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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Maldives Food and Drink - Sample Some of the Iconic Beverages and Dishes of Maldives
Joanna James Joanna James
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Maldives Food and Drink - Sample Some of the Iconic Beverages and Dishes of Maldives

The Maldivian cuisine is heavily influenced by its geographical location and thus, features many fish dishes such as Kavaabu, Mashuni and Garudhiya. It also features unique drinks like Sai and Raa.


Bis Keemiyaa and Kavaabu: Maldivian Snacks

Bis Keemiya refers to a native kind of samosa, a snack that is popular in the South Asian region. Bis Keemiya comes with a savoury filling prepared by combining onions, shredded cabbage and a hardboiled egg, encased in a flaky crust which is achieved by deep frying. Kavaabu is another snack, which is also deep-fried but is made with other ingredients such as rice, lentils, coconut, and tuna. The Maldives is also home to several traditional snacks, which are known generally as Hedhikaa.


Sai: Maldivian Tea

Given that the cluster of islands is quite close to Sri Lanka, an island that is well known globally for its 'Ceylon tea', the Maldivian islands have their own alternative known as 'Sai'. Sai is a very popular drink amongst the locals. It is also consumed with a Haveeru Sai i.e. a tea snack, between around 4-6 in the evenings.


Mashuni and Roshi: Flatbread and Fish

Given that the Republic of Maldives is made up of twenty-six atolls hosting over one thousand islands, it is unsurprising that the cuisine of the country is heavily influenced by its geographical location and thus, features a large number of fish dishes. One such breakfast dish, therefore, is Mashuni which is a tuna dish. Coconut, again another ingredient found in abundance in the Maldives, is mixed with onions and chilli and combined with mashed tuna when preparing Mashuni. This dish is usually served with Roshi, which is flatbread and is ordinarily consumed as a breakfast dish.


Raa: The Closest Alternative to Alcohol

Raa is a drink that is prepared from toddy. Once toddy is tapped from the numerous palm trees on the islands, the tapped toddy is left to ferment over time. When it ferments, the toddy becomes alcoholic. Thus, the drink is known as Raa effectively refers to fermented toddy and is the closest alternative to alcohol in the Maldives because alcohol is not sold in the Maldivian islands. However, tourists will be glad to note that many resorts such as Naladhu Private Island Maldives have their own liquor license and are licensed to sell alcohol. Outside these Maldives luxury resorts, however, Raa is the closest a drink comes to being alcoholic.


Garudhiya: Fish Soup

As noted before, fish features prominently in the Maldivian cuisine due to the geographical location of the country. If you visit the Maldivian Fish Market located in Malé, you will see how prominent the fishing industry is. When at the Fish Market, make sure to try the fish soup known as Garudhiya. Prepared with onions, chillies and lemon juice, Garduhiya is a delicious fish broth.


Thelui Mas and Dhon Riha: Fish Dishes

Other fish dishes include the Thelui Mas which is the preparation of fish such as grouper, job-fish and swordfish in a spicy manner. Dhon Riha refers to another favourite tuna dish. This dish is prepared as a curry which is made with cinnamon, mango, coconut and sugar.