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Yours Mauritiusly: Creolisation of food

Mauritius is a food haven, with influences from India, China, Europe and Africa, the food cannot get any better. If you ever happen to have a stomach ache and visit a doctor, one question normally asked is :what did you eat? And it is a hard question to answer as you have pretty much eaten everything during the week.

With a history of slavery, colonisation, indentureship, Mauritius owes a lot of its culinary magic to the mix of immigrants from each part of the world who had to adapt to the new world, a world where they wanted to preserve their local cuisine but did not have the right ingredients to do so.

Here's a few examples of what may be unique that Mauritius had to offer.

Mauritian Chinese is available anywhere on the island, there are many street-sellers as well as restaurants that sell top-notch Mauritian Chinese. Mauritian Chinese draw influences from Hakka and Cantonese.

The 'Boulettes sousou' or Niouk Yen, a ball made from Chayote/Choco/ Chow-Chow/ Cho-Cho can be found in Mauriitus, it's the equivalent to a Dim-sum, with some sort of minced meat. This has to be an example of creolisation and adaptation as this 'Dim-Sum' cannot be found in China.

The Mauritian Crab soup is a french styled bouillon spiced up with some chillies, curry leaves and some other ingredients. This is a mixture of African , French and Indian cuisine.

The Mauritian Fish Vindaye, fried fish pickled with some Indian spices, like mustard, vinegar and oil. The longer it pickles, the better the taste. Something of India meets Africa.

The Banana Tarte, a french inspired pastry with locally grown banana filling. Or, the Mauritian Puit d'amour (Well of Love) a mixture between our local tarts and some crème patissière.

This is just a snapshot of all the different combination of food found on the island. Mauritian food had to adapt, not mainly to cater for the lack of ingredients but also to cater for the religious and cultural needs of this beautiful mix. Do not be surprise to find vegetarian version of almost everything, or that non-muslims are aware for your need for Halal food and they serve it in their establishments. With a growing number of vegans, vegan food is no stranger to Mauritius either, probably before even Europe heard of it.

Nothing beats Mauritian food.

Yours Mauritiusly,

FH 28/2/2021

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