April 4th, 2018
As most of you are very aware the Go to the Maldives team love visiting local island guest houses in the Maldives. One of the many many reasons is for the food. Our team LOVE experiencing foods from different countries and local Maldivian cooking is one you have to experience.
What to expect for breakfast
Depending on where you are staying there may be different options. In most guest houses they usually offer a continental style breakfast which consists of omelette, (chicken) sausages, toast, fresh fruit, maybe some cereals, juice and coffee. For guests who are staying for a week or more they usually offer a local option once a week which typically consists of maashuni and chappati. It’s a tuna ingredient with coconut; to eat the traditional way tear the chappati into pieces and use it to scoop up some masshuni. For our family, it is the only breakfast we ask for in the Maldives.
What to expect for lunch and dinner
If you have a full board option at your guest house you will have a buffet style lunch/dinner which usually consists of some type of rice, maybe pasta/noodles or potato dish, meat or fish, maybe a curry, salad and fresh fruit. The meal will be similar for your evening meal also.
Eating out in the local cafes will give a little more options and also some European dishes including fish and chips and pizza. Fresh fish and seafood dishes tends to be a little more pricey as most fishermen send their stock to the main island in Male for distribution.
Hedika is a traditional snack option in the Maldives. When you go to cafes from about 3pm they offer snack options called 'small eats'. Our daughter often skipped lunch to make sure she has enough room for a big plate of her favourite hedika snacks! She described the food like party snacks!
So you may or may not know that the Maldives is an Islamic country. Many of the women cover up in respect of their religion but they are not forced to, it is their decision. The locals have no problem with international guests visiting their islands but like all countries you visit, it is important that you respect local traditions. So although you don’t have to fully cover as a woman, be respectful and cover below your knee and your cleavage. Also in-line with Muslim religion there is no pork on the menu or alcohol on the local islands. Never fear if you really want to enjoy a few cocktails or beers your local guest house can arrange a trip to a nearby resort where you can spend the day enjoying a few alcoholic beverages.
But with the hot temperatures and many visiting the Maldives for diving and snorkelling, you really don’t want a hangover going on those excursions so it really isn’t missed. Our family favourite is fresh coconut water. If your country is like Ireland you can buy a carton of coconut water for a small fortune!! However you can drink fresh coconut water for as little as $1 and then ask the vendor to open your coconut where you can scoop out delicious soft, succulent coconut. It’s my marguerita for the vacation and it is sooooo good for you!!!
Who to book with?
If you travel with a tour agent like Secret Paradise Maldives they can arrange for a ‘come dine with me’ style meal with a local family. Let me tell you, this is our favourite option. As you can see from the image below a Maldivian meal consists of so many different foods, all added to your plate in small portions. Take your rice and/or chappati and scoop up the delights on your plate. Most hosting families are kind enough to offer a knife, fork and spoon but if you want to go true Maldivian style you will use one hand and eat this way.
There are also what we call the mid range meal options where you can still enjoy a budget vacation but with a hint of luxury added. For example Boutique Beach Hotel. The owner Romney Dury allows her amazing chefs to create what is fresh, what is available and most of all what they want! Every day there is a vast array of delicious dishes, the head chef is from Sri Lanka and creates the most amazing food. Don’t be too fast to ask for the recipe though because many dishes are simply ‘created’ that day so a recipe book is out of the equitation! But I can still taste the lamb dish we had the very first night we arrived and the home made coconut ice cream (which I bought my daughter when we go home from the supermarket and her remarks were ‘well it’s ok but not like Romney’s’!!).
If you have dietary requirements like our family you are in luck, we can suggest guest houses and vacation options that will cater for you at ease. Secret Paradise Maldives and Boutique Beach Hotel are perfect examples of businesses who looked after my gluten free diet with no issues. The only thing was they couldn’t replace hedika but I enjoyed some delicious plates of fresh fruit.
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