Quite possibly the most distinctively traditional Maldivian dish you will find at a resort is the breakfast staple – Mas-huni. It is a delicate blend of fresh reef-caught tuna mixed with coconut, onion and a touch of chillies served on a light, thin flatbread (called “roshi”). It is light, healthy with both the tropical flavour tinged with coconut and a touch of piquancy with the chillies. It is Lori’s favorite dish in the Maldives and she has it everywhere they serve it so she has become a bit of a connoisseur (I enjoy it as well, but prefer to indulge in the sumptuous variety of the breakfast buffets more extravagantly). You can get it at most resorts. Being a pretty basic and popular dish, I haven’t featured it in the Best Of series yet, because there wasn’t that much variation. But I finally found a buffer offering worth calling out at Medhufushi. They offer two styles of Mah-Huni (until our visit, I didn’t even know there was more than one style). The Bashi-Mas-Huni is made with a squash like eggplant, butternut squash or pumpkin added.
You can not only lounge around Milaidhoo’s dhonis, but wine and dine too. They have adapted the dhoni aesthetic to their signature overwater restaurant:
- “Shaped like three dhonis (wooden sailing boats), our signature restaurant is the only restaurant in the world set on a boat in a lagoon featuring gourmet dishes of inspired island cuisine from the Maldivian Spice Route. Guests dine on the ‘deck’ of the restaurant where, underneath starry night skies, the team of chefs deliver an island influenced menu of locally inspired and sourced dishes. There’s also indoor seating in air-conditioned comfort where you can watch the sea-life below through glass floors. Expect to find seafood and traditional local flavours intelligently reinterpreted for the 21st century.”
LUX South Ari Atoll has its own wish tree, or as they call it – Tree of Wishes:
- “Imaginative and uplifting: this new Reason to Go LUX* is a chance for guests to reach for their dreams while being part of unique interactive artworks. Local artisans and in-house creatives are cultivating and crafting Trees of Wishes at each resort by adapting real trees in the flower-filled gardens and by using upcycled materials such as metals and fiberglass to make these sculptures. At night, these mystical shapes are dramatically illuminated. And, in line with the LUX* Tread Lightly program, each objet d’art is utterly eco-friendly and constructed entirely in-house.”
That’s now a trifecta of arboreal adornment aspirations so I’ve add a special “Wish Tree” tag to keep track of even more that might blossom.
Wish trees are found in many traditions, but one of the most prominent is the Japanese O-mikuji (literally “sacred lot”). Wishes are written on small strips of paper and hung in a tree. They can be hung directly on branches (or other frame) or inserted into a small container for safe keeping. My parents presented us with a Wish Tree at our pre-wedding celebration party where guest wrote wishes for the betrothed couple and hung them on decorated branches. Ayada has introduced this tradition with the romantic twist of placing the wishes in tiny, heart-shaped glass bottles (thanks Paola). So if you want your Valentines wishes to last forever, you can give your love a message in a bottle on a tropical island.