Maldives is known for its unbeatable beauty, from its white pristine beaches to crystal clear waters and the wonders of nature. Not much is known, however, of Maldivian cuisine which is an eclectic mix of different cultures.

As the Maldives is nestled near Sri Lanka and India, the food and drink is heavily- influenced by these two cuisines as well as slight Arabic flavours. Maldives however also has its own unique identity given the centuries of trade in the islands, and is mostly dominated by ingredients such as fish, coconut and spices. Here’s a guide to the food and drinks in Maldives:

Try These Popular Local Dishes

Whether you are in a resort, a guesthouse, roadside stall or restaurant, look out for these local dishes:

Garudhiya (fragrant fish soup): A staple for locals, this fragrant fish soup contains dried and smoked fish, cooked with chillies, onion and lemon juice. It’s both refreshing and flavourful at the same time! You can eat this with rice and often with hand for the best culinary experience.

Mas Riha (fish curry): Another staple that uses fish but is creamier and spicier. This is often eaten with rice or roshi (flatbread) and has many variations depending on what fish you are looking for. Skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna and mahi-mahi are popular fish curries to have!

Mas Huni: Popular breakfast food containing shredded smoked Tuna served with coconut, lemon and onion. It’s also eaten with roshi and is a must try food item in Maldives!

Bis Keemiya (Samosa): A combination of a samosa and a spring roll, bis keemiya is more a snack and side dish. Stuffed with hardboiled eggs, onion and sauteed cabbage, and sometimes with tuna, this flaky flavourful goodness is a must try food item in Maldives! You will definitely find yourself craving for more once you’ve tried it.

Boshi Mashuni (salad): Made with banana flowers, this salad is both tangy and crunchy which makes it somewhat a salsa and salad combined. Made from flowers from banana trees, they are blanched and shredded, then added with fresh coconut, spices, lime and chillies. This salad is truly unique to the Maldives and is a great starter as it really opens up your appetite for more!

Sago Bondibai: Sagos are an important staple for the Maldivians’ diet and that’s because these starchy glutinous balls are packed with nutrients! You will find them most commonly in desserts, served with warmed coconut milk, cardamom and creamy condensed milk. The flavours are both subtle and unique, which makes this dish so enticing and addictive! Truly a great way to end a good meal.

Drinks in Maldives

Similar to the exotic flavours of the food in Maldives, the drinks selection is equally broad and pleasing to the palate:

Sai (tea): Tea is a common drink whether as a tea-time delight or to end a meal. You can choose either kalhu sai (black tea) or kiru sai (milk tea) and enjoy them with sweet or savoury snacks.

Maldivian Lady (alcoholic): A welcoming combination of tropical and fruity flavours, this cocktail contains white rum, apricot brandy, orange and pineapple juice. The perfect drink for a sunny day at the beach!

Biyadhoo Special (alcoholic): Fruity cocktails are most popular here in Maldives. This drink is named after an island and contains both alcohol and fresh juices. One part vodka, one part pineapple juice and two parts melon liqueur, this refreshing drink is served with a crunchy slice of pineapple and is sure to delight you!

General Tips

Best to drink bottled water as the tap water is not safe for consumption.

Tipping is not compulsory as a 10% service charge will be added already anyway but anything extra is always appreciated!

Local Maldivians do not consume alcohol as they are Muslims, though alcoholic drinks are widely available in resorts and restaurants. However, you may find it hard to find alcohol on public islands.

Guests at Club Med Kani Maldives would be pleased to know that we offer cooking lessons that combine the best of Maldivian cuisine if you’d like to learn how to whip up these amazing dishes. Otherwise, visit our restaurants and bars to get a sample of these tasty dishes!

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