Rodrigues is a treasure trove of delectable food experiences. It is an agrarian society that still largely depends on agriculture and fishing. Tourism is a direct outcome of its exceptional scenic beauty. A visit to Rodrigues offers some unique dining experiences to tourists. And you can work up an appetite by shopping for the wide range of souvenirs made from natural products available here.
The cuisine here has a distinct French and Indian influence. As with many other coastal regions, seafood is an intrinsic part of their culture.
In our Rodrigues restaurant guide below you will find information about the food and cuisine of Rodrigues, as well as some great places for eating out. Every dining experience is sure to relax you, especially after a long day of sightseeing and shopping .
Seafood is fresh and of very good quality. Other food items that feature on the menu use plenty of the local produce - limes, honey and chillies. There is a lot to appease your palate. Rodrigues is known for its fresh fish, prawns and octopus. The many Mauritians going to and from the Island can't resist taking some of the fresh seafood along with them, even though it is forbidden to carry these items on board flights.
Most dishes are curries with a base of tomatoes to which dried octopus or ourite is often added for a special flavour. If you are not that keen on seafood, don't lose heart. There is plenty of choice available such as chicken, free range fowls and the local ham.
As far as dining out experiences go, do not expect any ostentatious restaurants or a scintillating night life. Most restaurants and bistros fill out in the evenings with informal groups of locals, chatting, gossiping, playing dominos, and enjoying the local rum, which is quite potent. You will almost never see women in these bars and bistros.
There is almost no nightlife to speak of in Rodrigues. A very quiet calm descends over the island soon after dark. The capital Port Mathurin has a few discotheques and formal dining restaurants. Two places frequented by tourists are the Baie aux Huitres and Anse aux Anglaise. You can spend some evenings checking out cultural shows or dance recitals at some leading hotels.
Rodrigues has a unique vegetation that finds its way into the local cuisine - aloe veras, lataniers, casuarinas, vetiver and lemon are common ingredients. Vielle-fille is a plant with pink blossoms which are used to make a popular local beverage. Apart from these one of a kind ingredients, the cuisine of Rodrigues borrows extensively from Chinese, European and Creole influences. Some popular dishes include breads made from dholl (dholl puri), different kinds of dumplings (niouk nien) or Chinese fried noodles (mine-frit).
Rice is also eaten in great quantities. However, the strongest influence is of Indian food with a similar accent on spices such as cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and saffron. The food is often tempered with herbs such as curry leaves, basil and thyme. Basil is popularly consumed in another form - Alouda, a milk based beverage flavoured with basil seeds.
You are likely to come across many unusual plants that are unique to Rodrigues and that add a definite zing and aroma to the food. These are café marron or brown coffee, bois chauve souris or bat wood, bois pipe or pipe wood, bois de mangue or mango wood, bois de fer or iron wood, bois puant or stinking wood and bois cabri or goat wood.
It is interesting to delve into the history of the various cuisines of Rodrigues. Records report that Dutch settlers came to the island in the 17th century with the intention of setting up a farming colony of Protestant refugees. The local climate conditions were not conducive to their style of agriculture. So they had to resort to eating local livestock such as birds, fish, seafood, turtles and tortoises for survival. It was much later in the 18th century that the French come here with their African slaves and started organised agriculture and cattle breeding. Many of the present day Rodriguans are descendants of these French slaves.