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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.

By Selina Periampillai
Published 21 Jun 2019, 08:00 BST, Updated 5 Nov 2020, 05:27 GMT
Port Louis Central Market
Port Louis Central Market.
Photograph by Bacon on the Beech

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

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).

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

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

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.


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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