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Updated by Joanna James on Dec 15, 2019
Headline for 05 Must-try Maldivian ingredients - Staples of the deliciousness of Maldivian cuisine
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Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Must-try Maldivian ingredients - Staples of the deliciousness of Maldivian cuisine

The Maldives isn't all about the sights and the waters and the aquatic life. It is also a great place to try some of the most delicious dishes you are likely to encounter in your entire life.

1

Coconut

Coconut is called "Karumba" in a local tongue. It is one of the most common ingredients in any dish whipped up at all the best restaurants in Maldives. You find the milk from grated coconut in almost all dishes that have a thick gravy, coconut oil in all food that has been deep-fried, and even coconut pieces in some other dishes. You can even drink coconut water, which is a refreshing beverage to have after a hot day in the Sun.

2

Fish

Fish is the shining glory in the top dishes from those served at hotels such as Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives to the random street vendor in Male. There are many types of fish being used in the Maldives from frigate tuna to skipjack tuna to bufeye scad to mahi-mahi to wahoo to mackerel scad. Tuna is by far the most popular and can be served in many ways. It is the main ingredient in the local favourite bajya, a snack that is deep-fried in coconut oil. One of the more traditional breakfast items in the Maldives is dry tuna mixed with coconut, flavoured with chilli and onions.

3

Starches

No dish in the Maldives would come without a starch, often in the form of a tuber. More popular tubers are sweet potato, breadfruit, cassava, and taro. Rice is also popular starch and is usually sourced from the archipelago itself. There are different types of rice. However, unlike Southeast Asia, the cuisine here does not favour sticky rice. Rice can also be served in one of its many variants: ground into flour and made into flatbreads being the most common option. Starch is often the central part of the meal, and other elements are formed around it.

4

Curries

As is the case with most South Asian cuisine, the Maldives also has a soft spot for curries. Curry can be made of a protein like chicken or fish, or from almost any vegetable. There are some curries that combine the protein and vegetables as well. The distinct flavour, colour, and smell of curry are derived from the different spices that are added to the dish. Coconut milk is often the base of a curry, which makes for a thick gravy that can is then soaked with some type of starch.

5

Street Food

There is no point in visiting a country if you dare not try its street food. It is often in Street food where the soul of a country's food is found. In the Maldives, street food are mostly a variety of snacks: bajya, kulhi borkibaal, theluli mas, gulha, and kavaabu being a few favourites. These snacks can be savoury or sweet, and depending can be had as an appetizer, a main-food substitute, or a dessert. Make sure to try different street food, and you are sure to find something that you will fall in love with.

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