Jun 6, 2011

Your Mauritius guide to Mauritian recipes

One of the things tourists most look forward to when traveling to Mauritius is of course to taste the infamous Mauritian recipes, which are said to be extremely delicious and unique. With so many different cultures available in Mauritius, it is obvious that this is also visible in the styles of recipes available and tourists won't be disappointed (unless they really enjoy being nitpicky). With unique Mauritius recipes that include Indian food such as the chicken tikka masala, Chinese recipes such as roast duck, to name only a couple, there's a wide variety of styles available and something for every possible taste.

Given that the Mauritian population is composed from people from various other countries, it makes sense that the recipes are not entirely original. Many extremely popular dishes are lifted straight away from other countries, but do have some variations thrown in. They are thus not entirely the same as the original recipes, but someone who's already tasted a biryani in India will probably want to pass up on the Mauritian biryani and instead opt for something else. There are however a couple of dishes that can pass off as entirely Mauritian, but even these will most of the time be inspired from other dishes. In fact, the only Mauritian recipe that can claim to be entirely original is the one that consists of getting completely hammered as from 6pm on weekends and then acting like a complete lunatic.

These Mauritius recipes (the real ones, not the drinking one), while inherent to a particular culture, are extremely popular with the whole Mauritian population. It is indeed not rare to see a Chinese restaurant full of Mauritians from various backgrounds. This is not very surprising too considering that Chinese food is generally considered among the best in the island, let alone the whole world. The only thing that actually matters is of course the quality of the food, and this can be easily known by the number of people queuing for a seat (or in the case of fast food, by the number of people queuing up at the till).

When it comes to super fast food, there are of course the usual suspects that are readily available on the street such as the infamous dholl puris or faratas. In these cases, beware of the popularity concept. In many cases, a longer food can unfortunately often translate to crappier food. Besides, after ingesting food that has been slowly but inevitably consuming the delicious exhaust fumes of vehicles since the early hours of the morning, it should be even more surprising if successfully eating this does not make you end up in the crapper. Another thing to watch out for is your cholesterol level; with so much fat available in these, it's no wonder half the Mauritius population can't even be bothered to take the lift from the ground floor to the second floor (true story).

As anybody of sound mind would expect, all the hotels in Mauritius make a big deal about their "unique ability to provide Mauritian cuisine". Considering the fact that they are in Mauritius, this should not be such a surprise. I don't think someone flying over to Mauritius from Italy will be intent on confirming whether Mauritians can actually cook thin and crispy pizza. Which is moreover ironic given that the head chefs in Mauritius cannot actually be Mauritian. It can pretty much be said that all these Mauritius hotels have pretty much similar Mauritian recipes since food can usually be separated into mainly three categories, namely crap food, good food, and great food.

Hint: stick to the last category.

In fact, it should be said that the majority of Mauritius hotels do have great food. There are definitely slight differences, but it's not like you will notice anyway. Unless you've been sent to report on Mauritian recipes so you can go back and sell Mauritian food in a 5 star hotel in Copenhagen (which moreover has absolutely nothing to do with Mauritius). You may think this is the craziest thing you ever read, but it seems some people actually think such a thing could happen. We like to call them the Y2K people of Mauritius recipes.

As far as Mauritian recipes websites are concerned, there are no real official websites. There are tons of websites that offer recipes, complete with full ingredients and pictures, that do a terrific job of taking you through the whole cooking, eating, and digesting process. There are also some that claim to provide all the Mauritius recipes you could ever wish for but that are woefully hard to navigate. I have additionally seen a website that claims that "Mauritian cuisine is the best cuisine from Mauritius island". This was a huge relief as I was beginning to think that the best cuisine in Mauritius island was Vietnamese food.

In any case, one thing to watch out for during your quest for the most incredible Mauritian recipes is bugs, lizards, cockroaches, and other insects in your food. This is a problem that's been occurring rather frequently lately, and you should be careful, regardless of the so-called quality of the restaurant. Rest assured though as your obstacles will not be limited to dead insects. If you are lucky enough, you may find hair in your recipe. In any case, don't forget to take pictures and to send them to Le Defi Quotidien.

The hazards of Mauritian recipes
I'm actually pretty tasty.