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A Dining Experience In The Maldives

Feb 27, 2008
The thousand islands of the Maldives obviously have a lot to offer tourists who are seeking to experience paradise. But aside from the exquisite beaches, picturesque landscapes and the endless beauty of the surrounding sea, paradise can also be tasted in the variety of foods that the Maldives has to offer.

Cuisine in the Maldives is definitely wide-ranging from the local staples to Western fare, and a lot of Asian and Indian preparations in between. Owing to the geography, the sea provides abundant bounty to the islands. Fresh fish and other seafood are commonly featured in Maldivian cooking, complemented by various imported ingredients that lend it international flavour.

Tuna, swordfish, grouper, red snapper, and octopus are always available in the restaurants dotting the island's tourist locations. For those who can't eat seafood however, there are still plenty of choices that include vegetable dishes, chicken, pork, lamb, and beef. Most meats are imported from Australia and New Zealand and are top-quality.

If you want to taste a truly traditional Maldivian meal, try garudhiya with some coconut, lime, chili, and smoked or boiled fish. Garudhiya is a fish soup cooked with tuna, coconut, tubers, and millet. It is usually served with coconut syrup called dhiyaa-hakuru and some rice. Another delicacy that would sometimes come with this kind of meal is rihaakuru, which is basically a fish paste.

There's also mas huni, a dish with fish, coconut, onions, and lemon. For breakfast, serving unleavened roshi is typical throughout the islands. Using curry is likewise very common in Maldivian cooking, and you can choose from fish, vegetable or meat curry dishes. Generally, traditional cuisine in the Maldives is a balance of sweet, citrus-y and mildly spicy flavours. Fresh tropical fruit like mangoes, bananas and papayas are usually available for dessert.

A recommended gastronomical adventure can be done in the capital Male, where a lot of cafes and teashops serve sweet treats, pastries and spicy savouries. A lot of the spicy delicacies have fish as the main ingredient. There are fish-stuffed pastries (bajiyaa), fish rolls (keemia), fishcakes (kulhi boakibaa), little fish-stuffed pancakes (masroshi), and fish balls (gulha). Sweets are mostly made of flour and sugar like the foniboakiba cake. Black tea, or kalhu sai, is commonly served with such snacks.

Most restaurants can be found in Male, but there are also a few dining places throughout the rest of the islands, although these are usually affiliated with the hotels and resorts. Because these places mainly cater to tourists, international menus are quite common too.

Restaurants in the Maldives serve Indian, Sri Lankan, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, continental, and "fusion" cuisines. Some of the most well-known dining places are The Garden, Salsa Cafe, Maayafushi, 24 Degrees in Taj Exotica, Thai Wok, and the unique underwater restaurant called Ithaa that is run by the Conrad Maldives (Hilton) Resort in Rangali Island.
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