The most important tip I can give you on Maldives  local food, and the only one that will make you elevate from being a tourist to becoming a real traveler immersed in the local culture, is “Stay away from McDonalds“. When visiting Maldives, there is awesome local food to try. Head to the local eateries too, and go where the locals go. For me, the food, wine and and even the water is part of the travel experience.

What to Eat in Maldives

All the resorts are self contained so they have at least one restaurant, which generally serve the type of cuisine expected by their guests. ( i.e. modern European or generic Asian). Breakfast is almost always included, and most resorts offer the option of half-board, which means you get a dinner buffet, and full board, which means you get a lunch and dinner buffet. These can limit the damage compared to ordering a la carte, but your options are typically very limited and drinks are often not covered, not necessarily even water. If you’re planning on drinking a lot, it may be worthwhile to go all inclusive, but even this typically restricts you to house drinks. The only other place to find food is Male. This comes in two forms.

Maldives foods photo

Photo by freddie boy

Either small restaurants aimed at the tourists (of which there are a couple of nice Thai restaurants), which are often expensive, or small cafes called hotaa, selling local Maldivian food at prices as low as Rf.20 for a complete meal. Maldivian cuisine A typical Maldivian meal: masroshi pastries, mas riha fish curry, papadhu, grilled fish, rice and sweet black tea. Maldivian food revolves largely around fish (mas), in particular tuna (kandu mas), and draws heavily from the Sri Lankan and south Indian tradition, especially Kerala. Dishes are often hot, spicy and flavored with coconut, but use very few vegetables.

A traditional meal consists of rice, a clear fish broth called garudhiya and side dishes of lime, chili and onions. Curries known as riha are also popular and the rice is often supplemented with roshi, unleavened bread akin to Indian roti, and papadhu, the Maldivian version of crispy Indian poppadums. Some other common dishes include: mas huni — shredded smoked fish with grated coconuts and onions, the most common Maldivian breakfast fihunu mas — barbequed fish basted with chili bambukeylu hiti — breadfruit curry Snacks called hedhikaa, almost invariably fish-based and deep-fried, can be found in any Maldivian restaurant. bajiya — pastry stuffed with fish, coconut and onions gulha — pastry balls stuffed with smoked fish keemia — deep-fried fish rolls kulhi borkibaa — spicy fish cake masroshi — mas huni wrapped in roshi bread and baked theluli mas — fried fish with chili and garlic

What to Drink in Maldives

The legal drinking/purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 18. However since the Maldives are a Islamic nation, alcohol is banned for the local population as well as any one who is a Muslim. However, nearly all resorts and liveaboard boats are licensed to serve it, usually with a steep markup. The expatriate liquor permit which used to allow expats to buy alcohol for their own consumption has been removed.

The only place near Male, aside from resorts, where people can drink alcohol is at the Hulhule Island Hotel, commonly known as HIH or the airport hotel. Maldivians generally do not drink alcohol although this is less true of the younger generation. They are, however, unhappy about being filmed or photographed while drinking. Tap water in resorts may or may not be drinkable — check with management. Bottled water is extortionately priced, with US$5/bottle being typical.

Other local foods, or drinks that you recommend? Please add and comment.