One of the best ways to learn about the history of Mauritius. is by eating! People have only lived on the island for about 400 years, but many diverse groups have brought their own cooking styles.
The first people who came to Mauritius were the Dutch. They arrived in 17th century, but left quickly.
The next people to arrive were the French, who came in the 18th century. The French brought workers from China to help them build cities. These Chinese workers introduced the island to dishes like fried rice and sticky cakes called Nian Gao. Over time, these Chinese foods mixed with traditional French food. The mixing of different cuisines created unique new recipes.
One example of a unique Mauritian dish is Bol Renverse. Bol Renserve contains meat or fish, veggies, and a fried egg on top of rice. It’s served in a bowl that is flipped upside down onto your plate. When it’s time to eat, the bowl is taken off to reveal a delicious dish underneath.
In the 19th century, the British ruled the island. During the early years of British rule, slavery was still legal. African slaves were brought to Mauritius, and these slaves brought their own flavors, too.
Slavery on Mauritius ended in the 1830s. The British brought indentured laborers from India to replace the slaves and work in the sugarcane fields. Hundreds of thousands of Indian people came to the island, bringing with them dishes like spicy curries.
Mauritian food is packed with flavors because it was located along the Spice Route. In the 16th century, the French, British, and the Dutch began to buy spices from India and Southeast Asia to sell in Europe. Located in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius was a popular spot to rest, eat, refuel, and trade. Eventually, spice plants like cinnamon and nutmeg began to grow in Mauritius, and all those flavors found their way into the food!
Mauritius is food heaven, and there’s something for everyone here! I’ve tried food that I’ve never seen anywhere else, but the spicy Indian food is my favorite.
What different types of cuisine can be found in your community?