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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 07, 2023
Headline for 7 Delicious and Famous Dishes That You Must Try in the Maldives
Joanna James Joanna James
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7 Delicious and Famous Dishes That You Must Try in the Maldives

Best known for its white, sandy beaches and water sports activities, Dhivehi cuisine is not the main reason that tourists head to the Maldives. Here are 7 local treats that may make you want to return to the paradise isles just for the local cuisine.



If there was a dumpling dish that locals and expats relish, it is none other than the humble Gulha. Featuring a filling that's infused with grated coconut, tuna dish, onions and chillies, these crispy treats are crunchy and succulent. Deep-fried to perfection, the dough that surrounds the fish filling is made using either rice flour dough or wheat flour dough. Local chefs also like to add a few spices to add flavour to the dumpling by infusing curry leaves, turmeric powder, and lime juice. Usually consumed as a snack, it pairs well with any warm beverage including tea and coffee.


Saagu Bondibai

Also called and listed as Sago Pudding on most restaurant menus, this is perhaps the most popular dessert during times of celebrations in local households. Sago, which is known for its cooling properties, is the chief ingredient of this dish which includes coconut milk, condensed milk, and cardamom among its chief ingredients. Laced with rose water and creamy in texture, the dessert is the ideal treat to cool off after a sightseeing tour in Male.



As an indispensable commodity that's used in every Maldivian kitchen without exception, this aromatic fish paste is used in the preparation of several classic dishes and is produced locally. As a by-product of tuna processing, the thick and brown paste is easy to make even at home as it utilises the scraps of fish that separate from fish cubes during the boiling process. Rihaakuru is so pungent and delicious that locals like to eat it on its own with rice or a chapatti. Some manufacturers in the Maldives offer Rihaakuru infused with chillies, curry leaves, and onions.



Also called Fragrant Fish Soup, this hearty broth is considered the ultimate comfort food for Maldivians living overseas. Made with fresh tuna, the dish is slow cooked over a low flame using only a handful of ingredients including curry leaves, garlic, chilli, and onions.


Reef Fish Cutlets

As a snack that one is likely to come across when dining in the Maldives, reef fish cutlets are staples at hotel buffets at Grand Park Kodhipparu and restaurant menus. Crispy and delicious, it is the perfect snack in the afternoon.


Mas Huni

Considered a sambal that's a part of a traditional Maldivian breakfast, Mas Huni is made every day in homes all across the Maldives. Paired with rice or flatbread, this fresh sambal features smoked tuna, grated coconut, chillies and onions while some chefs also like to toss in Moringa pods for more nutritional value.


Bis Keemiya

Affectionately dubbed the Maldivian samosa, Bis Keemiya is a pastry that's stuffed with shredded cabbages, hard-boiled eggs, and onions. Light and delectable, it is available via street food vendors in Male.

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