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  4. Maldives Cuisine: Things to Try on the Islands

The Maldives is a divine paradise for lovers of seclusion from city hassle and bustle. All year round, pristine beaches with white sand and clear lagoons delight and attract visitors from all over the world. Palmed islands with luxurious villas are perfect for adventure, honeymoon or family vacations.

Excellent addition to all this is traditional Maldivian cuisine - light, fresh, full of spices and aromas, one of the most wholesome and delicious cuisines in the world. The culinary traditions of the islanders were formed under the influence of Indian, Arab and Thai cuisines.

Since the Maldives is in the Indian Ocean, the fundamental of the cuisine is fish and seafood. The main supplements to them are coconuts, rice, vegetables and fruits.

Seafood and Vegetable Dish
Seafood and Vegetable Dish | Asad Photo Maldives

Tuna is the Staff of Life

A recognized favourite of local cuisine is tuna. There are a huge number of ways to cook it - stewing, boiling, baking, frying an open fire, drying and smoking. Hardly any feast goes with without this product.

Grilled tuna
Grilled tuna | Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences

Meat is almost not used in the menu of locals. In rare cases, it can be chicken. The reason for this is that most of the population professes Islam. However, the exception is hotels where European cuisine in restaurants is available for tourists.

Resort Restaurant in the Maldives
Resort Restaurant in the Maldives | Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa

Coconut Butter and Milk

To improve the taste of their dishes, islanders massively use spices, sauces, herbs and, of course, coconuts. They make coconut oil, which frequently serves as deep fat. Coconut milk is an essential ingredient of Maldivian curry and other dishes. Such local fruits as bananas, mangoes, melon, breadfruit, pineapples are used to make delicious desserts.

Coconut milk
Coconut milk

Maldivians do not drink alcohol, and its sale in stores is prohibited. However, resorts have strong drinks. Locals prefer fruit juices, coconut milk, green tea with milk and sugar and palm juice. The Maldives popular drink is the low alcohol drink “gaa” from fermented palm milk.

Variety of drinks in the Maldives
Variety of drinks in the Maldives

Traditional Maldivian Dishes

Garudhiya - a traditional dish of the islands, which is one of the main ones in the diet of locals. This fragrant tuna fish soup is served hot with lime, rice, chilli and onions.

Rihaakuru - a spicy concentrated thick tuna paste, a favourite of local cuisine. You can eat it with roshi - local flat cakes fried in a pan without oil.

Boshi Mashuni (Banana Flower Salad) - a mixture of crusty crushed banana flowers and fresh coconut. The delicious taste is provided by curry leaves, turmeric, caraway, lime and chilli.

Bis Keemiya - a dish resembling fried dumplings from thin pastry, filled with tuna, chopped cabbage, boiled egg and spicy onions.

Mas Huni - the most popular Maldivian breakfast. It’s smoked tuna with grated coconut meat, lime juice, onion and chilli, served with bread roshi.

Gulha - small balls stuffed with tuna with onions, grated coconut and chilli. They are cooked from wheat or rice flour and deep-fried. They are usually served with sweet tea or coffee.

Kulhi Boakibaa - fish cake, indispensable Maldivian food. It’s cooked from smoked tuna, coconut, onions and ground rice.

Fish curry - a popular dish in the Maldives, which consists of turmeric, chilli pepper, coconut meat and milk, onions, ginger, cinnamon, slices of green mango and tuna. It is served with rice and bread cakes. There is a vegetable curry option for vegetarians.

Aluvi Boakibaa - sweet cassava and coconut pie. It’s a favourite dessert for both locals and tourists.

Bondi - the most popular dessert on the islands. These are white sticks made from coconut meat. This delicacy served as a prototype of the famous Bounty bar.

Rihaakuru is a traditional dish of the Maldives
Rihaakuru is a traditional dish of the Maldives | Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

The best way for gourmets to experience Maldivian cuisine is to go to the capital of Maldives, Male. Visiting local establishments - eateries and teashops, which locals adore - is a must-do. Here you can taste authentic traditional dishes that will captivate you with exotic originality. However, you should be very careful because the local cuisine is replete with various spices and is quite spicy.

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