Besides being the home to a multitude of fairytale tropical islands, glistening with the magic of golden white beaches, Maldives enchants its inhabitants and tourists with some of the most delicious cuisines brought to you from across the globe.
The traditional Maldivian cuisine known as, Dhivehi, captivates those seeking a delicious meal with a marvelous variety of tastes, aromas and flavours. Right from crunchy snacks and street foods accompanied by wood-fired chapati breads to appetizing spicy curries like Banbukeylu harissa, the local Maldivian cuisineis known for its unique tropicalflavour.
The local cuisine of Maldives owes its specialty to the rich assemblage of traditional tastes, influenced majorly by India and Sri Lanka. As the demand of Maldivian local cuisine by the increasing international tourist influx heightened; the cuisine developed its distinctive blend of unique flavours.
In recent days, the traditional Maldivian cuisine takes pride in its culinary identity with its simple, yet chief ingredients- coconuts, fish, starch-containing grains and vegetables.
Considering the magical Maldivian waters, it is not surprising that fish is a major ingredient that works wonders in Maldivian cuisine. Tuna species, especially yellowfin tuna, little tunny, frigate tuna are used in a variety of dishes, either dried or fried.
While most fish are grilled or deep-fried, tuna is cooked, cured, smoked or sundried, to make short eats like bajiya, kulhi bokiba, fatafolhi, kavaabu, gulha, and masroshi. A tuna key-ingredient dish, Mas huni, prepared by mixing dry processed tuna with coconut, onions, and chili, is a famous traditional Maldivian breakfast.
One among the three main ingredients, coconut is grated and shaved to a fluid form as coconut milk, and is also used as oil in the preparation of deep-fried dishes.
Most often, coconuts are shredded with the help of 'hunigondi' and are squeezed to obtain coconut milk, which forms the major ingredient in many Maldivian curries, fruit-based beverages, and mocktails.
They are used in a variety of forms, including tubers like cassava, sweet potato, and taro. They are also employed in the preparation of mouth-watering fruits like breadfruit and screwpine.
After cutting it into thin slices, screwpine can mostly be eaten raw; while tubers and breadfruit are preferred to be eaten boiled.
Exotic flavors of fish, chicken, and vegetable curries top the Maldivian cuisine. Mas Riha, prepared from chopped fresh tuna, coconut, peppers, and plenty of chilies is the best of the Maldivian curries.
Also, a chicken curry known as KukulhuRiha is a top favorite among many tourists for its unique piquancy of spices.
Even vegetable curries flavoured by veggie ingredients like pumpkin, tora, chichanda, muranga, coconut milk and a curry paste blended with onions, herbs, spices, and chili peppers are on the menu list. The curries are mostly eaten with steamed rice or unleavened flatbread.
Garudhiya (Fish soup)
This is an everyday favourite meal of the native Maldives.
Ingredients: Rice, lime, chilies
Cooking Method: Sauteing
Supply: Served with rice and soup packed with fresh raw tuna and chopped chili
Where to get: Iberry Café, Jazz Café, Male, Muraka, Mirihi Island Resort
This is traditionally consumed in breakfast.
Ingredients: Tuna, coconut, chili, onion
Cooking Method: Blended and seasoned
Supply: Served with chapati bread
Where to get: The Sea House Maldives, BoduthakurufaanuMagu, Crystal Sands, Maafushi, and the west harbor area in Male, now known as RaaveribeMaizaan
Kulhiboakiba, also known as fish cake, has been a luscious festive Maldivian food for thousands of years.
Ingredients: Tuna, coconut, chili, pepper, ginger, rice
Cooking Method: Smoking, Grating
Supply: Served with rice
Where to get: SeaLaVie Café, Ukulhas, Salathai Café, Male, Findhandi Restaurant, Komandoo
This is a unique dessert made for special occasions like the birth of a child and is used as gifts to mark the celebration of such occasions.
Ingredients: Rice, coconut milk, sugar, raanbaa, cinnamon
Cooking Method: Baking
Supply: Served with kulhimas or bondibai
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
Tourists can enjoy contemporary European cuisine five meters below sea level with Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. The said restaurant offers a luxury six-course set dinner featuring delicacies such as Malossolimperial caviar with sour cream potato blinis, and yellowtail kingfish with a saffron champagne risotto and beurre blanc foam, followed by vanilla chocolate vantage with mango sorbet. Besides the mouthwatering dishes, the possibility of seeing a passing reef shark or manta ray can make your stay at Ithaa an inexplicable treat.
The Muraka restaurant is housed in the Mirihi Island Resort, situated in the idyllic South Ari Atoll. The restaurant ensures an international menu with seafood-rich delicacies including pink peppercorn-crusted Maldivian tuna loin with fried bokchoi and crispy potato wanton, as well as lobster bisque with papaya salad and papaya seed dressing.
Special dining experiences like Whole Fish Delight are being offered by Muraka. Here the chef prepares and fillets a whole fish of the guest’s choosing at their table. With its stunning views over the ocean and open-floor sections with views of the sea below, the Muraka is sure to enchant you with a magical experience.
In-housed as part of the small six-room Sala Boutique Hotel, Sala Thai serves to generously enrich your tummies with portioned dishes such as the shrimp marinated in a spicy fish sauce with Thai herbs, flavoursome Penang curry or the traditional Thai dessert, sticky jasmine rice with mango.
You can enjoy your meals amid the tasteful wooden furniture and beautiful Asian artwork in Sala Thai.
The Aioli Restaurant is located in a quiet alleyway off Ameer Ahmed Magy, and cooks impressive delicacies with a blend of south Asian food with a Mediterranean twist.
Stylish, and tastefully decorated in dark wood furnishings, contrasting the cream shades of upholstery and walls, the Aioli Restaurant features two large dining rooms and an outdoor balcony seating area.
Choose from the list of delicious dishes including addukukulhureha, a traditional Maldivian chicken curry served with steamed rice and bread, or fried cuttlefish with spicy Spanish-style saffron rice, in a chic and relaxing environment.
Even as you are making preparations to spend a memorable vacation at the Maldives, don't let your mind get distracted by the fantasy places alone. Take time to make a checklist to feast your tummies to make the best out of your vacation.
Enjoy the mystical land and its magical cuisine with 360 Degree World Travel!