Maldives Gastronomy - 5 Dishes that Can’t Be Missed
When it comes to Maldivian cuisine, seafood may be the first thing that comes to mind. But with a rich history and a diverse blend of Indian, Sinhalese, and Arabic influences, the Maldives has so much more to offer. As an Islamic country, pork products are not commonly found on the local islands, but the use of a wide range of spices and coconut milk make for some truly delicious dishes.
Here are 5 Maldivian gastronomy items that you won't want to miss on your next visit:
- Fried Yams
Fried yams, also known as "kulhi bōkibaas," are a popular Maldivian snack that are similar to french fries. However, yams are not potatoes and are much drier and starchier which makes them perfect for storing in tropical climates. They are typically served with traditional Maldivian sauces, so be sure to ask your local restaurants about their options.
- Saagu Bondibai
Saagu Bondibai is a traditional Maldivian pudding made with saagu seeds, warm coconut milk, and condensed milk. Similar to rice or mango pudding, it's a dessert that is best enjoyed without worrying about counting calories. It's a sweet, creamy treat that is definitely worth trying.
Rihaakuru is a fish-based sauce that is a staple in Maldivian households. It's made with a variety of spices such as red onion, chili, chili powder, and garlic and is similar to a Thai Tom Yam soup. The fish is cooked slowly over a steady heat until it becomes thick and can be enjoyed with rice or bread.
- Live Lobsters
The Maldives is famous for its lobsters and it's a must-try for any visitor to the country. They can be enjoyed fresh like sashimi or cooked. For the best experience, head to The Reef at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, where Chef Manoj can prepare your lobsters to your liking, whether it be individually or as part of a delicious seafood platter.
Gulha is a traditional Maldivian breakfast dish made with tuna, chopped onion, grated coconut, and chili. These ingredients are mixed with turmeric and lime juice and then wrapped in a wheat or rice flour dough, which is deep fried to create a dumpling-like snack. Gulha are small, the size of a large marble, and have a soft inside with a firm and crunchy outside. They are typically served with sweet tea and make for a perfect afternoon snack.
The Maldives offers a wide variety of dishes for pescatarians, vegetarians, and spice lovers alike. If you're unsure about what to try, don't hesitate to ask the local chefs at your hotel for recommendations. Whether it's fried yams, saagu bondibai, rihaakuru, live lobsters or gulha, the Maldives has something delicious for everyone.