Top 15 Street Food to Enjoy in Mauritius

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: holidays.airmauritius.com

Mauritius has inherited from the cuisines of both its colonisers and its immigrants. It took from all these cuisines to become what is known today as the ‘Mauritian Cuisine’. The local food here is a real potpourri: Indian dishes, Chinese and Japanese dishes, Italian food, etc – all of them cooked with a ‘Mauritian twist’.

Dholl puri also called Dal Puri – Savoury

Mauritius street food

A flatbread stuffed with yellow split peas (Daal) and usually eaten with lima beans curry, some rougaille (tomatoes braised in oil, onions, thyme, garlic/ginger, salt) and some chillis. There are many ‘dal puri’ vendors on the street and it is sold at affordable prices.

 

 

 

 

 

Gateau Piment – Savoury

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: Global Table Adventure

Called ‘chilli cakes’, these are in fact, daal cakes! They are made with yellow split peas, ground into a paste and mixed with chilli, salt, spring onion, shaped into balls and fried in hot oil. It can also be eaten with bread as a ‘light’ lunch.

 

 

 

 

Halim – Savoury  

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: Cannelle et Cardamome

A soup, made with lentils, spices, beef or mutton, and some wheat. Sometimes, yellow split peas are also added and this soup; it can be eaten with some bread and chilli paste!

 

 

 

 

Boulette­Savoury

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: l’express.mu

Steamed balls made with chayote or even with fish served in a soup. Very popular with locals.

 

 

 

Mine frit – Savoury

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: recette-ile-maurice.com

Fried noodles in a ‘Mauritian style’, served with beef or chicken.

 

 

 

 

 

Briani – Savoury

Mauritius Street Food

Tash Briyani from Perth

Traditional rice dish, made usually with beef, chicken and fish. It can also be made with lamb, mutton or other meat products, or even with only vegetables. Unlike the ‘Indian’ briani, the Mauritian one is not too spicy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macatia coco – Sweet

A sweet bun filled with coconut and sugar. Macatia coco is usually sold by a vendor on a bike and who calls out for customers as he rides by either honking or shouting at the top of his voice “maacaatiaaa cocoooo’!!!

Mauritius Street Food

 

 

 

 

 

Poutou – Sweet

Steamed ground rice, coated with desiccated coconut.

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: recette-il-maurice.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poudine Mais – Sweet

Mauritius Street Food

Mais means corn and ‘poudine’ is a pudding. ‘Poudine Mais’ is Corn powder cooked with some water and sugar; raisins and desiccated coconut can be added.

 

 

Gateau Patate – Sweet

Mauritius street food

Mum in law’s Gateau Patate

A sweet potato fritter made by boiling sweet potato, crushing it and mixing it to some flour; then the ‘dough’ is flattened and cut into round shapes. The ‘circles’ are filled with desiccated coconut and sugar, then folded to form semi-circles and fried in hot oil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confits – Savoury

Mauritius street food

Photo: ibolo.mu

Unlike the French confit, the Mauritian ‘confit’ consists of fruits like mango, pineapple, tamarind kept for a few days in some water and vinegar with salt. This is usually eaten with chilli salt and/or chilli paste. And trust me, it is chilli hot!

 

 

 

 

Napolitaine – Sweet

Mauritius Street food

Photo: mysweetmauritius.blogspot.co.uk

Unique to Mauritius, the ‘Napolitaine’ forms part of what the locals call “Gateau Francais” — French cakes. These are in fact french pastries but adapted to the local taste.

Very easy to make, Napolitaines consist of two shortbread biscuits sandwiched together with some jam and covered with pink icing sugar. Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gateau de l’huile – Savoury

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: indian-ocean.com

Fritters made by coating vegetables with ground chickpeas (besan flour) and deep frying in oil. Popular ones are made using sliced potatoes, bread, aubergine. Gateau de l’huile (oil cakes) also include gateau piment and samoosas.

 

 

 

Gateau Doux – Sweet

Mauritius Street FoodTranslated as ‘sweet cakes’, these are sweets usually made with gram flour, milk powder, condensed milk, sugar and almond, rose, or vanilla essence. Some popular ‘gateau doux’ are ‘Mawa Samoosa’, ‘barfi’, ‘laddoo’, ‘gulab jamun’, ‘rasgoulla’, ‘sutalfine’.

 

 

Alouda – Sweet

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: ailgingembre.blogspot.com

Sweet milk flavoured with rose syrup and served chilled with some tukmaria seeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are numerous other street food in Mauritius like the ‘Poudine Vermicelle’ (Vermicelli Pudding), the ‘Poudine Manioc’ (Tapioca Pudding), ‘Merveille’, ‘Gateau Arouille’ among others.

Do you know any other popular Mauritian street food?

 

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Holidays in Mauritius with a Toddler (Part 1/3)

Mauritius

Mauritius

 

Mark Twain, after his visit in 1896, quoted an islander as saying: “Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius”. Mauritius is known as a “Paradise Island”. Although at first I did not quite understand why, with time I have come to realise that Mauritius is indeed a paradise island.

Mauritius is a democratic state, located approximately 2000 kilometres to the south eastern coast of Africa and lies east of Madagascar on 20°5, 57.5E. It has an area of 1865km with 330 kilometres of coastline. Mauritius is 45km in width and 65km in length. Discovered in 1505 by the Portuguese, the island was occupied successively by the Dutch (1598-1712), the French (1715-1810) and the British (1810 to 1968). On 12 March 1968, Mauritius became independent. Republic Day was proclaimed on 12 March 1992.

The local cuisine has therefore inherited from a melting pot of immigrants to the island, mainly from Europe, East Africa and India. In Mauritius it is normal to eat some daal just like it would be normal to eat a croissant, a baguette, a pizza, some fried noodles, some briani and drink some tea, an ‘alouda’ or a cappuccino.

Eventhough the last colonisers of the island were the British, French language was still widely used. Settlers who decided to stay were allowed to keep both their language and religion. The ‘Code Napoleon’ forms part of the Mauritian law and French is still widely used, much more than the English language. For example, most newspapers are in French, the main news bulletin is in French, and the language is more widely spoken by the population than English.

The Mauritian population consists mainly of people of Indian descent who follow mostly Hinduism and Islam. According to the 2001 census by Statistics Mauritius, the major religion is Hinduism (48.5%), then Christianity (32.7%), followed by Islam (17.3 %) and Buddhist (0.4%).

The island is politically stable and people are free to practice their religion. There are numerous mosques, temples, churches and other praying places which can also at times be seen side by side or on the same street.

The local buses are quite reliable and it is the means of transport of many locals. A big percentage of the population also owns a car, adding to the heavy traffic jam mainly in the mornings and afternoons. The roads can be quite narrow in certain areas, plus at times a driver will have to try to drive his way through pedestrians, motorbikes, bicycles and some stray dogs!

I still find it very funny when I think of one of my colleagues in Australia who was surprised that Mauritius had roads and cars!!! Yes readers, Mauritius has both roads and cars. Recently, it has become more and more ‘normal’ to come across cars like Ferraris, Aston Martins, Range Rovers and a few other luxurious cars. And yes, Ive also seen a Lamborghini and a Maserati! For a small island, with only around 1.3 million people, and with no natural resources, this can be quite surprising.

Mauritius has depended on sugar exports for decades but has had to diversify its economy in the last years. Some areas of rising economic activity include agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and finance – particularly banking and business outsourcing. The island is well known for its beautiful beaches and exotic hotels, among which are some world-award winners.

With a beautiful blue sky almost whole year round, a flat income tax rate of 15%, comfortable temperatures whether it’s summer or winter, beautiful beaches, free schools, free hospitals, free transport for students and pensioners, among many other facilities, who wouldn’t want to live in Mauritius?

Places to visit or not to visit

La Croisette – Worth a visit

Shopping Mauritius

Quite modern architecture and layout. Lots of shops with local and international brands. Food court, restaurants and cafes with affordable prices. Regular events. Cinema halls. Clean with play areas for kids. Both lifts and escalators with an underground car park. Easy to use your baby stroller/pram.

Tang Way – Worth the detour

A ‘supermarket’ where you can get almost any product you want – both local and imported. It has its own bakery, pastry shop and you can also buy fresh chicken and fish. Definitely worth going to get a good idea of the local produce and the popular food items with Mauritians.

Zavata Circus – Not sure

Very loud so not advised for young kids. The seating facilities: not comfortable. The price of the ticket doesn’t match the service nor the show you get to watch. A let down.

Bagatelle Mall of Mauritius – Interesting Shopping and Eating Outlets

Mauritius Shopping

mallofmauritius.com

One of the must-visit shopping malls of the island. Very trendy at the moment with Mauritians. Lots to do in terms of shopping (130 shops) and a variety of eating outlets and other services like numerous cinema halls, cafes and restaurants.

Spurs (Bagatelle) – Not sure

I had some time before my daughter’s nap so I thought it would be a great idea to eat at Spurs as my daughter would be able to play in the kids corner and also eat something healthy after. However I wasn’t greeted when I went into the restaurant nor was I advised about the menu. I saw many waiters just standing doing nothing but none of them came to offer their help. After waiting for a while, I called 3 waiters; although each of them acknowledged my presence they didn’t come to take my order. After about 15 minutes wait. I decided to leave.

Jardin Balfour – Simple but nice kids play area

I know Jardin Balfour since I was little and my dad knows it since he was little. It’s been there for a while and even nicer now than it was before. It’s a popular spot with kids particular on Sunday afternoons. I love the giant tortoises, the soothing sound of the flow of the numerous water canals, the beautiful waterfalls, the green scenery, the different chirps of birds. My daughter had a blast chasing the pigeons!

Flic en Flac Beach – So… beautiful

Mauritius Holidays

Mauritius HolidaysOne of the most popular beaches of the island. Great for swimming and beautiful beach. Lots of shops, restaurants, cafes along the Flic en Flac coast. You need to know at what time you are leaving the place and avoid peak time (weekend afternoons) as traffic jam is normal in this area.

Vona Corona Ice Cream Parlour – A must try

This brand of locally made ice cream forms part of the Mauritian culture. Just like Aussies would say, ‘let’s put some prawns on the barbie’, Mauritians would say, ‘let’s have a vona’. Although the local ice cream is an acquired taste, it is a definite must-try similar to the ‘gato piment’ sold on the side of the road.

Jumbo Supermarket – Who doesn’t know Jumbo?

Situated at Phoenix, in the centre of the Island, this supermarket is one of the stops of many locals. It sells ‘almost’ everything. It has recently got an uplift, with many more shops and a much bigger and more varied cuisine in its foodcourt. The ‘Briyani’ is very popular there but so are KFC and Mc Donalds!

Azuri Beach – A must visit

Mauritius Holidays

I love Azuri. It is not only a newly created village with residences for both locals and foreigners but it also has a man-made beach. It is found on the north east coast of the island and is the location for Radisson Blu hotel, a great public café, a butcher shop, a few restaurants among other facilities.

There are many more ‘things to do’ left on my list. Im hoping I can do most of them before I leave Mauritius in a few weeks.

The Museum of Islamic Art, Doha: a Piece of Sculpture.

MIA doha

Photo Credit: Dezeen Magazine

I wondered what this building could be: an old fort? A palace? A government building? It is sand coloured and looked more like a one big block formed by many smaller superimposed blocks to me. What could it be? I only understood its beauty when I visited the Museum of Islamic Art (M.I.A), designed by I.M.Pei, the same architect who designed well known structures like L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, Washington DC, Miho Museum, Japan, the Pyramid at the Louvre Museum, France.

From far, it looks like a few blocks but on approaching the building, you will see more specific forms: the shape of the bridge, the arched windows, and the dome itself. The sand coloured M.I.A is built of limestone from France, granite from the United States, stainless steel from Germany and architectural concrete from Qatar.

MIA Doha

Photo: Dezeen Magazine

MIA Doha

Photo: Dezeen Magazine

The structure is a powerful Cubist composition of square and octagonal blocks stacked atop one another and culminating in a central tower. An esplanade of giant palm trees leads to the island. Inside the museum, 41,000 square feet of galleries are organised around a towering atrium capped by a dome, with a narrow beam of light descending from its central oculus. – The New York Times.

According to The New York Times, I.M.Pei wanted to create a ‘building’, which would reflect the “essence of Islamic architecture”. He travelled a lot and did much research to finally come up with the structure of the MIA.

Islam was one religion I did not know, Mr. Pei said in an interview. So I studied the life of Muhammad [p.b.u.h]. I went to Egypt and Tunisia. I became very interested in the architecture of defense, in fortifications. […] The architecture is very strong and simple. There is nothing superfluous. — The New York Times

What I.M.Pei says reflects exactly what I thought when I first laid eyes on the museum; when you look at the building you see something very simple but it is much more than that. Moreover, the musueum has been built on a stand-alone island on The Corniche, created only for it as per I.M.Pei’s request; he didn’t want any future construction to stand in the view of his unique creation.

MIA Doha

View of the Atrium from the 2nd floor

MIA Doha

Photo: Dezeen Magazine

From outside, one cannot imagine the beauty and immense treasures the museum hides inside. When you walk in, you are immediately struck by the huge size of the atrium, the endless marble spiral staircase and of course the unique circular ceiling light. (Wouldn’t that be a piece of art too?). There is a vast collection of objects on display, some dating from the 7th century. It was interesting to learn that Qatar has deep links to the Persian Culture, to the Safavid and Mughal empires among others. There are also unique pieces from India, China, Egypt, Syria and other countries. I saw some antique pieces which I couldn’t have guessed existed: an old key of the door of the ‘Kaabah’, ancient scriptures of the Quran (written around 7th/early 8th century), ancient tapestry, some pieces of clothes used in ancient times, an Indian jade pendant which belonged to Shah Jahan (the one who built the Taj Mahal for his wife), gold coins and royal seals.

An ‘object’ which really impressed me was a copy of the ‘Shahnameh’, also known as ‘The Book of Kings’. It was written more than one thousand years ago by the Iranian poet, Ferdowsi. It is a long epic poem and considered as the world’s longest epic poetry written by one single poet and also considered as a masterpiece due to its influence on both the Persian language and the Persian culture. Now, to the teacher and poetry lover like myself, this was quite significant! The colours and pictures on display are really amazing and worth seeing.

MIA Doha

Photo: MIA

After a full immersion in Islamic art, you can relax at the M.I.A café which offers a stunning view on the Gulf Sea. The café was designed by the French Phillipe Starck (known for designing Steve Jobs’ yacht and hotels all over the world) and is simple elegance. The staff is professional and the food is exquisite. Children are also well looked after. Finally, you can browse all the items and books for sale in the gift shop. You may find something to your taste. Well … I did.

The entry to the museum is free; there are many parking spaces, free WiFi and free guided tours every Wednesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. and every Saturday at 4 p.m. The museum also organises activities for families which you can find on its website. Once you visit it, may be you too will think like I.M.Pei: the Musueum of Islamic Art itself is “a piece of sculpture”.

5 Days With A Toddler At Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl

Marsa Malaz Kempinski

From Gulf Times

This week my husband had one week off work for the Eid festival. We were thrilled as it meant we could have some family time out! We thought why not enjoy Doha? After having heard lots of positive reviews about Marsa Malaz Kempinski, a 5 star hotel in The Pearl, we decided to try it out with our two-year old. Marsa Malaz Kempinski is located on its own private island in The Pearl, with 150 metres of private beach. Amongst many other facilties, the hotel has several outdoor swimming pools, water sports facilities, tennis courts, a kid’s club, 11 food and beverage outlets, a spa with an indoor pool and 281 spacious rooms, among which some luxurious suites.

On arriving at the hotel, I was quite impressed with the décor; everything smelled of luxury: the extraordinary chandeliers, the unique furniture, the endless marble floors, the high ceilings with unique-designed cornices, the unique coloured roses and orchids. We were greeted by ever-smiling staff and everything was done to make sure we were at ease and enjoy our stay. When I looked at the pictures on the website, I had serious doubts about how the room we booked will look in reality. However I was agreeably surprised when I saw our room: it was way nicer than on the website! It was real luxury. Again, the cushiony carpet, the designer furniture, the unique chandeliers and lights, the Villeroy and Boch bathrooms, the paintings and the special attention (like the fruits and nuts, the flowers, the personalised welcome note). Everywhere I looked in the hotel, I had that impression of cleanliness, of luxury, of caring – or should I say opulence?

Marsa Malaz KempinskiMarsa Malaz Kempinski

An impressive blend of Arabian elegance and European grandeur […] The hotel hosts more than half a million pieces of mother of pearl: 330,000 decorating the walls and 280,000 hand carved into the furniture seen in most of the rooms. 
Another attraction includes the hand-made Murano glass oyster chandeliers from Italy, which took three weeks to assemble all the 44,000 pieces of oysters across four chandeliers exhibited within the hotel’s lobby.
 More than 3,000 pieces of handcrafted glasses and more than 9,000 pieces of handcrafted chinaware were made exclusively for the hotel. — Gulf Times

Spending 5 days in a hotel with a toddler can be challenging but here it seemed like 5 days stay is simply not enough. There are so many things I did with my daughter. We played a lot in the Kid’s Club; the two staff members are very caring and full of ideas to keep kids entertained. The first two Eid days had brunch for the kids with a wide selection of food and drinks. There are activities for all ages but also activities that the club plans as a group and which indeed keep the kids busy! Then, there are the different swimming pools which suit all ages. My two-year old had lots of fun in the very shallow one with other kids her age. We also spent some time at the beach where she made quite a few sand castles and destroyed all the ones my husband made; she enjoyed the warm Gulf Sea water, under the watchful eye of one of the many lifeguards (and mine too!). Although the Gulf Sea water is not the beautiful blue Mauritian sea water, it is still enjoyable.

The breakfast, tea and dinner experience was also exquisite. Each of the hotel’s restaurants has its own speciality; we ate mainly at ‘Sawa’ which I highly recommend. The staff are very caring and the food is one of the best I have eaten in a five star hotel. The breakfast buffet had food for different tastes and the international dinner buffet was sublime: we tasted some exquisite Japanese, Spanish, Indian, Chinese, American, Arabic cuisine with delicious and unique deserts. I’m not much of a desert person but I must admit I had so much desert that Im almost certain of having already put on some weight (and Im not joking!) It was great that the restaurant also has a Kid’s Menu although my toddler enjoyed the selection of food already offered; we also ordered some chips ‘just in case…’. The high tea at Café Murano was another treat to the palate with the exotic sandwiches, cakes, and scones, all served in designer tea sets, with view over the sea. The weather was so beautiful in the afternoon that the view from the huge window panes looked like a painting.

Marsa Malaz Kempinski attended to all our requests and also fixed any issues we had: a reflection of a real five-star hotel. Those were the positives. These are a few things that can still be improved:

  1. There was quite a few honking that could be heard at night, so it might be a good thing for the hotel to have some signs outside to discourage honking. It’s not very pleasant to hear these at night, particularly when you are already in bed!
  2. The Kid’s Club could provide more age-related books and games like for example, age-related wooden puzzles for under 3 years old, some playdough, etc. Maybe these little ones could have a dedicated area only for them, without the TV and the video games.
  3. Some of the staff members can be over zealous leading to some false assumptions on their part. They can surely remain professional without over-doing things.

The hotel is 12.5 km from Hamad International Airport and while you are there if you have some spare time, you could visit Katara Heritage Village (3 km) and/or the Museum of Islamic Arts (9 kms). Five days are over but we are almost certain that we will go back, with our toddler! There were so many other activities which we couldn’t do (some of the timings clashed with my daughter’s nap time); but, as my husband put it so well, “if we want to do everything then we would have to stay for a month at least!” – although I think one month in a hotel might be a bit too much, don’t you?