My Quick Street Food Guide Mauritius

I must make a quick admission that this is by no means an exhaustive list but is a quick fire guide to all the dishes that you must try when you are on the island. On top of this the list there are the curries, the boulette soup, the dim sum, the teas, the sugar, the vanilla and of course the rum, but for me this is a quick guide that will give you an overview of the street food style of the Island.

ANANA CONFIT

Anana Confit - Pineapple with Tamarind and Chilli
Anana Confit - Pineapple with Tamarind and Chilli

Anana Confit is found across the island typically using Victoria Pineapples which are unbelievably sweet and addictive. We serve these cut in a classic way which is like a helter skelter design which is masterfully carved out by the street sellers using large machete type knives as all the skin and eyes are removed from the pineapple leaving the sweet and fragrant fruit behind the leafy top left on as decoration. We serve this with a sweet tamarind sauce with some chilli and it’s then placed into a small plastic bag and given a shake. This is a wonderful assault on the senses as the flavour is sweet, sour, salty and hot and it’s the perfect refresher in the tropical heat.

BOL RENVERSER / MAGIC BOWL

 

Bol Renverser - the most famous of the Sino Mauritian dishes
Bol Renverser - the most famous of the Sino Mauritian dishes

This is synonymous with the island and even though you will find plenty of dishes around the world similar to this, I’ve not been able to find an exact dish anywhere else in the way it is presented. The ‘Bol Renverser’ is similar to a chop suey sauce made with oyster sauce and soy sauce served with a choice of meat and seafood my preference is chicken and prawn, served with a sunny side up, or over easy egg. It is prepared in a bowl with the egg placed first, then the chop suey base and then the rice and presented to the customer upside down - hence the origin of the name in creole meaning ‘upside down bowl. At my restaurant in Southampton I serve this as ‘Magic Bowl’ and it’s our biggest seller by far. This dish is best eaten in China Town in Port Louis in a classic Sino-Mauritian Restaurant and if you eat it the way the locals eat it you will have laced it in plenty of chilli sauce or ‘piment crazer’ so the best way to cool down your mouth after this dish is by having ‘la mousse noir’ normally served as a drink or in a little bowl which will cool you down and has a slightly sweet taste to it.

GATEAUX PIMENT

 

gateux piment served in a fresh baguette
Gateaux Piment served in a fresh baguette

Gateaux Piment are sold throughout the island and they directly translate as ‘chilli cakes’. At the restaurant I always describe these to customers as the Mauritian falafel, although they are made from yellow split peas (chana dal) and soaked overnight and ground up and mixed with spring onion, chilli and some turmeric. They are so addictive so when you have one you’ll want 10! We Mauritians love to get a fresh warm baguette and add some butter to it then take a few hot gateaux piment with a drizzle of hot sauce, this is the perfect afternoon snack if your peckish. We also sometimes eat this for breakfast if you have leftovers from your party the night before!

GAJAKS

Gajaks - The Mauritian 'tapas'
Gajaks - The Mauritian ‘tapas’

Now this is a catch all phrase for anything served alongside a drink (alcoholic or soft) generally deep fried but not always! Gajaks include things like samosa’s, our style of bhaji which we call baija using chick pea flour and seasoned with spices. The ‘gajaks’ are usually served anytime as a snack if you are visiting guests or anything that comes before a main meal. The best way to think of it is a variety of snacks quite similar to tapas/pinchos. My favourite of all the gajaks is probably ‘gateaux bringelle’ which is aubergine fritters with chick pea flour and spices, deep fried until golden brown. The aubergine cooks all the way and I love this with a simple green chilli chutney

MIN FRITE

The classic Min Frire Mauritian Fried Noodles
The classic Min Frite Mauritian Fried Noodles

This is a classic Sino-Mauritian dish brought to us by the Chinese Mauritian community usually served with a variety of meat of your Chinese and always served alongside a garlic and chive sauce and some hot ‘piment crazer’ a crushed green chilli paste. You will find this served in most street vendors carts but some of the best min frite I usually find is along the beach of Flic en Flac and Belle Mare. It is generally made using yellow wheat noodles that’s why they are a beautiful yellow colour and served with carrots, cabbage and usually a ‘brede’ which is any type of green leaf which could be pumpkin leaf, taro leaf or similar giving it a lovely iron rich flavour.

 

 

BRIANI

Briani The Ultimate Mauritian Celebration Dish
Briani The Ultimate Mauritian Celebration Dish

This is a classic celebration dish brought over to Mauritius by the Indo-Muslim community, a dish made up of rice, chicken/fish or lamb with potatoes, peas and lots of spices but what gives it the classic flavour is fried onions and saffron. The ‘briani’ you find in Mauritius are served up in extra large ‘dexi’ which is the Mauritian creole word for ‘cooking pot’ and these briani pots are usually sealed up with roti (bread) dough to keep all the moisture inside when cooking to ensure the rice is fragrant and fluffy and steamed all the way through. I remember growing up whenever we had a party this was the dish we would all wait for served alongside chutneys, pickles and chillies we would all wait for the best bit, the bottom of the pan where all the flavours had stuck to the bottom with burnished rice and potato that was the ultimate treat!

ROTI AND DAL PURI

Dal Puri and Roti - No visit to Mauritius is complete without tasting these!
Dal Puri and Roti Chaud - No visit to Mauritius is complete without tasting these!

You will see this stacked up high in glass cabinets scattered across the island. The roti is an unleavened flat bread made with oil, flour, salt and water served warm with a choice of toppings from ‘rougaille’ a Mauritian creole sauce of rich tomatoes, thyme, chilli and coriander, butterbean curry ‘cari gros pois’ and ‘satini’ a raw chilli chutney either green or red (green is mint and coriander and red is red chilli and tomato). Dal Puri are what all Mauritians dream of when they leave the island, it is made in a similar way to roti with the addition of turmeric and yellow split peas (chana dal) which is ground and placed in the middle of the dough and rolled out so thin like a crepe. These are also served with the same condiments but are always served as in pairs as one is never enough! The best place to eat a Dal Puri in my opinion is still DEWA they serve up the best, the most thin and most tasty dal puri on the island.

SALADE PALMISTE WITH SMOKED MARLIN

Salade Palmiste with Smoke Marlin - A Classic Mauritian Salad
Salade Palmiste with Smoke Marlin - A classic Mauritian salad

This is something you may not find on the streets but it is a must eat when you get to the island so you will be able to try it at almost any restaurant and hotel. Smoked Marlin (marlin fume) is a delicacy on the island and palm heart salad is made using the heart of the palm tree, It has a light fragrant flavour similar to a heart of a artichoke. It is served with a fresh vinaigrette usually with lime and coriander running through it. Classic and fresh in flavours its a must try.

PIMENT CONFIT

Blow your heads off with Piment Confit - Mauritian Pickled Chillies
Blow your heads off with Piment Confit - Mauritian Pickled Chillies

There are bottles and bottles of this stuff everywhere if you look and these are made using small chillies soaked in vinegar, oil, salt and garlic. Piment Confit will blow your mouth off but they are utterly addictive and the perfect accompaniment to a curry or roti, or to be honest, if speaking to a Mauritian it goes with pretty much everything! These are the contraband that Mauritians usually try and sneak back in the country they now live in along with a packet of Mauritian Curry powder! The best chillies to use for this are in fact the chillies found in Rodrigues the sister island to Mauritius, they are stronger in heat and sweeter in my opinion.

NAPOLITAINE

The Quintissentially Mauritian Afternoon Tea Snack
The Quintessentially Mauritian Afternoon Tea Snack

Mauritians have adopted the habit of afternoon tea from the British and always prepare something for the afternoon. These have a classic British flavour but only found in Mauritius, I’ve struggled to find an exact recipe elsewhere outside of Mauritius. These are made with very short shortbread so crumbly they are very hard to even make, sandwiched together with a strawberry jam completely encased in a pink icing sugar. It is important that they are completely covered in the icing sugar. We almost always have this with a Bois Cheri Vanilla Tea - the biggest tea brand on the island with a number of other cakes.

Gateaux Arouille - Taro Fritters

Gateaux Arouille - Taro Fritters
Gateaux Arouille - Taro Fritters

These are under the heading ‘gajaks’ but you may find these and wonder what they are! Using the taro root a staple root vegetable used in Mauritius, these are grated washed and deep fried into balls. These are served alongside a chilli chutney with other snacks like ‘gateaux piment’, samosas and ‘bajia’