Travel

Chef's table: what to eat and where in Mauritius

Mauritian cuisine is all about fruit and spices. Selina Periampillai shares her pick of what to eat and where.Friday, June 21, 2019

By Selina Periampillai
Port Louis Central Market.

With a unique blend of French, African and Indian influences, the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has a culinary scene that reflects its rich and varied past. At the many roadside food stalls, Mauritians gather to graze on delicious gajaks (snacks or pre-drink nibbles) of chilli-salted tropical fruit or tempura-style fried vegetables dipped in fiery chutney. For visitors, family-run restaurants and tables d’hôte (guesthouses) are becoming increasingly popular, offering an opportunity to dine ‘island-style’ on traditional homemade dishes.

Where to eat & drink

Markets
Join the crowds at Flacq Market or the Port Louis bazaar. Sip on fresh coconut water while browsing for spicy biryani and gateaux piments (fried chilli cakes).

Guesthouses
Indulge in a traditional Mauritian curry and a shot of rhum arrangé (fruity rum) at Kot Marie-Michèlle or Escale Créole guesthouses. 

Takamaka Boutique Winery
The island is famed for its sugarcane rum, but Takamaka Boutique Winery in Plaines Wilhems District is the first to produce lychee wine. Visit for a tour and wine tasting. 

The ingredients

Pineapple
Juicy, super-sweet chunks, marinated in chilli, salt and tamarind, are a popular beachside snack.

Vanilla 
These pods have a glossy sheen and are packed full of fragrant seeds. Bourbon vanilla is my favourite.

Roasted curry powder
Cinnamon, fenugreek and cumin are among the fragrant ingredients used to make Mauritian curry powder.

Must-try

Dhal Puri: I love these thin flatbreads stuffed with ground split peas, usually served with butterbean curry and tomato satini (chutney).

Selina Periampillai is a London-based chef and author of The Island Kitchen, a cookbook that takes you on a journey of the Indian Ocean islands (Bloomsbury, RRP: £26)

Published in issue 4 of National geographic Traveller Food

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