Boasting a rich history, the island of Mauritius has managed to become a leader in the African continent and continues to do so in terms of economy, culture, fashion, and, most recently, sports. However, there is one thing that often goes unnoticed on our rock: the food. Mauritian food is an enticing mixture of different cuisines from a variety of cultures. Mauritian street food, in particular, is a must-try for every tourist or business person visiting the island.
Want to know what’s the best street food in Mauritius? Here are some of my favorite dishes to eat as a local. Check them out and let me know what you think!
Derived from the Indian continent, it is made from yellow split peas that are formed into balls, dunked in a batter, fried in hot oil, and served with tomato chutney. Chutney is an important condiment in the Mauritian diet. It can be bought in lot of 4 for 20, depending on the size of the bottles. If you are visiting the island, then this delicious street food can be found almost anywhere around.
These are the Mauritian version of dim sum. Brought to the island by the Chinese community, they are now widespread in their popularity and are prepared in the homes of almost every Mauritian. Served with a bowl of soup or just as they are, boulettes are quite famous to have during winter because of their warming spiciness. There is a wide variety of boulettes, including those for vegetarian and vegans, and they can also be found frozen in supermarkets. One of the best outlets for boulettes is in Quatre Bornes at Boulette Palace. Ask your driver or hotel staff to guide you to the best boulettes, depending on the region.
Dholl Puri & Roti
These two dishes are a staple food in the Mauritian diet. They are made from yellow split peas and flour, then served with curries. It is a finger food, and it requires no decorum to eat it perfectly. Actually, the messier it is, the better it is in taste. It is found all around Mauritius and prepared by everyone. Dholl Puri can be eaten hot or cold – same for Roti. Roti is served with a variety of curries, depending on the taste. Head to Roti Aka for the best roti and Dewa Dhollpuri for the dhollpuri.
This food can be found anywhere in Mauritius, and by anywhere, I mean anywhere. It is usually eaten with bread and butter with some delicious gato pima stuffed into the bread. An affordable street food at the price of Rs 10 for 5 pieces, gato pima is prepared using yellow split peas, coriander leaves, green chilies, onions, spring onions, and cumin powder. It is preferable to eat gato pima while it’s pipping hot, as it tastes better. This food can also be transformed into a salad and eaten with bread.
Kebab is a relatively new street food in Mauritius, though it is quickly spreading around the island. It is basically marinated skewed meat and vegetables mixed together and served with bread. (Mauritians love bread, if you can’t tell already!) This food can be eaten anytime of the day. And don’t compare it with the kebab that you know from elsewhere; this one has been “Mauritianized”! Shabaan Snack and Gloria Fast Food are some of the famous selling points to have this delectable street food.
This dish is a mix of different seasonal fruits with some chilies, tamarind sauce, and vinegar. It is preferable to eat during summertime, as you get a wider selection of fruits, from mangoes to pineapple. This street food is mostly found near the beaches, as it is one of the best foods to enjoy when near the sea. You can either have it with some salt and chili, or you can have with all the sauces. If you are someone who does not eat spicy food, then it can be altered to a sweet version. It’s definitely worth trying both!
Di pain frire and other gato de l’huile (oily cakes)
This is stale bread dunked in a batter, fried, and served with chutney of any type. It is literally translated to “Fried Bread.” Enjoyed by hundreds of Mauritians everyday, this street food is often sold along with gato pima and other street foods, such as gato lichou, arouille, pomme de terre, and bringel. It is worth trying.
This island-style beverage is the perfect summer drink. Prepared with milk, basil seeds, and agar-agar jelly, this drink is best served cold. Every person on island is fan of this special drink. The best place to have this drink is at the Central Market, Port Louis. Oh, I forgot to mention the best part – there is a scoop full of ice cream that tops each glass.
This street food that takes us islanders down memory lane, especially during our childhood times, when this food was the best ever. Now, it is making its comeback, and boy – it is still just as amazing as it was years ago. This crispy merveille is best served with a tomato chutney and you can have it on any day of the week. Mauritian merveilles are not to be confused with the French merveille, as it is something else there. Though, it has a resemblance with the Indian papad, merveille is a totally Mauritian food.
This is a dish that originates from different several countries throughout the Middle East, India, and Central Asia. Laden with wheat, barley, and lentils, this soup is best eaten during winters. The best thing about this dish is that you can have as it is or with bread. It often has chunks of meat which makes the food even more delicious. It is one of the ultimate comfort food served around Mauritius. Even thought it is best eaten in wintertime, you can definitely find it anytime of the year. There is also vegetarian version of this dish.
This is a traditional Mauritian sweet that is mostly cooked during the festival of lights, Divali. This street food is mostly found where Mauritian foods are sold. It is prepared with sweet potato stuffed with coconut shavings and mixed with sugar. It is best eaten when hot, as it has a crunchy and soft texture that makes it amazing to taste.
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Is street food a popular cultural tradition on your island? If so, what’s your favorite street food dish?