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Food & Dining in Mauritius

In an island where people originate from a wide variety of places, the local cuisine is a testament to the influence of this melting pot. This produces remarkable results: in Mauritius, you can travel to all corners of the globe without leaving the table

Mauritian cooking is in a class of its own: it is a combination influenced by people of different cultures and cooking traditions. Mauritian people are adventurous with food, and are perfectly happy to eat Creole, Chinese, Indian or Muslim food.

Mauritian cuisine is proud of its past but is still firmly rooted in the contemporary world. A few leading chefs such as Paul Bocuse, Trois Gros brothers and Michel Ducasse have paid a visit to the island and have thus played a part in the creation of this top-quality cuisine.

Even though international cuisine is readily available, do not deny yourself the pleasure of eating local food, at a table d’hôte or in the various specialised restaurants. Do not hesitate to try the dholl purri (wheat pancake stuffed with dholl and served with a tomato sauce), the farata, the gâteaux piments or the samosas.

During daytime, eating on the street sides or in small restaurants (called hotels) is common practice in Mauritius as these are often the tastiest dishes of all. Small trolleys serving Chinese broths and noodles can be seen mainly in Port Louis but the most common food served are Indian specialities.

For those who like trying out exotic/ Creole/ Indian foods, eating from street merchants is by far the most economical option. The nutrition is quite balanced and the food filling. The hygiene of course is below the borderline and may cause stomach problems to those who had no time to develop the necessary antibodies. A full meal (standing on the street side) will cost around 35 rupees per person excluding the tablet for stopping the stomach burns.

There are little alternatives within these low budgets as European types of fast foods such as hamburgers and paninis can be found only in towns and main villages. This type of food costs around 100 and 250 rupees.

The next cheapest alternatives are the Chinese restaurants generally with a few red Formica tables and chairs under a veranda. They serve delicious Chinese and Creole food at very low costs and although the hygiene is not what it should be, it is okay to eat in these places avoiding shrimps, seafood and red meat. These would cost between 250 and 300 rupees. Most of these places serve cold drinks and beer.

Then come the disguised village restaurants; a new breed. In most cases, these started as real people's restaurants but with superior quality of food. They were discovered by some tourists who have spread out the word to their friends and are now "famous sweet spots". Although hygiene might still be on the borderline, they are within the authorities norms. On the bright side, the turnover is generally sufficient to ensure that products served are fresh. In most cases, the crockery, cutlery and set up are kitsch and the room often hot and crowded; this adds to their interest, as they are a journey to the roots of Mauritius. The food is often better than in more established restaurants at more affordable prices. However the most renown of them can be on the expensive side. A full meal in such places would cost between 350 and 600 rupees.

The restaurant business in Mauritius has evolved positively since 2008, thanks partly to the establishment of expatriates on the island, both as professionals and as clientèle bringing more regular volumes.

Mauritius now counts several good addresses for cuisine and atmosphere, including outstanding ones, some run by renowned chefs having had experience in French restaurants ranked in the world- famous Guide Michelin restaurant guide. Many of them have a concept and for this reason they are found in places that are off the main roads and outside the shopping complexes.

Restaurants in Mauritius are generally on the expensive side as there is not enough volume all year round to allow economies of scale. Alcohols and wines are largely over-priced due to severe import & excise duties. It nonetheless remains a better deal to eat in public restaurants as compared to hotels especially if you intend to have wine.

The average quality of food served in restaurants is generally good but service could do better. The drinks and main courses are served within a reasonable lapse of time but as the meal stretches to the end, the service slows like an engine running out of petrol. One needs to wave at the waiters for some time to attract their attention when it comes to dessert or coffee time and the bill can take longer than the whole meal. Think of asking for the bill while ordering dessert or coffee and of asking for it again when coffee is served, otherwise one might spend the whole night waiting. The cost of meals in established restaurants vary widely between 450 and 2,000 rupees per person.

There are many restaurants located across the country. The Grand Bay area of Mauritius homes most of the popular restaurants of the country. However, now there are many new restaurants, which have been established for catering to all the people visiting the country.





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