Apart from the white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, Maldives is also home to some unique flavors.
We bring you insight into true Maldivian tastes with Chef Mohamed Adam (Chef Mode). Be sure to try these out on your next trip to the Maldives.
What’s unique about Maldivian flavors?
I feel Maldivian cuisine have so much unique flavors offer that its high time that we start promoting our culture and cuisine globally. Maldivian food is tasty, healthy, and always contains the nicest spices. While each dish varies by region, the typical Maldivian dish contains few different ingredients and an infinite array of fresh spices, each bringing their own unique flavor to the table. It is often noted that you can taste a hint of each individual ingredient in any given Maldivian dish. This is because Maldivian cuisine mixes ingredients that have completely different flavors.
While a typical Western meal will contain flavors that closely match each other, Maldivian dishes mix ingredients that don’t overlap in flavor, at all. Instead, they must share their space in the dish. if you take a look at common Maldivian ingredients such as bread fruit, yam, curry leaf, pendant leaf, Maldivian chili, cardamom, cinnamon, garlic, onions, coconut milk, cayenne, ginger, coriander seeds, cumin, and turmeric, you will see that these ingredients do not resemble each other flavor-wise; they stand alone. Maldivian Cuisine have lot of flavors yet to be discovered.
What would you say are the local tastes that entice most tourists?
In my opinion Maldivian cuisine have lot more potential than how we are promoting it to the tourist. Industry have been promoting Indian cuisine, Chinese cuisine, Arabic cuisine by having special outlets and dinner buffets and all, being prepared by the people who know these cuisines very well. Whereas Maldivian dinner are mostly prepared by the people who are not trained, neither have the knowledge of our local flavors. I believe it’s essential to serve our tourists an authentic flavor experience in order to entice more tourists. But if we are to look at the dishes that lure more tourists then it would certainly be the different varieties of curries and the short eats (snacks).
Can you name top 5 must try Maldivian dishes for travelers?
Maldivian Cuisine is simple, flavor-full and exciting. People travelling to Maldives should definitely try the following dishes to understand our divers and rich cuisine.
Mas huni is a famous tuna salad with tuna chunks, grated coconut, curry leaves, Maldivian chili, fresh lime and salt. This is a dish traditionally eaten for breakfast with Huni Roshi (coconut chapatti).
Kandu Kukulhu is traditional Maldivian tuna curry. Tuna fillets are rolled with spices and cooked in coconut milk. Usually this curry is cooked for special occasions and celebrations, which is eaten with rice, roshi or fen folhi.
Traditionally the banbukeyo (breadfruit) bai is cut into small pieces of cube. After that the banbukeyo that was previously cut into cubes, rice, water, salt and grated coconut should be cooked together until all the water is absorbed. Which is eaten with masfen or garudhiya.
Rihaakuru dhiya is very unique and traditional Maldivian dish which use rihaakuru (fish stock paste), chopped onion, chopped chili, chopped curry leaves, fresh coconut milk and fresh lime juice mixed together and eaten with roshi and rice.
Handulu Bondi Bai
Handulu bondi bai (sweetened sticky rice) is a unique dessert made for extra special occasions like the naming ceremony. Eaten with ‘kulhimas’ or smoked tuna.