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.
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.