Before arriving in Mauritius, I really didn’t know much about the island, or Mauritian cuisine. I made some assumptions (many of them wrong) but I was pleasantly surprised at the varied of foods to eat in Mauritius. And, during our time in Mauritius I was excited to learn so much about Mauritius food.
Mauritius island is a melting pot, with a unique combination of African, Indian, Chinese, French, and British influence. The Brits probably have the least direct influence on the cuisine, although tea is very popular. This melting pot influence means you can eat curry, dim sum, and a Chateaubriand all in one day. Or, some Mauritian dishes combine the influence from these varied cuisines into one dish, a Creole inspired dish. The Mauritius language and religion is a mix of all of these influences, melting together, as is the Mauritius traditional food.
We ate some of these dishes on a great Mauritian food tour, but others we were able to eat at one of the top Mauritius hotels, the Heritage Le Telfair, as well. It was a perfect mix of what to eat, from Mauritius street food to luxury, with a side of Mauritius rum!
Mauritian curry is just different enough from Indian curries to make it unique. Yes, there is a lot of Indian food in Mauritius, as well as a lot of Indian restaurants in Mauritius. But, the curry in particularly is just different enough from traditional Indian cuisine.
Most common are fish curries, or chicken and prawn curries, spiced with cumin, coriander seeds, cardamom, ginger, and about a dozen other ingredients.
The curries are sometimes spicy, but they seem to tone it down a bit for the tourists. I always asked for extra chilies and most times they provided me a unique chili paste. The Heritage Le Telfair made their chili paste in house, spiced with chilies, citrus, and vinegar. It was amazing, and white. I am used to seeing red or green chili paste.
We met a lot of people living in Mauritius, and everyone seemed to be proud of their family Mauritian recipes when it comes to the curry! When thinking about what to do in Mauritius I recommend taking a Mauritian cooking class. We learned to cook our own Mauritian Curry during a cooking class at the Heritage Le Telfair, which was tasty. And, the chef explained to us how important the curry is to the Mauritius people.
I am not generally a fan of smoked fish. I can handle smoked meats, but smoked fish is a little different. I didn’t want to say so to the Mauritians we met, though, because I felt my lack of interest in one of their national dishes, smoked marlin, would be seen as rude. It was offered at each breakfast at the Heritage Le Telfair, and graced many of their menus. I am almost convinced that smoked Marlin is served at all restaurants in Mauritius.
That all said, during our Mauritian cooking class, the starter we made was, wait for it . . . smoked marlin. And, well, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. The portion was large, and there was no way I could get it all down, but I finished about half. It was actually fairly enjoyable. I assume that for travelers who love smoked fish they would love it. But, even for those who avoid smoked fish, I would recommend smoked marlin as a must eat in Mauritius. You have to try it at least once, either at a Mauritius restaurant, or at your hotel.
Heart of Palm Salads
This is another seemingly national dish of Mauritius, heart of palm. They serve it as a salad on its own, but it also graces many dishes as a garnish or side item. They would even top a curry with heart of palm. It’s impossible to travel to Mauritius without trying heart of palm.
The heart of palm was different than the ones I ate as a kid, when my mom would find them in jars or cans. In Mauritius, the heart of palm is so fresh, and crisp. We learned to make this as well during our Mauritian cooking class, and it topped the smoked marlin. The salad is one of the easier Mauritian food recipes, and one that could be made at home.
Check out the best restaurants in Mauritius – Port Louis – 2018
Now, we are really getting into my wheel house, the Indian inspired cuisine. A few of the street foods to eat in Mauritius involve dishes that reminded me of street food we ate in India, or even some of the Indian cuisine we’ve eaten in Malaysia.
The first we tried was dholl puri, which we tried at a street food display at Heritage Le Telfair, as well as during our Taste Buddies Mauritius food tour. Seeking out street food in Mauritius is one of the best things to do in Mauritius.
It’s a thick pancake-like bread, known as puri, and then spread with dholl, which Indian food lovers might recognize as “dahl,” which is generally a lentil. In Mauritius, the dholl is a ground yellow pea spread, that is topped with various chutneys and pickled vegetables. It’s the most common Mauritius street food, in particular, in the capital of Port Louis.
Now, even more than the dholl puri, I loved the farata, which reminded me a little of roti canai in Malaysia. It’s influenced by Indian paratha, a thick fried bread. The farata is also a very popular street food, but instead of including a smear of yellow pea paste, it is filled with various curries and chutneys. This made it a little more moist than dholl puri. I could eat Mauritian farata all day long! And, if you’re worried about prices in Mauritius, this kind of street food is easy to find in Port Louis, and cheap too!
There were two things I was hoping to eat in Mauritius, curry and seafood. I had my curries covered, and I was thrilled to have giant grilled prawns at Le Palmier, the beach front restaurant at the Heritage Le Telfair. It was exactly what I hoped for, where each perfectly prepared prawn was like eating my own little lobster. And, with the view over the sea from Le Palmier, over one of the best beaches in Mauritius, it was a meal that just screamed lux Mauritius!
We learned while traveling in the Maldives that tuna is ubiquitous. It’s in almost every local Maldivian dish. And, it seemed similar in Mauritius. Although it’s possible to find tuna curries in Mauritius, just like in the Maldives, what I enjoyed was all of was the fresh tuna as it was prepared at Heritage Resorts. At their Asian-fusion restaurant, Gin-Ja, I ate amazing tuna tartare. And, I ate a fresh, citrusy tuna carpaccio (twice) at Le Palmier. Of course, it was topped with heart of palm, making it feel a lot more local.
It should be no surprise that coconuts are freely available on the island of Mauritius. Although not as sweet as the coconuts in Thailand, or even Bali, they make the most of them. I loved that each morning at the buffet breakfast at Annabella’s, they offered a fresh fruit salad covered with shredded coconut meat. I ate a fairly large plate each day. And, at the Coco Bar, right on the beach at Heritage Awali all of their Mauritius drinks are made from coconuts, and served inside coconuts. Heritage Awali is located next door to our resort, and their Coco Bar offered fresh cocktails at sunset. It has to be one of the bars in Mauritius with the best view. It was the prefect way to end the day.
We ate well during our week in Mauritius. And, there are loads more Mauritius food and drink options, but these stood out. We also ate a good amount of French inspired cuisine at Heritage Resorts, and more different kinds of street food on our food tour in Port Louis. But, tracking down these must eat Mauritius dishes is a good place to start.
Where To Stay In Mauritius
Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort, recently renovated sugar plantation style luxury resort: Read our Heritage Le Telfair Review | Read TripAdvisor Reviews | Book on Booking.com | Book on Hotels.com | Rates From $250 a night
Heritage Awalhi Mauritius All Inclusive Resort, safari style all inclusive resort with access to restaurants at Heritage Le Telfair: Read TripAdvisor Reviews | Book on Booking.com | Book on Hotels.com | Rates From $350 with all inclusive packages
Intercontinental Resort Mauritius, secluded resort in Balaclava Bay, on the island’s northern coast: Read TripAdvisor Reviews | Book Direct with IHG | Book on Booking.com | Book on Hotels.com | Rates From $225
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FAQs About Mauritius
- Where is Mauritius located? Mauritius is an island nation in Africa, located east of the continent, and east of Madagascar. It’s a small island, and it’s possible to drive around the entire island in one day, while eating Mauritian food along the way.
- What are some of the top things to do in Mauritius? There are loads of ways to explore the island and learn more about the Mauritius culture. Check out our Mauritius travel guide, where we share some tips on what to see in Mauritius, besides eating tasting Mauritius food!
- Where is the best place to stay in Mauritius? We stayed a Heritage Le Telfair, which is located on the southern Mauritius beaches. It’s one of a series of hotels located on the more remote southern part of the island. It feels more remote and natural than the north, but it’s still not far from the airport or Port Louis.
- When is the best time to visit Mauritius? Mauritius is located south of the equator. That means it’s winters and summers are reverse of those in Europe and the United States. Between May and December it is cooler, but can be breezy, particularly in the south. From December through April it’s summer and can be more tropical and warm. The shoulder seasons are best to visit Mauritius, including April and May.
- What are the top restaurants in Mauritius? Check out this list of restaurants in Mauritius, including the top 10 for 2018.
We were hosted by Heritage Resorts during our holiday in Mauritius, but all tasty yummy sounds about what there is to eat in Mauritius are, as always, my own.