You only have to visit Mauritius once to realize that there’s nothing quite as diverse as Mauritian cuisine. Because the island seamlessly gathers cultures from all around the world, you can expect to sample an interesting medley of international and local concoctions, with distinctive Chinese, Indian and Creole spins.
It’s no secret that Mauritians like to eat. Which may probably explain why you’ll undoubtedly see stalls of food just about everywhere on the island during your holiday in Mauritius. It’s also interesting to note the vibrant blend of history and culture that’s often reflected in the island’s street food. Not to mention that it’s far less consuming to chow down some street snacks in-between sightseeing than to eat at a restaurant, especially if you’re in a rush.
And if you’re worried about which street food in Mauritius to try first, here’s a list of my personal favorites:
Soak in the tropical freshness
If there’s one thing you can always get in Mauritius, it’s an abundance of fresh produce. A visit to one of the many scenic beaches in Mauritius wouldn’t be considered complete without buying one of the ultra-popular fresh fruit cups, with or without a dash of sweet tamarind sauce and sprinkled with plenty of chili salt. Or lie back in the sunshine while you nibble on fresh pineapple slices, again coated in that famous chili salt.
Best of all, you’ll find these distinctively tropical snacks just about anywhere on the island, including the famous bazars, or craft markets, in the capital city of Port-Louis.
Tip from an insider: never, ever hesitate to ask for some extra tamarind sauce. Trust me on that.
Now, if you’re planning a holiday in Mauritius between the months of November and February, you might just be lucky enough to sample the fruits that everyone- locals and tourists alike- spend a whole year waiting for. I am talking, of course, about the highly-coveted Mauritian litchis and longans (also known as Dragon’s Eye in some parts of the world). Personally, I like to let these intensely fleshy fruits chill overnight before sinking my teeth into their juicy sweetness on a hot blazing day. Mangoes are also end-of-year staples in Mauritius, and you’ll be able to purchase them completely ripe (I love to add these to smoothies), or semi-ripe, which hits just the right sweet and sour notes.
And of course, no tropical fruit platter would be complete without refreshing slices of watermelon. Like pineapple, this fruit is commonly sold in slices just about anywhere on the island.
Yes, fresh is always better but did you know that Mauritians adore pickled and stewed fruits as well? Ask just any local to point you out to the nearest ‘fruit confit’ seller and take the time to sample the exquisitely moreish pickled olives, caramelized berries or sweet slices of stewed mangoes.
You can’t wrap up your holiday in Mauritius without dedicating at least one day to explore the shockingly diverse street food on the island. Let me break down some of the more popular ones for you:
- Dholl Puri
Please don’t be one of those people who takes a holiday in Mauritius and returns without the faintest inkling of what a Dholl Puri is. If you ask me, everyone should experience this glorious blend of flavors and textures at least once. Not to mention that this is practically the official street food of Mauritius. Served in pairs, the Dholl Puri basically consists of two exceptionally soft and fluffy wraps stuffed with crushed yellow lentils and filled with a tangy red sauce as well as a tablespoon or two of curried beans. The green chilli mixture is optional but if you like spicy food, I would certainly recommend it. One of the best comfort food that I’ve ever tasted, a pair of Dholl Puri costs less than a dollar!
My personal favorite is a warm, fluffy pair of Dholl Puri from the iconic Dewa & Sons vendor, whose stalls can be found all over Mauritius.
- Gateau Dilwil (Aka, fried, battered snacks)
Not the healthy option for sure. But boy, talk about biting into a swooning mouthful of spicy fluffiness. Mauritians do like their fried stuff, which might be why fried dumplings- of all sorts, really- can be found in every market all across the island. My personal recommendation would be the world-famous fried split pea croquettes, locally known as gateau piment. With a rough, crunchy exterior and delightfully soft interior, these are best enjoyed piping hot and can cost around 50 cents for three pieces.
Other options in terms of fried street snacks include battered bread or fried taro balls which have the same outer texture as gateau piment, but a completely different assortment of flavors inside. Fried plantains (green bananas)- also known as banana chips on the island- are also extremely popular and can be found in just about any supermarket in Mauritius.
I’ll never forget the very first time I had a glass of Alouda. I was six or seven and I’d been dragged all across the overly hot and humid market of Port-Louis by my mother to shop for new school uniforms and supplies for the new academic year. It was smack dab in the middle of summer on a tropical island so I’ll let you venture a guess as to how uncomfortable it was to press through the throngs of zealous shoppers! I’d been complaining for a solid hour when we finally came to a halt in front of a stall that read Alouda Pillay in bold letters. I wasn’t tall enough to see what it was serving but seconds later, mom pressed a surprisingly cold glass into my hands. Condensation had already formed on the outside, so gloriously cool was the beverage. A peek into the glass showed me that it was some kind of pink-colored milk, with tiny black seeds and grated jelly floating about, all of that topped by a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I hesitantly brought the glass to my lips and became an instant convert.
Trust me when I say there’s not a strong enough word to describe that almost overwhelming sense of freshness that hits you when you take that very first sip of Alouda on a hot summer’s day in Mauritius. Sweet, without being overly so, and served as chilled as possible without any ice formation, this beverage comprises of fresh and condensed milk for a creamier texture. Basil seeds and grated jelly are added, along with an optional scoop of ice cream. And not only is this beverage readily available- both in street markets and supermarkets alike- but it’s extremely cheap with a glass costing around $0.50 or less.