“I once saw a foreigner eat Roshi (flat bread) and Rihaakuru (fish paste) in the most peculiar way. He took a Roshi, and poured Rihaakuru all over it and started eating. People stared in awe – because he was eating all that Rihaakuru without even flinching”, one of my friends narrated a funny moment she had once witnessed.
Maldives enjoys thousands of tourists every year who visit the “paradise on Earth” to experience its sandy beaches and lush greenery. With islands scattered across the Indian Ocean like pearls on a floor, the country has become the ultimate destination for honeymooners across the globe. But apart from the blood red sunsets and gorgeous moonlit nights, Maldives is also famous for its cuisine, locally known as “Dhivehi Keun”. However, everyone is seen enjoying Maldivian food the way it is meant to be.
“There was this other time when I witnessed something similar. A foreigner had ordered a rice and fish curry – and he went onto eat the rice and then drink the curry separately like it was some kind of a soup. I was shocked that he didn’t find it that spicy,” another friend revealed with a faint laughter.
“Dhivehi Keun” as unique as it is, is in fact quite simple in nature. There’s plenty of ways to eat it, but without knowing the proper way one would have to leave everything to their imagination.
“Roshi and Rihaakuru”
If you take “Roshi and Rihaakuru” for an example; it’s one of the most common breakfast dishes in the country, almost an essential in each household. Eating it the proper way is quite simple. You just have to tear a piece of the “Roshi” or the disc and dip a bit of the piece in “Rihaakuru” and then eat that piece. “Roshi and Rihaakuru” is commonly eaten like this, piece by piece.
“Roshi and Mashuni/Kulhimas”
Another similar breakfast dish is “Roshi and Mashuni” – Mashuni is a mixture of fish, white coconut meat and other spices. To eat this dish the proper way, you tear the “Roshi” into pieces – preferably bigger in size – and wrap it around some “Mashuni” and then eat. This method is used for “Kulhimas” as well – which is a spicy dish made out of fish. The “Kulhi” stands for spicy and “Mas” stands for fish. In fact, this method of eating is used for all “dry” breakfast dishes, which makes up about 90% of “Dhivehi Sai” – or Maldivian Breakfast.
“Garudhiya and Riha”
Once you’re done with breakfast, it’s time for “Mendhuru Keun” or lunch. For lunch, Maldivians usually prefer eating white rice with a curry. Though there are various types of curry, the most common type is “Garudhiya” and Fish Curry. While “Garudhiya” is not spicy in nature, Fish Curry is. To enjoy these authentic Maldivian dishes, all you have to do is put some rice in a plate and mix it with the curry of your choice – for example take some rice, pour some fish curry into it and then just enjoy your meal.
But if you choose “Garudhiya” over other curries, you receive an added bonus since you could take up some side dishes and items to go with it such as lemons, chili, onion, fried fish, leaves and so on.
“Baiy-pen and Mas Kurolhi”
Baiy-pen or porridge is a soup-like dish Maldivians prefer with any or every meal. It’s not necessarily a breakfast, lunch or dinner dish since most Maldivians have it anytime they prefer. Plus, there is no set way to drink it either, since it varies from person to person.
Though some of the common ways to have the porridge in the Maldives is by putting some “Mas Kurolhi” into it – which is yet another spectacular blend of spices, fish and coconut white meat.
So maybe next time when you visit the country, make sure to try out these authentic methods to enjoy the local cuisine the way it is supposed to be enjoyed! It’s not that hard, and if you ever get confused try asking around. Maldivians are quite known for their hospitality too.