I came across a nifty piece in National Geographic “Five Unmissable Dishes That Define the Maldives”. I’ve sampled 3 of them, but Kulhi Boakibaa, not yet. But if I wanted to, I would head to Riu Atoll where their chef Aritha Fernando not only serves it, but even shares his recipe for you to try at home – “Cooking with love in the Maldives with RIU”:
- “This is a very special dish for our chef, who usually prepares this for her family and she says she has chosen to tell us how to prepare this dish that she is proud to cook on a regular basis for our guests “because it is the perfect blend of traditional Maldivian food and a dash of love. This is not just any old dish but rather one that she learnt from her mother who would cook it for her and her siblings when they were young and it was only once she became a chef that she managed to discover its secret ingredient: a sprinkling of love.”
Stations are the best of both world of buffets and a la carte – the easy and prompt access of buffets with a chance to visually see your food options, combined with the personalisation and reduced food waste of a la carte. And if there is one Maldivian favourite that is very personal to us it is the breakfast delicacy of mashuni. Lori has it nearly every day when we visit. If it’s not on the buffet or menu, she asks the chef if he can make (which he usually can). And she likes it with just the right amount of chili and coconut. So Emerald’s mashuni station was ideal for her.
She said it was the “best Mashuni ever”. Possibly echoing my standard reply to the most frequently asked question I get of “What is the best resort?” I always say, “The is no ‘best resort’…just the best resort for you.” So maybe there is no “best mashuni”, but there is the “best mashuni for you” at Emerald.
Floating breakfasts are becoming a staple of the food-photo-ing Instagrammers at resorts. Kandima was one of the early pioneers of the buoyant buffet and now they have gone a step further in distinction with a special Maldivian fare option:
- “We not only offer the bucket list Floating Breakfast, but we also offer an oh-so-authentic Maldivian Floating Lunch! Savour a truly private floating lunch in your villa pool bursting with exotic Maldivian flavours for an ultimate exclusive experience”
Just right for Lori who Maldivian favourite mashuni. Also, this post has prompted me to add the new tag “Floating Dining” as well as “Maldivian Cuisine” (which I was surprised that I hadn’t done yet).
While the Maldives destination is known for its distinctive blues, at Amilla’s “Mystique Garden” also features a cornucopia of Maldivian greens. And initiative of Sustainability Manager Victoria Kruse (see above) who has collected an extensive range of local produce to grow and feature in all the resort’s cuisine including:
- Moringa Drumstick – A ‘super food’ with leaves like spinash, roots like horseradish and use to make curry.
- Kullhafilafai – Like Maldivian dandelion (see photo directly below)
- Maldivian tea tree
- Loofa – While best known for its scrubbing, it is also produces a healthy veg.
For a full on Maldivian banquet, Maldivian cuisine fused with even more Maldivian cuisine (and a touch of Sri Lankan accompaniment for good measure), steel your belly for Heritance Aarah’s 13 course Laccadive extravaganza at its Ambula restaurant:
- “13-course journey in contemporary Sri Lankan and Maldivian fare at Ambula, dining on curried garlic lobster kottu, oxtail broth and seared tuna thiyal, accompanied by a delicious Colombard wine.” (CondeNast Traveller)
Over two decades I have been to countless “Maldivian Nights” at resort restaurants, but none so extensive as Makunudu’s lavish and authentic spread. Sometimes “Maldivian Night” is primarily little more than a bunch of reef fish curry. But Makunudu’s included all sort of delicacies and ingredients (the photos here provide a sample of the cuisine on offer). My favourite had to be the Fried Tapioca Chips which I had never sampled in all my years visiting despite being a huge tapioca fan.
The American Thanksgiving feast is, as I described yesterday, a feast for food, family and friends. Park Hyatt Hadahaa offers a Maldivian traditional dinner with much the same spirit. Its “Maldivian Family Feast” is presented by a Maldivian host.
It’s not a big buffet for the whole resort island, but rather an intimate gathering. Only 6 guests participate and it has more of a feel like being invited to a Maldivian’s home. A proper home cooked meal with a guided tour of the cuisine and the traditions to “find your way around the table”. What to do with the fish piece in the water and the sauces on offer. All presented at the convenience of your own villa
For the more seafood favouring guests, Hadahaa also offers “Fisherman Dining” ($250 pp) with Maldivian music and food set up also at your villa.
May your day be filled with many blessings and much gratitude.
“Fishermans Day” in the Maldives today celebrates the true main industry and for centuries the mainstay of the Maldives’ existence
And Jumeirah – both Vittaveli and Dhevanafushi properties celebrate and support local Maldives fishermen with their own “Low Miles Menu”…
“Azara and Samsara, restaurants at Jumeirah Dhevanafushi and Jumeirah Vittaveli in the Maldives, have unveiled a new ‘Low Miles’ menu as part of an on-going commitment to reduce the hotels’ carbon-footprints. The new ‘Low Miles’ menu makes the most of local, fresh ingredients to preserve the idyllic surroundings as well as offer a delicious taste of traditional Maldivian cuisine. By utilising ingredients sourced nearby, the chefs are able to ensure minimal air and sea miles are required to bring the food to the resort, minimising the harmful greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere. The localised set menu offers a truly sustainable, and delicious, culinary experience, with dishes such as Reef Fish Pappillote with Vegetables, Coconut and Chili or Mild Yellow Fish Curry with Chapatti, Mango Chutney and Local Herb Salad. And, for dessert, guests can indulge in a Maldivian Fruit Cocktail served with Biscuit and a Local Custard Cream or Fried Local Banana Fritters served with Island made Coconut Ice Cream. Guests at Jumeirah Vittaveli can also enjoy the menu as destination dining, choosing a private stretch of white sandy beach for a romantic meal or a celebration among friends”
Most resorts make a point of sourcing what they can locally, especially the abundant fresh reef fish, but Jumeirah has made it a design point for two of its restaurants that dovetails nicely with its general native Maldives inspired architecture and decoration throughout the resort. While the Maldives’ remoteness does mean that some (especially luxury) items do need to be brought in from far away, their reef fish is probably the lowest mile food item of any resort in the world often sourced from just feet from the dining room.