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Updated by Joanna James on Dec 17, 2019
Headline for Must-Try Dishes in the Maldives - A checklist for the first time visitor
Joanna James Joanna James
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Must-Try Dishes in the Maldives - A checklist for the first time visitor

When you are done watching the sunset, or feeling like something local after a long snorkelling trip, the Maldives has dishes that are simply perfect. Here's the top five out of the lot.



Garushiya is one of the staples in local cuisine. It is had by the locals almost every day and comprises of some of the island constants. The dish is a flavoursome fragrant fish soup, that is not spicy at all. The main ingredient is fish, to which water, lime, chilli, onions, and salt is added. A bit of rice is included in some variations, especially when garudhiya is had as a full meal.


Mas Huni

Mas Huni is another local staple but is very popular in any overwater restaurant in the Maldives. The basic ingredient is tuna, which is smoked and shredded. This is then mixed with coconut. Onion and lemon are added to give it zest. Mas Huni is usually served around breakfast time, along with a starch like flatbreads usually in the form of chapathi or rotti.


Bis Keemiya

Bis Keemiya is more of a snack than a main meal and can be found in any street cafe. It is like a cross between a samosa - an Indian savoury snack - and a spring roll. The outer casing of the snack is made of a papery pastry. The stuffing inside is a mix of tuna and hardboiled egg, with onions and cabbage to kick up the flavours. These strange flavours combine in a delightful way to make Bis Keemiya one of the best snacks you can have in the Maldives.


Boshi Mashuni

A simple salad that comprises of the best of everything the Maldives has to offer, you will find this dish even at high-end restaurants found at resorts the likes of Reethi Faru Resort. In essence, it is a salad made of banana flower. If you have not seen a banana flower, it is the furthest one can picture what a flower is. Red and long, almost like a conch shell, the outer layers of the flower can be peeled to reveal the tendrils of banana. These are lightly sautéed to make a crunchy salad, mixed with freshly grated coconut. Fried curry leaves are added for added flavour, and turmeric and cumin give the dish its distinct smell. Some add a bit of lime for a tangy twist, and a sprinkling of Maldivian chilli for that unique burst at each bite.


Fried yams

Another snack that one can grab at any local food store, friend yams are akin to chips. Yams are one of the easily grown crops on the island and are rather cheap. With so many tubers lying around, the locals have had to get creative in the way they consume these. Fried yams are one of the more popular solutions. If done right, these strips of yam would be crunchy at the bite, but mushy inside. They can be had on their own with a little helping of salt and chilli, or with a variety of dipping sauces.