Mauritian cuisine

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Location of Mauritius
A food market at Port Louis, Mauritius

The cuisine of Mauritius is influenced by the tropical location of the island as well as the cultural diversity which characterizes the country.[1] Mauritian cuisine is a blend of African, Chinese, European (mainly French) and Indian influences in the history of Mauritius.[1][2][3][4] Local food varies depending on ethnic communities; this reflects the strong traditional, cultural, and historical influences of each community.[1] Dishes from French cuisine have grown very popular in Mauritius.[citation needed] Most of the dishes and practices into the culinary traditions are inspired by French culture, former African slaves, and Indian workers and Chinese migrants arriving during the 19th century.[5][4]

Common ingredients[edit]

The most common ingredients used in Mauritian cuisine are tomatoes, onions, lady's fingers, eggplants, chayote, garlic and chillies.[2] Seafoods, such as fish, smoked blue marlin, octopus, "camaron" (i.e. freshwater crayfish), are also a staple ingredients along with rice regardless of ethnicity.[3][6]

Origins and influences[edit]

European influences[edit]


During the Dutch Period (1598-1710 AD), sugarcane was first introduced on the island from Java in the late 1630s.[7][8][5] Even then, the propensity of making rum out of sugarcane was strongly recognized. Sugarcane was mainly cultivated for the production of arrack, a precursor to rum.[8][5] Only much later, after almost 60 years, the first proper sugar was produced.[5]

Deers from Java island were also introduced in Mauritius by the Dutch governor, Adrian Van Der Stel, in 1639 for livestock purposes.[9] Following a cyclone, these deers broke free and returned to the wild; since then, the deer demographics has expanded considerably which lead deers to become an important wildlife animal.[9]


A fish dish at a restaurant in Mauritius

Mauritius has strong ties with French culture throughout its history and was deeply influenced by the French "savoir vivre".[5] French hunting traditions have also influenced Mauritian cuisine in the use of venison and wild boar, which is typically served on domaines or estates, restaurants and hotels.[10] Evidence of french influenced dishes include:

As years passed by, some have been adapted to the more exotic ingredients of the island to confer some unique flavour.[5] Many forms of French desserts and cakes were influenced by the Franco-Mauritians and can also be found in France;[1][5] such as tarts.[4]

One of the most prominent chefs in Mauritian cuisine was Madeleine Philippe, whose book Best of Mauritian Cuisine won the World Gourmand Cookbook "Best in the World" awards in 2018.{}


The liking for afternoon tea in Mauritius is an influence from the British who took over the island in 1810.[4]

Chinese influences[edit]

The 19th century saw the arrival of Chinese migrants, who came mostly from the south-eastern part of China;[5] these Chinese migrants were mainly Cantonese from Guandong, Hakka from Meixian and Chinese people from Fujian.[11] Chinese migrants mainly lived in harmony in the Chinatown in the capital of Port Louis and shared their culture with other communities.[11] They are largely credited for making noodles, both steamed and fried, and fried rice popular.[1][12]

Sino-Mauritian cuisine includes both Chinese cuisine and localization of Chinese cuisine. Sino-Mauritian cuisine include:

Traditional Sino-Mauritian dishes and snacks which are eaten on important traditional Chinese holidays are:

Sino-Mauritians also maintain the tradition of Chinese red eggs which is shared to family members.[11]

Other Chinese and/or Chinese influenced dishes include "dizef roti" (lit. translated as "roasted eggs"), fried rice (called "diri frir"), chop suey, "bol renversé" (lit. translated as "inverted bowl" or "upside-down bowl",[4] a local interpretation of a Chinese dish which is composed of rice and vegetables at the base, a layer of meat or shrimp and a fried egg as a dish topping[10]), and many others.[13][12][14]

Furthermore, Chinese and other Asian restaurants are present all around the island, and offer a variety of chicken, squid, beef and fish dishes, most typically prepared in black bean sauce or oyster sauce.[5] Mauritian families often consider a dinner at an Asian restaurant as a treat.[5]

Indian influences[edit]

Following the abolition of slavery, Indian workers who migrated to Mauritius during the 19th century brought their cuisine with them.[5] Those indentured labourers came from different parts of India, each with their own culinary tradition, depending on the region.[5] Traces of both northern and southern Indian cuisine can be found in Mauritius.[5] As they are the majority population in Mauritius, they are largely contributed for making rice the staple dish.[1] Indian-Mauritian dishes, condiments, and desserts include:

  • Vegetables archard- made of shredded cabbage, carrots, beans and cauliflowers which are cooked with garlic and onions.[10]
  • Byriani (also known as briani or brié)[14] - a popular street food.[10] It is of Mughal origins and is typically prepared by the Muslims community in Mauritius.[5]
  • Chapattis,[5]
  • Chutney(satini)(including chilli-coconut chutney),[10][5]
  • Curry (called "carri") - The Indian migrants and their descendants had a big influences on Mauritian curries.[2] It also includes the "Sept-caris", which is traditionally served during Indian weddings in Mauritius.[14]
  • Dholl puri[5] - flat-pancake looking dish which is cooked and stuffed with yellow split peas, which is served with tomato sauce and pickles,[10]
  • Farata,[5]
  • Gâteau piments (lit. "chilli cakes") - a variant of Indian vadai.[5][4]
  • Gato brinzel - egg plant cakes.[1]
  • Gulab Jamun,[5][18]
  • Sultalfine (known as Sutarfeni in India)
  • Ghantia
  • Pickles,[5]
  • Poutou[14] - not to be confused with the Sino-Mauritians "putou chinois" or "poutou rouge" (i.e. fa gao).
  • Rasgulla.[4]
  • Roti,[5]
  • Salted fish rougaille,[5]
  • Samosa - usually stuffed with pea and potato and flavoured with spices,[4]

Mauritian Creole cuisine[edit]

The creole cuisine is eaten by every Mauritians and has its influences from African, Indian, and French cuisine.[19] Creole cuisine in Mauritian include dishes and condiments such as:

  • Creole rougaille (a spicy tomato sauce with meat or fish) which shows African heritage of the dish.[10] The rougaille can also be found as plain tomato rougaille which can be served as side dish.[19]
  • Vindaye - deep fried fish coated with ground mixture of turmeric, mustard seeds, ginger and chillies.[19] Octopus can also be used instead of fish; the octopus is blanched instead of fried.[19]

Alouda is a delicious cold beverage made with milk, basil seeds and agar-agar jelly which is especially refreshing on a hot summer day.

Rougaille or rougail is one of the classic Mauritian dishes that everyone on the island loves. It is essentially a tomato-based dish, with incredibly rich flavours thanks to the combination of spices used.

Common dishes and snacks[edit]

Chinese noodles (fried or boiled). Well-known restaurant for boiled noodles; At Shantilal Snack - Bassin, Quatre Bornes, fried rice ("diri frir"), "bol renversé", "boulettes" (i.e. fish balls, vegetables and meat balls in broth), haleem ("halim"), "bryani" (also written as "briani" and sometimes called "brié"), "dholl puri" served with tomato sauce and pickles, curry, including "sept caris", are popular form of dishes for the Mauritians regardless of their ethnicity.[10][12][14][20]

Mauritian Chilli fritters, also known as Gato piment.

Mauritius is known for its sauces and curries.[1] The rougaille (also written as "rougay") is a tomato sauce cooked with onions, garlic, chillies, ginger and variety of spices, which is popular; it can be eaten with fish, meat and vegetables.[1][2][12][14] The Mauritian curries are unique as they rarely contains coconut milk, typically uses European herbs (e.g. thyme), and uses more variety of meat (e.g. duck) and seafood (e.g. octopus).[2]

Another popular dish is "vinnday" (or "vindaye")[19] which is made of vinegar, mustard seeds, and turmeric.[1]

Other common preparations are chutney, archard, and pickles.[10] The Mauritian versions of curry, chutney, rougaille, and pickles have a local flavour and differ, at times considerably, from the original Indian recipes.[5]

The "merveilles" is a popular street food which eaten with "satini" (i.e. a form of chutney) or "mazavarou" (i.e. a form of red chilli sauce).[14]

"Gato brinzel" (i.e. eggplants cake) is of Indian origins and is a popular snacks.[1]

"Gato piment" (or "gâteaux piments" in French; i.e. split-pea cakes with chili) and Samosas are also popular.[10]

Desserts and pastries[edit]

Napolitaine cake from Mauritius

Poudine maïs[edit]

"Poudine maïs" (lit. translated as "corn pudding"), also known as polenta pudding, is a sweet dessert which is well-liked and well-known among Mauritians.[21] It is often served as a tea time snack.[21] The creole community is known for their corn pudding.[1]

Glaçon rapé[edit]

It is form of popular ice cream made of shaved ice and flavoured with varieties of syrup flavour, such as vanilla, strawberry, almonds, and pineapples.[14]


They are made of two sablé biscuit, jam, and coated with sugar.[14] They originated in Mauritius and are a local pastry despite their French name.[14]

Gateau Patates[edit]

It is a small cake in the form of a crescent. The dough is made up of boiled sweet potato(patates), flour and sugar. Once the dough is kneed, it is flattened and cut down into small circles which are then filled with grated coconut and sugar. The circles are then closed which ultimately gives the form of the crescent. These are then deep fried in oil and can either be served hot or cold.[citation needed]



Alouda is a sweet, cold beverage made with milk, basil seeds ("tukmaria") and slices of coloured agar-agar jelly which is especially refreshing on a hot summer day.[14][10] It can be found in different flavours, such as almond or vanilla.[14][10] It is a popular drink.[10]


The national beer is Phoenix, which has been produced since the 1960s.[6]

Green Island[edit]

Green Island is a popular alcoholic drink.[1] It is manufactured in Mauritius, and is a variety of rum. People in Mauritius usually drink this beverage with cold Sprite and a piece of lemon.

Mousse noir[edit]

It is literally translated as "black jelly"; it is a cold drink of Chinese origins made of grass jelly in water and sugar or syrup water.[13][22]


Rum from Mauritius

It was during the French and English administration that sugar production was fully exploited, which considerably contributed to the economic development of the island.[citation needed]

François Mahé de Labourdonnais was the first person to support the development of rum industry in Mauritius.[7] And when Mauritius became a British colony, the plantation economy was mainly sugar cane.[7] It was Dr. Pierre Charles François Harel who in 1850s initially proposed the concept of local distillation of rum in Mauritius.[7] Mauritius today houses four distilleries (Grays, Medine, Chamarel and St Aubin) and is in the process of opening an additional three.[citation needed]


Panacon is a cold beverage prepared in religious ceremonies like cavadee. It is made with tamarind, sugar, lemons and cardamon.

Tea and coffee[edit]

Tea and coffee are the most common types of beverages.[1][10] Tea and coffee is locally produced in Mauritius.[10] The teas produced in Mauritius are often flavoured with vanilla.[10] Bois Chérie tea is a popular, local tea brand on the island.[6]

Dishes with dodos[edit]

Mauritius was the only known habitat of the now-extinct dodo bird

When it was discovered, the island of Mauritius was the home of a previously unknown species of bird, the dodo. Dodos were descendants of a type of pigeon which settled in Mauritius over 4 million years ago. With no predators to attack them, they lost their need and ability to fly.

In 1505, the Portuguese became the first humans to set foot on Mauritius. The island quickly became a stopover for ships engaged in the spice trade. Weighing up to 50 pounds (23 kg), the dodo was a welcome source of fresh meat for the sailors. Large numbers of dodos were killed for food.

Later, when the Dutch used the island as a penal colony, new species were introduced to the island. Rats, pigs and monkeys ate dodo eggs in the ground nests. The combination of human exploitation and introduced species significantly reduced the dodo population. Within 100 years of the arrival of humans on Mauritius, the once-abundant dodo became a rare bird.[citation needed] The last one was killed in 1681.[23] The dodo is prominently featured as a supporter of the coat of arms of Mauritius.



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