The Maldives isn’t just home to some of the best beaches and diving spots in the world, you can also enjoy some of the most delicious cuisine too. Maldivian food is a mixture of Arabic, Indian, Sri Lankan and other Asian flavours, and you can try everything from freshly caught seafood to spicy curries and soups.
If you are looking at Maldives holidays, then one thing you do not need to worry about is the food that is available as there are so many different options. Whatever type of food you like, , you will find something to suit your tastebuds.
Emily Wilson, one of the writers behind A Luxury Travel Blog, talks a bit about the cuisine in the Maldives: “Known for its many atolls, white sand beaches and crystal clear lagoons the Maldives have been a dream holiday destination for many. Over the last few years’ luxury resorts have focussed on developing their food and beverage offerings for guests and the Maldives is quickly becoming an area that is setting the bar for unique culinary experiences.”
We’ve put together a guide about Maldives food and shared some of the best local dishes you can try out, so read on to find out some specialities worth sampling.
The best food from the Maldives
- Tharukaaree Riha
- Fihunu Mas
- Popular snacks in the Maldives
As you may expect being an island nation, it is not unusual to eat fish for breakfast in the Maldives, and it is a great way to start the day as fish is packed with nutrients.
Mas huni is a popular Maldivian breakfast dish made with grated coconuts, chilli, onion, and smoked tuna. It is commonly mashed altogether, and many locals eat it with a side of flatbread called roshi.
You will find Mas huni on the menu in the small cafés on the local islands as well as in the restaurants of the different resorts throughout the Maldives.
Ingredients (serves 1 person)
- 1 cup smoked tuna – diced/sliced (substitute: 1 can tuna chunks)
- 1 cup coconut – scraped/grated
- 1 scotch bonnet (githeyo mirus) – finely chopped
- ½ cup onion – finely sliced
- ½ cup lemon juice
- Salt to taste
If you are talking about Maldives food, then a dish that you must try is Garudhiya. This fish broth/soup is one of the most popular dishes amongst locals and it is made from native species of tuna such as yellowfin, skipjack and little tunny.
Travel Food Atlas, a blog that looks at food all around the world, talks a bit about this popular dish: “Garudhiya is a fish broth, usually made from tuna. The tuna is cooked in salted water with curry leaves, onions and chillies. The chunks are removed from the broth before serving with rice, lime and sometimes toppings like Theluli Mas. Theluli Mas is a condiment made from fish, covered in chilli paste which is then fried. Garudhiya is popularly eaten as a lunch meal.”
- 500g tuna fish (cleaned and chopped to medium pieces)
- Curry leaves
- Rampa leaves (Pandan leaves)
- Salt to taste
- 1L water
Roshi is a traditional Maldivian flatbread which is commonly served with curries, soups and other dishes. Unlike similar flatbreads in Asia, Roshi is made from plain white flour and the basic version of roshi is made from flour, salt and water rolled into flat discs and cooked on a pan.
If you have booked package Maldives holidays you may find different types of roshi on the menu at restaurants in the resort you are staying at. Other popular types of roshi include Mas Aluvi Roshi which is flatbread filled with fish and potatoes, while Huni Roshi is made with grated coconut in the dough.
Maldivian roshi bread is mainly eaten by locals at breakfast, but it is also eaten for dinner as a side dish alongside curries and other main meals.
- 3 cups plain/all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1½ tsp salt
- Warm water
This vegetable curry dish is traditionally made with carrots, pumpkins and coconut milk and is a popular meal to eat at lunch or for dinner. This dish has been influenced by Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine and whilst this dish is a vegetable version, there are other types of Riha curries. You can find fish curry or chicken curry versions of Riha and these are very popular and can also be found in many restaurants across the Maldives.
Darlene, who is the founder of International Cuisine, talks about this popular dish: “Maldivian vegetable curry called Tharukaaree Riha showcases the cuisine of the Maldives. There is a big Indian and Sri Lanka influence on the islands and curries of all types are loved there.
“They can be made with fish, chicken or this vegetarian version. The beautiful colour is derived from the use of turmeric a healthful spice used often in curry. It has just a bit of heat with the use of green chilli and is deliciously flavoured with pandan leaf and curry leaves.”
- 1 sweet potato peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup pumpkin cut into cubes
- 1 cup green beans cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup carrots peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1 green chilli minced
- 6 curry leaves
- 1 pandan leaf tied in a knot
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 piece of ginger sliced thinly
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- Salt to taste
Fihunu Mas is a Maldivian fried fish dish that is a popular meal to eat at lunch or dinner by locals and holidaymakers alike.
Tuna is the most common fish used, but you might find that many local restaurants use other reef fish as an alternative. This fish is usually cooked on a BBQ grill and is quick and easy to make.
Med Munch, who shares healthy diet plans and recipes, told us a bit about the process for making and cooking this dish: “Once gutted, the fish can be scored to allow the marinade flavours to enter the fillets more easily. The marinade is thick rather than oily. It is deeply aromatic, with spices such as cumin, as well as having spicy heat from the addition of chilli peppers.
“Usually, Fihunu mas is cooked on a grill over an open fire, which adds a further flavour profile from the light smoke that infuses the fish.”
- 2 fresh red chillies
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 curry leaves, washed and dried
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- Salt, to taste
- 4 x whole fish (try seabass), gutted and descaled
Popular snacks in the Maldives
The island nation is also home to some great snacks and here we list some of the most popular snacks and food from the Maldives.
- Bis Keemiya – this is a cross between a samosa and a spring roll.
- Maldive Fish Chips – this snack is a dried, cured fish made from fish like tuna and mackerel.
- Kavaabu – this is a type of fish fritter dish.
- Dhonkeyo Kajuru – the Maldivian version of fried banana fritters.
- Fried Yams – this snack is crunchy on the outside and soft inside. It is commonly served with sauces.
This guide looks at some of the most traditional and best food in the Maldives that you can try during a holiday here and if you have been inspired and want to find out more about booking a trip to these paradise islands, you can contact us and speak to one of our experts.
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