Mauritius Melting-Pot Cuisine





The island had for a long time remained unknown and uninhabited. Mauritius did not have an indigenous population. Click on https://www.coquillebonheur.com/en/about-mauritius.html to know more about the History of Mauritius. The population is culturally diverse as a consequence of various waves of the arrival of Europeans, slaves, immigrants and their descents. The island of Sugar and Smile is a successful melting pot where the people live in perfect harmony.

The immigrants to Mauritius instilled their own culinary tradition depending on the region they came from. The local cuisine, influenced by the rainbow nation cultures, richly mixed by each community over the years, created the delicious fusion of the Creole Cuisine. The Mauritian cuisine defines and unifies an otherwise diverse population and its history. Chef Alan Payen, WCWB Ambassador, rightly mentioned in his book “50 Chefs fêtent Les 50 ans de Maurice”, that “our cuisine remains an intrinsic part of our common identity”. Philippe Lenoir, a fine gourmet, qualifies the local cuisine as retaining “a sense of pride in its kitchen gear”. “Mauritian cuisine is a very beautiful cuisine. It is the meeting of four cultures: Indian, European, Chinese and Creole. This is our treasure brought by our ancestors. " Chef José Kwan Tat, More, In Hong Kong, Gilles Bosquet, the Executive Chef of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants says that “Mauritian chefs have an extraordinary palate. They have an exceptional approach. We are raised in a setting where we are exposed to both oriental spices and French gastronomy. Famous and great chefs who have made a mark in the local cuisine by their exemplary contributions are Jacqueline Dalais, Dominique Arsenius, Gopalsamy Murday, Nizam Peero and Patrick Vitry among so many. Some of them have been acclaimed nationwide and have become manifestly culinary legends.

The most popular of the cuisine of Mauritius and Rodrigues are without a doubt the street foods, Dholl Puri, Samoussas, Gato Piments and Faratas. The Rougailles, in it, tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and chilies as basic ingredients. The Curries made up of traditional blends of home-crushed spices, tomatoes, onions and coriander. The Millionaire’s Salad also called the Palm Heart Salad. A variety of pickles (achards). The Mauritian biryani prepared with a flavoured long-grained Basmati rice, a huge list of spices and yogurt. Fresh seafood-based, especially Vindaye Ourite (Octopus Vindaye), Vindaye Poisson (Fish Vindaye) and others. Last but not least, a variety of Chinese food, Bol Renversé (Magic Bowl), Boulettes, Mine frit (fried Noodles), etc.

Around independence (1968), for obvious reasons at that time, seeking better opportunities abroad, a large number of Mauritians migrated to countries overseas. An important Mauritian diaspora has been established in Australia, Canada, South Africa, Britain and France. They settled overseas. They still love their tasty Mauritian Cuisine which today goes beyond our borders and that keeps Mauritian overseas to be connected with their motherland. It is not uncommon to see so many Mauritian refined restaurants in renowned cities.

One of the most prominent chefs in Mauritian cuisine who immigrated to Australia was late Madeleine Philippe, whose book “Best of Mauritian Cuisine” (http://www.mpcfaus.org/book.htm) won the World Gourmand Cookbook "Best in the World" awards in 2018. "Through my recipes, I give everyone the opportunity to simmer good little dishes. People fall back more on take-away, while we Mauritians with our Bol Déviré, faratas and chicken curry, briani, brèdes, fish soup, rougailles, fried noodles and bouillabaisse (my two cute sins) and Creole dishes, I must admit that cooking is a treat. " Madeleine Philippe. Her passion for Mauritian Cuisine is perpetuated by her husband Clancy.

Shelina Permalloo won Masterchef in 2012 in the UK with Mauritian Mutton Curry, dried shrimp rougaille, and mouthwatering mango desserts. She highlighted the island’s unique fusion cuisine. Judge Gregg Wallace described her food as “sunshine on a plate” (the title of her first cookery book). She went on to open Lakaz Maman (mum’s house), a Mauritian street kitchen in Southampton (www.lakazmaman.com).  Another Ambassador who put Mauritius on the foodie map.

Recently, Coquille Bonheur was proud to have been associated with Brent Owens in promoting Mauritius (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Os4xD1tWXzk&feature=emb_title). Brent Owens is an Australian reality television cook. He is the winner of the sixth series of MasterChef Australia. He is a good friend of ours and we were glad to have him sharing an evening eating local food at home in Albion. Brent had the opportunity where he and Aurélie (my daughter) cooked Aurélie’s mother tea chicken dish.

Another young Chef, Brendan Pang, from Perth, who participated in the Australia 2018 Masterchef, says; “I’m most excited about sharing the food I grew up eating. I describe it as food where there’s nothing to hide behind. It’s just very honest and homely.” Read more on https://www.broadsheet.com.au/perth/food-and-drink/article/wrappers-delight-conversation-brendan-pang

Nothing goes together like food and travel. There is a whole set of experiences and learnings about the history, traditions, environment and local culture that go beyond the taste. The local cuisine is the mirror of our culture and the reflection of our history. It’s an art of living, an art of sharing that translates into the mixed flavours of our cuisine. To say the least, The Mauritian Cuisine has travelled to heavenly heights and is unique by its incredible culinary diversity. When you are next in Mauritius, do not hesitate to contact us. We shall be delighted to direct you to the right places to enjoy the best food on the Island be it a portion of ubiquitous street food, small restaurants, take-aways, or in a fine dining local gastronomic offerings restaurant. The best food around the world.

Bon Appetit

Christian Lefèvre