Tauritian cuisine blends the many cultures of the island. A Mauritian might start the day with a continental breakfast of coffee and a French croissant, enjoy Indian food for lunch and end the day with a Chinese meal. Everyone eats Creole food, which is influenced by African, Indian and French cooking styles.

The Indian influence is seen in the use of spices and curries. Curries, known as masala, may be made with meat (usually goat, chicken or mutton), fish or vegetables. They are eaten with rice. Snacks such as samosas (triangular pastries with vegetable fillings) are popular and are sold by street vendors.

Chinese restaurants are found throughout Mauritius. Popular Chinese dishes are fried rice, pork foo yong and sweet and sour fish. A speciality is foong moon choo niouk (red braised pork), which is a stew of pork with rice wine and red rice.

The Creole influence can be seen in rougaille (a sauce of tomatoes, onions, ginger and garlic) and santini (a sauce of tomatoes, onions, chilies and coriander). These sauces are served with fish or meat. A daube is a beef or chicken stew with tomatoes, onions and garlic. Soup is popular, especially fish head soup. Fish and seafood are used in many dishes. Vindaye is deep-fried fish coated with turmeric, mustard seeds, ginger and chilies. Sometimes octopus is substituted for fish in vindaye. These dishes are usually accompanied by spinach, potato leaf or watercress greens. Chevrettes (tiny freshwater shrimp) and tec-tec (clams) are harvested locally. Snoek is salted fish imported from South Africa.

   Did you know?
Mauritians call tomatoes pommes d'amour (love apples). Mauritian tomatoes are smaller and more strongly flavoured than the tomatoes sold in Canada.
The French influence is evident in Mauritian desserts. Crème brulée (sweetened cream with a crisp burned-sugar crust), crème caramel (flan with caramel sauce) and pudding de pan (stale bread and raisins baked in milk) are popular. Fresh fruits such as papayas, mangoes, lychees, coconuts, pineapples and bananas are eaten with any meal.

Mauritians can buy fast food on the street from vans equipped with kitchens. Two popular fast-food dishes are roti (a flour pancake) and dholl puri (a pancake stuffed with mashed split peas). The vendors offer a variety of condiments, including rougaille, santini or achard (shredded cabbage, carrots, beans and cauliflower cooked with garlic and onions).

Mauritians enjoy soft drinks, fruit juices such as tamarind juice, and a local specialty called alouda (milk and rose syrup with jelly and sweet basil seeds). The two local beers, Phoenix and Stella, are very popular and have won European awards. Rum is made locally and is used to prepare cocktails.

   Tarte aux Onions

250 g red tomatoes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of ground red chili powder
1 tbsp each ginger and garlic paste
3 onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch fresh thyme, with stalks removed
4 green peppers
1 bunch fresh parsley


Put tomatoes briefly in boiling water, then peel them, remove seeds and crush them. Set aside. Heat a little oil in a skillet or wok. Add chili powder, ginger and garlic paste. Sauté onions and add tomato paste, salt and pepper and thyme. Slit green peppers lengthwise and add them, cooking until browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes. Add chopped parsley. Serve over fried fish.