served with chutney – Indian sauces made from vegetables and fruits, mashed raw or boiled. Coconut chutney and tamarind sweet and sour sauce gained particular popularity. Also, the meal can be accompanied by acar – a mix of vegetables in a marinade of turmeric and mustard seeds. It is difficult to call acar salad, because you can’t eat much of it, but it is used as an appetizer or as filling for flatbread.
  • Mauritian cuisine also uses unusual ingredients such as deer or monkey meat. But most often meat dishes are represented here by chicken.
  • It is easy to find food for vegetarians and vegans in Mauritius. Milk and its products are rarely used here. Many street snacks, which in other countries are made from chicken, bacon or cheese, are plant-based here.
If you are on a diet or traveling with children, hotels and many restaurants offer a larger selection of international dishes. In addition, in Mauritius there are establishments with the usual choice of fast food.

Street food and fast food in Mauritius

In recent years, more and more fast food establishments have been opened in Mauritius, but it has not yet replaced the usual options for a quick and satisfying snack on the go. Street food in Mauritius is a separate flourishing culture, and both tourists and locals are happy to resort to the services of street hawkers.

Fast food trucks on the beach

Cheap fast food trucks along the sea. Mauritius has its own special fast food, I highly recommend trying it!

Trucks with street food usually stand at markets and beaches. The capital of Mauritius, Port Louis is a real Mecca for connoisseurs of street food. If you get a chance take a walk around the city – visit Chinatown, which since its foundation has become the center of gastronomic life on the island.

Food to try in Mauritius

Bought some fried rice and veggie samossa on the beach of Mont Choisy

In terms of sanitation, street food in Mauritius is quite safe. Just in case, choose those sellers to whom there is a queue of local residents. Firstly, Mauritians are more familiar with the situation and have more experience in choosing quality food. And secondly, popular hawkers run out of ingredients faster, which means they have to replenish stocks more often. So you reduce the chances of stumbling upon stale products.

You already know about some street food dishes and their ingredients, but the most popular of them will be discussed below.

Fried snacks goujons and gajacks

In Mauritius, a special variety of snacks fried in vegetable oil is common – goujons and gajacks. Despite the similar names, they have different origins, and the former usually refers to deep-fried chicken or seafood pieces, while the latter refers to vegetable chips. However, both of these names are actually used interchangeably, so don’t be surprised if you see manioc goujons.

Cassava snacks are the most common type of gajacka, but there are others – made from eggplant, sweet potato, breadfruit, taro tubers and more.

Foods to try in Mauritius

Dholl puri

Dol puri is the queen of street food. They are named after the main ingredient – puri. Puri is a thin flatbread similar to lavash, but cooked with mashed yellow peas or lentils and various spices (cumin, turmeric, etc.). Puri can also be eaten on its own as an accompaniment to the main course, but is usually used as a filling. Puri is stuffed with a variety of curries, rougaille, chutneys, or pickled achar vegetables, but in general, it can be anything.

Top dishes in Mauritius - Dholl puri

This flatbread costs 15 RM – which is very cheap

Roti or farata

Roti is a flatbread with a filling. Roti has nothing to do with Thai and Malaysian roti banana pancakes. Mauritian roti is also called farata after the Indian “parata”, from which they are no different.

Unlike dholl puri, roti contains only flour, water, salt and oil, which makes the cake more insipid and allows you to better taste the original taste of the filling. In roti they put the same thing as in dholl puri, but most often – chicken curry.

Roti is sold mostly in the morning. They can be found either in Indian cafes, in the market or bought from sellers on motorbikes. The latter drive along the hotels and beep. It happens at 8-9 am. Later, the roti is no longer to be found. It costs 2 roti 25 RM (50 euro cents).

Gateaux piments

You already know that Mauritian cuisine is spicy – and, perhaps, this feature is best manifested in gateaux piments. Gateaux piments are deep-fried balls with only two main ingredients – lentils (sometimes yellow peas are put instead) and chili peppers. At the same time, chili peppers are added very generously, so eating them without eating anything is difficult. By tradition, they are usually consumed with a fresh baguette – “dry” or smeared with butter.

The list of condiments does not end with chili. Gateaux piments also includes green onions, cumin, coriander and turmeric.