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Cuisine in Mauritius
 
 
 

Mauritius is a paradise for the senses, not only for the eyes with its beautiful landscape, but also for the palate. Gastronomes will find a variety of flavours and aromas inherited from the different migrations through its history. Culinary traditions from France, India, China and Africa, the best-known and appreciated cuisines in the world, have been passed on through generations.

During the 19th century, after the abolition of slavery, Indian workers who migrated to Mauritius brought their cuisine with them. Those indentured labourers came from different parts of India, each with their own culinary tradition, depending on the region.

The end of the 19th century saw the arrival of Chinese migrants, who came mostly from the south-eastern part of China.

Along the years, each community has adapted and mixed each other's cuisine to their liking.

Mauritius has had strong ties with French culture throughout its history and was left with a very French "savoir vivre". The popularity of French dishes like the daube, civet de lièvre or coq au vin served with good wine show the prevalence of French culture in Mauritius even today. As years passed by, some have been adapted to the more exotic ingredients of the island to confer some unique flavour.

Depending on the region, rice or a variety of flat bread called chapattis or roti, called farata (paratha) by the local people, is eaten with curries. The extensive use of spices like saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and herbs like thyme, basil, and curry leaves are the common ingredients that provide some powerful, yet subtle, flavour. Dhal, a variety of lentil soup, are many and varied according to which type of lentil is used; vegetables, beans, and pickles accompany the dishes. Dholl puri and roti, originally an Indian delicacy have become the fish and chips of Mauritians.

Biryani from Mughal origins is a dish expertly prepared by the Muslim community, with meat mixed with spiced rice and potatoes.

You can buy many snacks on the streets of Mauritius including the famous gateaux piments (a variant of the Indian vadai; literally, chilli cakes), and vegetable or meat samosas (puffs), along with octopus curry in bread. The tomato and onion based dish called rougaille is a variation of the French ragoût. The dish usually consists of meat or seafood and all Mauritians eat this dish often if not daily.

Mauritians have a sweet tooth and make many types of gateaux, as they are called. The cakes vary and you can find cakes very much like at home and others similar to Indian sweets like gulab jamun and rasgulla among many others.

The production of rum is common throughout the island. Sugar cane was first introduced on the island when the Dutch colonised it in 1638. Even then, the propensity of making rum out of sugar cane was strongly recognised. Sugar cane was mainly cultivated for the production of "arrack", a precursor to rum. Only much later, after almost 60 years, the first proper sugar was produced. However, it was during the French and English administration that sugar production was fully exploited, which considerably contributed to the economical development of the island. It was Pierre Charles François Harel who in 1850 initially proposed the concept of local distillation of rum in Mauritius. In part due to his efforts, Mauritius today houses three distilleries (Grays, Medine and St Aubin) and is in the process of opening an additional three.

 

 
 

 



 


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