The Fusion of Local Taste with International Cuisine in the Maldives

How local tastes in the Maldives fused together with international cuisine to produce tastes exclusive to the Maldives
Local fusion of Noodles with Valhomas | Photo via Lonumedhu

For a traveler, one of the most intriguing things about a certain country or city, undeniably would be its culture. The culture that speaks for the ages of rich history in everything that could be found in that country. Modernization of architecture, preferences of the everyday lifestyle of locals and most important of all; the evolution of local cuisine through time.

When the Maldivian food industry was taking baby steps one at a time into the grounds of international cuisines, the demand for exquisite cuisines like the Thai, Chinese, as well as many other Western and Continental dishes skyrocketed. The industry grew and flourished to present a number of different tastes from all over the world. This in turn not only gave us Maldivians the feeling of traveling with a single dish, but it inspired and motivated us to bring back a touch of the classical tastes from decades ago into our favorite delicacies, both national and international.

It is a well-known fact in the history of Maldives and its varieties of fish, that smoked fish or ‘Valhomas’ has remained as one of the most popular types used in everyday meals, from curries to types of rice and noodles. Although it might have been a taste ‘too common’ about 15 years ago, the popularity is so much on the rise today, that almost no small café has a menu without it while there is a café named entirely after it, the Valhomas Café.

Taking a glance at the International and Maldivian mashup foods, Italy’s pride, the pizza is a noticeable item. Thanks to the take-out pizza house Stone Oven, we now have Rehi pizza. Rehi is a slightly smaller version of anchovies called Silver Sprats mainly used in marine fishing as bait which has been a much-loved side dish throughout the country, fried in oil or baked in the sun. Another item on this list is the Garudhiya soup served by Symphony, which is a Maldivian version of the Tom Yum soup from the Thai cuisine. It is slightly thicker than the side dish Garudhiya — made for eating alongside rice or roshi —with small chunks of fresh tuna boiled in water topped with a bit of salt to taste along with an addition of habanero chilies, lemon and few curry leaves for flavoring.

The Maldives being one of the most desired destinations worldwide for the perfect time by the beach with the family, or a romantic get-away with your loved one, these special dishes are a must try during the stay. The Maldivian food industry has come a long way, from using tuna only in our local cuisine, to providing us with barbequed tuna steak as well as taking fine dining to a new level in various resorts and fusing international cuisines with our very own traditional ingredients. With 20 atolls in the country, the chances open up to innumerable variations among even the simplest dishes available here.

Apart from the historic monuments, the hint of avant-garde in our menus wherever you go is definitely worth exploring. Somewhere in a random café or restaurant, could be your next favorite dish waiting to be discovered. The time is now; surprise your curiosity to indulge your taste buds in something new the next time you get a chance to visit the Sunny Side of Life!