Mauritian cuisine and restaurants in Mauritius
The traditional base of Mauritian cuisine is definitely the curries and “rougailles” but instead of cooking and serving it the Indian way, they are simplified and commonly served with white rice and other beans. Mauritians of all origins have definitely adopted this combination in their everyday food and for many Mauritians of European origin it is the traditional Sunday treat that is looked forward to.
In restaurants, the Creole food consists mainly of this same combination of saucy Indian dish with rice, but further adapted to European palates in the sense that it is even less spicy, thus less tasty than in homes. There are now several small village restaurants serving authentic Indian or authentic Creole food.
During daytime, eating on the street-sides or in small restaurants (called hotels) is common practice in Mauritius as these are often the tastiest dishes of all. Also widespread now are trolleys serving Chinese broths and noodles as well as “boulettes” (stuffed rice buns in a broth).
For those who like trying out exotic / Creole / Indian foods, eating from street merchants is by far the most economical option. The nutrition is quite balanced and the food filling. The hygiene of course is below the borderline but not any worse. A full meal (standing on the street side) will cost around 35 Rupees (0,90 Euros) per person excluding the tablet for stopping the stomach burns.
There are little alternatives within these low budgets as European types of fast foods such as hamburgers and paninis can be found only in towns and shopping malls. This type of food costs around 100 and 250 Rupees (2,50 and 6,30 Euros.)
The next cheapest alternatives are the Chinese restaurants generally with a few red Formica tables and chairs under a veranda. They serve delicious Chinese and Creole food at very low costs and although the hygiene is not what it should be, it is okay to eat in these places avoiding shrimps, seafood and red meat. These would cost between Rs. 300 and Rs. 500 (7,50 Euros and 12,50 Euros). Most of these places serve cold drinks and beer.
Then come the disguised village restaurants. In most cases, these started as real people's restaurants but with superior quality of food. They were discovered by some tourists who have spread out the word to their friends and are now “famous sweet spots”.
Although hygiene might still be on the borderline, they are within the authorities norms. On the bright side, the turnover is generally sufficient to ensure that products served are fresh. In most cases, the crockery, cutlery and set up are kitsch and the room often hot and crowded; this adds to their interest, as they are a journey to the roots of Mauritius. The food is often better than in more established restaurants at more affordable prices. However the most renown of them can be on the expensive side. A full meal in such places would cost between Rs. 400 and Rs. 800 (bet. 10 and 20 Euros).
The restaurant business in Mauritius has evolved positively in the past decade, thanks partly to the establishment of expats. on the island, both as professionals, ready for hard work, and as clientèle bringing more regular volumes. Mauritius now counts several good addresses for cuisine and atmosphere, including outstanding ones, some run by renowned chefs having had experience in French restaurants ranked in the world- famous “Guide Michelin”.
Restaurants in Mauritius are generally on the expensive side as there is not enough volume all year-round to allow economies of scale. Alcohols and wines are largely over-priced due to severe import & excise duties.
Dining at the villas
The maids working at the villas can prepare good local food; some are good cooks. Although they have too much to do on the cleaning & washing side, they can prepare one meal a day, within their working hours or in prolongation. Unless this service is specifically included in the rental, cooking services are generally paid directly to the maid in the form of overtime pay.
More and more, our guests make arrangements with the maids to have fresh fish supplied. The maids also accompany them to the local markets or supermarket. It makes the buying of local vegetables and spices easier and it's a lot of fun for both the maids and the guests, a voyage inside the local people's lives. This service is always on extra.
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