Maldives have long proved popular among holidaymakers and it's not hard to see why. These coral islands in the Indian Ocean boast natural beauty and cultural richness in equal measure, and they are the perfect destination for gastronomes. The country embraces visitors from all around the globe and its dishes reflect this international feel.
Maldivian cuisine features strong influences from neighboring countries, including India and Sri Lanka. For example, there are plenty of curries on offer in this idyllic vacation spot. Locally, these dishes are referred to as riha and they are often accompanied by roshi, a type of flatbread. However, as well as drawing inspiration from elsewhere, food in the Maldives has its own distinctive flavor. Food here has a sweetness and tang, and a milder spiciness. In general, the culinary creations served up on the islands have an exotic character that perfectly befits the tropical surroundings.
Unsurprisingly given the abundance of coastline, fish constitutes a major part of Maldivian cuisine and it is typically fried, curried or steamed. Meanwhile, rice, lime, chillies and onions tend to feature in most meals and coconut is another major ingredient. The white flesh and milk of coconuts adds a creamy note to many dishes.
If you're lucky enough to take a trip to this part of the world, it's well worth ordering kulhi boakibaa. This is a local fish cake and it makes a great snack food. Traditionally produced using tuna and coconut, these edible delights have a spicy edge. Another tasty treat is gulha. Like kulhi boakibaa, this is a snack rather than a main meal and it features a filling of smoked fish, coconut, curry leaves, onion, ginger, lemon, turmeric, chili and salt. This is stuffed into a dough made from coconut and flour and then deep fried. Meanwhile, bajiya are another must-try. These triangular items look similar to Indian samosas, but they are stuffed with fish, onion, curry powder and curry leaves.
No trip to the Maldives is complete without plenty of curries and egg versions are among the most popular and least expensive. Recipes differ from region to region, but all of these dishes come with a tasty, thick sauce. It's also well worth ordering bambukeylu hiti. This is a breadfruit curry and it is difficult to find similar concoctions outside of the islands. The recipe combines the fruit, which is a popular ingredient among locals, with coconut milk.
Whichever dishes you sample while vacationing on these islands, one thing's for sure. You won't leave hungry.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post
Photo Credits: Flickr Creative Commons
Images by Sarah_Ackerman