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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 25, 2022
Headline for Top Dishes to Try in the Maldives for Foodies at Heart - Popular Local Dishes Food Lovers Should Sample in the Maldives
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Top Dishes to Try in the Maldives for Foodies at Heart - Popular Local Dishes Food Lovers Should Sample in the Maldives

Although the Maldives is world-famous for its stunning beaches and water sports activities, the island nation's local cuisine is another compelling reason to visit the country. Here are some local favourites every traveller must savour during a trip to the Maldives.

1

Garudhiya

Often described as a comfort food that's consumed almost daily in every Maldivian household, Garudhiya is a clear soup that's made using fresh tuna. The slow-cooked broth is aromatic and delicious even though it incorporates only a handful of spices and ingredients including curry leaves, lime juice, salt, turmeric and onions. Eaten on its own with a bowl of rice or roti, it is the perfect pick-me-up at any time of the day.

2

Rihaakuru

This popular side dish for rice and Roshi or Maldivian flat bread also uses fresh tuna fish. Tossed into a mixture that's composed of water and salt, the mixture is stirred without pause on low heat until the contents transform into a thick paste. Often compared to Thai fish sauce or fish paste, this side dish is usually served alongside fried fish and Masmirus.

3

Mashuni

As a regular feature on breakfast buffets at Adaaran Prestige Vadoo and countless other Maldives 5-star hotels, this ubiquitous side dish is perfect for those who love a good Asian sambal. What sets Mashuni apart from other sambals is that instead of using spices and coconut shavings or desiccated coconut, this dish includes crushed tuna fish. Spicy and soft, Mashuni can be eaten with some steamed rice or a flatbread as the lemon, chill flakes and onions in the dish pair well with starch.

4

Muguriha

Vegan and vegetarian diners exploring the culinary offerings of the Maldives will find that a Muguriha curry can liven up just about any meal whether it's rice, roshi or even noodles. Dhal seeds and coconut milk are the main ingredients necessary to prepare this dish which contains only a handful of spices. Milk in flavour, it is ideal for travellers who can't handle the spiciness of Asian cuisine.

5

Bondibaiy

As a dish that's reserved for special occasions and celebrations in the Maldives, Bondibaiy is a sweet rice dish that's infused with rose syrup, sugar and pandan leaves. Although it is sweet in flavour, the Maldivians like to dig into a plate of Bondibaiy with savoury meat dishes such as chicken curry. The type of rice used for this meal is called Aadhaige Handoo, a long grain rice variety that's comparable to Basmati which is now commonly used to prepare this staple at christenings.

6

Fish Curry

As a staple ingredient that's widely available throughout the year, it should come as no surprise that Maldivians have a plethora of fish curries in their native cuisine. Making an appearance at breakfast, lunch and dinner, fish curry in the Maldives is made using a number of fish species that are not limited to tuna. Variations of fish curry are regional specialities as is the Golha Riha fish curry hailing from Laamu Atoll.

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