Experiencing Local Maldivian Cuisine

Experiencing Local Maldivian Cuisine

Johnny’s back this week to talk about local Maldivian food and what we thought of it!

As someone who enjoys other cultures, Beth tries to expose me to many different experiences when we’re abroad. This usually includes things that I might not expect, like going to a maid café in Japan or checking out the night life in Thailand. However, what I do expect is to sample local foods when we travel. Whether it is xiao long bao in Shanghai or yakiniku in Japan. I am generally open to indulging myself when we travel and being in the Maldives was no different.

Maldives - Nov 2013

With such diverse marine life swimming in the vast Laccadive Sea that surrounds the Maldives, it should come as no surprise that a staple in the Maldivian diet is seafood. Fish here is cooked many different ways. We saw it broiled, grilled, baked, boiled, and even raw. With each meal there was always a different fish-based dish for us to enjoy, like fish curry, steamed fish, spiced baked fish, and simple fried fish.

Maldives - Nov 2013

Maldivian food is heavily influenced by Sri Lankan and Indian foods due to their close proximity, with a heavy emphasis on spices and curries with rice as main dishes.  If you are like me and cannot handle spicy food, don’t worry as Maldivian cooking is milder than both Sri Lankan and Indian cooking.

Maldives - Nov 2013
One of the reasons the dishes here are milder, are because they also often incorporate coconut. The coconut fruit reigns supreme here as many dishes call for the use of some part of the coconut. Coconut oil is used to grease up the pan and also gives foods a different aroma than western cooking which mostly uses corn, canola, or olive oil. And instead of using plain water or milk, it is often coconut water or coconut milk that gets substituted.

Maldives - Nov 2013

One of our favorite dishes we ate was called a hopper. Made with egg, rice flour and coconut milk, this interesting dish retains the shape of the pan it is made in. While Beth added various hot spices to the top of hers, I enjoyed mine plain and simple.

We also enjoyed coconut curries and of course, various coconut cakes, like nanu cake, for dessert.

Maldives - Nov 2013

Most dishes were served with a side of rice, but other types of carbs are available through things like naan, papadum, roti and chapati.  Before this trip, we had never tried chapati (let alone heard of it), but chapati is kind of like a roti, except it is thinner because it does not have as many layers.  It also to me seemed less fluffy than roti bread.  Nonetheless, chapatti paired well with the curries that were served or with the myriad of sauces found in the Maldives.


Bon appétit!



  1. January 16, 2014 / 10:20 pm

    Mmm, sounds yum. I love anything with a coconut flavour and love chapatis too. I tried them for the first time in India last year and love them now!

  2. December 22, 2013 / 4:47 pm

    I’ve been to Sri Lanka and I tried the hopper for my breakfast. It was very yummy! I am not a fan of spicy food, so I’m glad to hear that Maldivian dishes are milder.

    • Beth Williams
      December 27, 2013 / 1:49 pm

      Was it that spicy in Sri Lanka? I’d really love to visit there!

  3. December 21, 2013 / 2:37 am

    Sounds great to me! I also love trying local foods when we travel. Interesting to know that the food in the Maldives is less spicy than India and Sri Lanka! I love coconut flavours, so I’m sure I’d love the food there :)

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Beth Williams
      December 27, 2013 / 1:46 pm

      If you love coconut, you’d love the food there for sure! I’m not the biggest fan of coconut usually, but even I enjoyed it.

  4. December 20, 2013 / 4:08 pm

    Hi Beth and Johnny, thanks for sharing. The hopper looks nice and we do have similar one here in Malaysia, we call it Roti Canai, but the one we have is fully baked:) It is normally made of flour, topped with eggs, onion and etc.

    Simon Lee

    • Beth Williams
      December 20, 2013 / 9:46 pm

      The hopper is fully cooked, it’s just made out of eggs rather than a bread. I’ll have to check out roti canai when I had to Malaysia in January!