Exploring the food in Maldives is just as interesting as exploring the island. Because the food of Maldives presents a delightful culinary journey that reflects the island’s rich cultural heritage.
The local cuisine of the Maldives is a fusion of bold flavors, aromatic spices, and fresh seafood that will leave your taste buds tingling with delight.
Join me as we explore the must-try dishes that define the essence of Maldivian gastronomy and discover the best places to savor these authentic delicacies.
Disclaimer: We have mentioned ‘Where to get’ beneath each of the dishes on this list. However, a particular cuisine might be available at several other places other than the places we mentioned. We only included the places we have been to!
Top 10 food in maldives you must try
Here are our top 10 recommendations about the local food in Maldives that one must try when in Maldives
1. Maldivian Fish Curry
When it comes to Maldivian cuisine, one dish that stands out in flavor and popularity is the Maldivian Fish Curry. This delectable dish features local fish, such as tuna or reef fish, cooked to perfection in a fragrant blend of spices. The use of traditional ingredients like curry leaves, pandan leaves, and chili gives the curry its distinctive taste.
Special Precaution: Before diving into the savory flavors of Maldivian Fish Curry, keep in mind that some local curries can be quite spicy. If you prefer milder dishes, don’t hesitate to ask the chef to adjust the spice level according to your taste.
To experience the true essence of Maldivian Fish Curry, head to local restaurants or street food vendors, where you can savor this mouthwatering dish accompanied by steamed rice and a side of freshly prepared sambals or pickles.
Where to get: Sunset Corner; Kaalamaa Restaurant, Maafushi, Cafe Sea Breeze, Bandos
Approximate Cost: MVR 15 – MVR 75
Another dish that holds a special place in Maldivian culture is Garudhiya, a traditional fish broth prepared with tuna. This simple yet flavorful broth is a staple in Maldivian households, often served with steamed rice for a hearty meal.
Special Precaution: While Garudhiya is generally safe to consume, some travelers may find that the broth is rich and slightly oily. If you have any dietary restrictions or preferences, consider opting for a lighter version of the dish or consulting the chef beforehand.
To enjoy the authentic taste of this Maldivian cuisine, head to local eateries or family-run restaurants, where you can relish the heartwarming flavors of this traditional Maldivian favorite.
Where to get: Iberry Cafe, Hulhumale ; Jazz Café, Male
Approximate Cost: MVR 50 – MVR 200 (depending upon the place)
One of the most unique and flavorful components of Maldivian cuisine is Rihaakuru, a fish paste made from dried tuna and coconut. This versatile paste is used as a condiment or base for various dishes, adding depth and complexity to the flavors.
Special Precaution: Rihaakuru is an acquired taste due to its intense umami flavors. If you are trying this food in Maldives for the first time, consider starting with a small amount and gradually increasing it to suit your palate.
If you are curious to experience the taste of Rihaakuru, visit local food markets or specialty shops where you can find this traditional ingredient. Additionally, you can try dishes like Rihaakuru Roshi, which incorporates the paste with flatbread for a delightful combination of flavors.
Where to get: SeaLaVie Cafe, Ukulhas, Jazz Café, Male
Approximate Cost: MVR 50 – MVR 150
When it comes to snacks and appetizers, Masroshi takes the spotlight. This savory delight is a Maldivian snack made with tuna, grated coconut, and a blend of spices, all wrapped in a pastry shell.
Special Precaution: Masroshi is often fried to perfection, resulting in a deliciously crispy outer shell. While it’s undeniably tempting to indulge, be mindful of the oil content, especially if you have dietary restrictions.
To experience the joy of Masroshi, the food of Maldives, head to local cafes or bakeries, where you can enjoy this savory treat, perfect for a quick snack or tea-time delight.
Where to get: Findhandi Restaurant, Komandoo; Lonuveli Restaurant, Hulhumale.
Approximate Cost: MVR 7 – MVR 50
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5. Bis Keemiya
Another snack that showcases the diverse culinary influences in the Maldives is Bis Keemiya, a local variation of samosas. Filled with spiced tuna, onions, and cabbage, these triangular delights are perfect for tea breaks or as appetizers during special occasions.
Special Precaution: Bis Keemiya, like most deep-fried snacks, can be indulgent and high in calories. Enjoy it in moderation, especially if you’re watching your calorie intake.
To experience the authentic flavors of this food in Maldives, visit local street vendors or food stalls, where you can find these scrumptious delights ready to satisfy your cravings.
Where to get: local street vendors or food stalls
Approximate Cost: MVR 2 – MVR 10
6. Huni Roshi
No exploration of Maldivian cuisine is complete without savoring Huni Roshi, a traditional flatbread made with coconut. This delightful bread is often served with fish or vegetable curry for a fulfilling meal.
Special Precaution: Keep in mind that Huni Roshi is a coconut-based bread and may contain higher amounts of saturated fats. If you have dietary concerns, consider opting for smaller portions or pair it with lighter dishes.
To enjoy the true essence of Huni Roshi, visit local cafes or eateries, where you can savor the authentic taste of this traditional Maldivian flatbread.
Where to get: Crystal Sands, Maafushi ; Café Rio, Male
Approximate Cost: MVR 15 – MVR 50
7. Hedhikaa (Maldivian Snacks)
Hedhikaa refers to a delightful array of traditional Maldivian snacks, each with its own unique flavors and textures. From gulha, which are fish or vegetable dumplings, to bajiya, which are spiced fish fritters, these snacks are an integral part of Maldivian culinary culture.
Special Precaution: When indulging in multiple snacks, consider portion sizes, as some hedhikaa items can be deep-fried and calorie-dense. Opt for a variety of lighter snacks to balance your culinary exploration.
To enjoy this assortment of food in Maldives, visit local food markets or snack stalls, where you can sample these delectable treats, each offering a taste of authentic Maldivian flavors.
Where to get: local street vendors or food stalls
Approximate Cost: MVR 10 – MVR 60
8. Fihunu Mas (Barbecued Fish)
When it comes to seafood delights, Fihunu Mas takes center stage in Maldivian Cuisine. This grilled fish dish is marinated in a blend of spices and coconut, creating a tantalizing burst of flavors that complement the freshness of the fish.
Special Precaution: While grilled fish is generally a healthy option, be mindful of the portion size and accompanying side dishes to maintain a balanced meal.
To relish the true essence of Fihunu Mas, head to beachfront restaurants or seafood shacks, where you can indulge in this flavorful grilled delight, often enjoyed during island barbecues and resort dinners.
Where to get: Sea Fire Salt, Anantara Dhigu
Approximate Cost: MVR 300 – MVR 500
9. Dhon Riha (Coconut Milk Soup)
For a comforting and creamy delight, look no further than Dhon Riha, a coconut milk soup often prepared with fish and vegetables. The fragrant spices, such as cinnamon and cardamom, infuse the soup with soothing flavors.
Special Precaution: Coconut milk-based dishes can be rich and high in saturated fats. If you’re looking for a lighter option, consider choosing a vegetable-based Dhon Riha.
To experience the warm embrace of Dhon Riha, visit local eateries or homestays, where you can savor this traditional Maldivian soup, perfect for a soothing and flavorful meal.
Where to get: The Lighthouse Restaurant
Approximate Cost: MVR 100 – MVR 300
10. Sai (Maldivian Rice Pudding)
For those with a sweet tooth, Sai is a must-try dessert. This traditional Maldivian rice pudding is infused with coconut milk and flavored with cardamom, creating a delightful and comforting treat.
Special Precaution: As with any dessert, moderation is key. Enjoy a small portion of Sai to indulge in its sweet flavors without overindulging.
To satisfy your sweet cravings, visit local sweet shops or traditional restaurants, where you can enjoy a bowl of Sai as a perfect ending to your culinary exploration.
Where to get: T for Tea House, Furanafushi Island; Family Room Café, Male Approximate
Cost: MVR 10 – MVR 35
Exploring the local food of Maldives is an adventure in itself. From the rich flavors of Maldivian Fish Curry to the comforting embrace of Dhon Riha, each dish tells a tale of the island’s cultural heritage and culinary prowess.
As you embark on this delightful journey, remember to savor the unique flavors while keeping in mind any special precautions. Whether you’re indulging in street food, enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, or relishing the culinary delights at a resort, the local cuisine of the Maldives will undoubtedly leave an impression that will linger in your heart and taste buds for years to come.