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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for Food &Drink in the Maldives: Top 5 Traditional Cuisines & Must Try Dishes  - Discover Island Cuisine
Joanna James Joanna James
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Food &Drink in the Maldives: Top 5 Traditional Cuisines & Must Try Dishes  - Discover Island Cuisine

While the beautiful island nation of Maldives is renowned for its delightfully white sandy beaches and vast expanses of gin-clear waters, its national cuisine too is well worth exploring during your time there. Fresh, spicy, and predominantly seafood based, here are five must-try Maldivian dishes that promise to get you hooked for life on island cuisine.



In the traditional Maldivian home, no breakfast spread is complete without a plate of mashuni being served. Mashuni roughly translates to fish and desiccated coconut – which are the two main ingredients of this dish. The type of fish which is usually used in this dish is tuna. Which is then combined with lashings of chilli, a spritz of lemon, and diced red onions. Mashuni is usually served with the popular flatbread known as roshi. Some locals like to add pumpkin or sponge gourd to add a different twist to this dish. Maldvians also serve sweetened hot tea on the side as a typical accompaniment to this dish. Ideally, mas huni should be served cold in contrast to freshly baked and warm roshi flatbread.


Saagu Bondibai

Also known as sabudana or tapioca pudding, this traditional Maldivian dessert is prepared with condensed milk and coconut milk – which gives the dish its jelly-like consistency and velvet-soft texture. To add to its flavour, many locals include rose essence and cardamom, which ultimately gives it an enticing aroma. Saagu Bondibai can be found on the menu of most Maldives restaurants, especially at those found at resorts such as Kandolhu Maldives.



A beloved fish-based sauce that the locals enjoy with relish every day, rihaakuru is made out of the by-product of tuna. Featuring a sour and tangy flavour, the sauce may vary from rich dark brown to light brown very similar to soy sauce. Rihaakuru is akin to comfort food for Maldivians and is enjoyed as an accompaniment to rice and chapatis.



Love to snack? Then sampling kavaabu should be high on your list.  Best enjoyed with a piping hot cup of tea or coffee. Kavaabu is delightfully soft inside and crispy on the outside and can be served hot or cold. The authentic recipe calls for freshly grated coconut, smoked tuna fish, curry leaves, lentils, and an aromatic mix of Asian spices.


Mas Riha

A rich and flavourful fish curry that is based on the three Maldivian staples of coconut, starch, and fish, mas riha usually includes big chunks of either swordfish or tuna. Other ingredients include coconut milk, onions, ginger, garlic, coconut oil, hot peppers, turmeric, cumin, fennel, cinnamon, salt, and black pepper. To prepare, the fish is added to the pre-prepared aromatic curry sauce and left to cook on a low to medium flame for 30 minutes, After which the fish curry is spooned into bowls and served with rice as an accompaniment. To increase the creamy texture of the curry, consider drizzling a tablespoon of coconut milk on the dish just before digging in.

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