I love street food. Little bite-sized morsels that give you a real taste of the place that you are visiting. At the market, on a street corner or at the beach; anywhere you go in Mauritius you’ll find delectable snacks. With such a diverse population, you’ll always find something new and interesting. Here are some of my favourites:
This is a little deep fried dough ball, filled with lentils. If you want to (and I strongly recommend you do), the vendor will break it open and drizzle a chutney over it. I had the most amazing Chana Puri at the market in Mahebourg, doused with The Best Ever Coconut Chutney. Street stalls that sell Chana Puri also sell all sorts of other deep fried snacks, go wild and taste one of each! They are usually around Rs 5 each (EUR 10c), so no need to hold back.
Similar to a Chinese dim sum, boulette are little dumplings made with fish, pork, vegetables or meat, served in a tasty broth and drizzled with spring onion and green chili paste. Sometimes, you also have the option of adding noodles. Personally, I really like the vegetarian and pork ones, with noodles and a dash of chili (beware, the Mauritian chili is HOT). My favourite place to enjoy them is Tamarin Beach, while watching the surfers, and sometimes spotting dolphins.
Another little deep fried snack, and probably one of the most famous ones. It’s a small dough ball, made with lentils, chili and herbs. Although the name means chili cake, they are not very hot but that can always be cured by dipping them in chili paste. Make sure you get them fresh and still warm, as they tend to get dry fairly quickly. The best Gauteaux Piment I’ve ever tasted was at Gris Gris Snacks, run by an energetic and high-spirited lady called Poonam. Be sure to have a chat to her!
Another Chinese style food. More a full meal than a snack, but too good not to include here. You can chose between fried or boiled noodles (the fried ones are drier whereas the boiled ones are served in a broth), and then you select your ingredients (chicken, egg, beef etc.). Ajay’s in Quatre Bornes serve the best fried noodles on the island in my opinion. It is small and crowded, and a favourite with the locals.
Another classic street food. A flat bread, made either with flour or peas, filled with lentil stew, chili paste and tomato salsa. I prefer the flour bread, as the one made with peas tends to get a bit dry. As for the filling, ask for a bit of everything! This is very popular with the locals, so just head for the stall with the longest queue and you won’t go wrong.
My favourite beach snack! Small, incredibly sweet pineapples are peeled and quartered, then doused with a chili sauce and drizzled with chili salt. The combination of sweet, hot and salty is phenomenal, and totally worth the red, burning lips you inevitably will have afterwards. Nevermind, just take a dip in the sea to rinse sticky fingers and cool down your lips!
For an in-depth article about Mauritian street food (and the reason I found Poonam), check out this article by the truly talented Ishay from Food and the Fabulous.