Savor the Flavors: Five Traditional Maldivian Dishes You Can't Miss

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Renowned for its picturesque landscapes of white-sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters, the Maldives also offers a vibrant culinary landscape that captivates travelers. The coconut palm tree holds great cultural and historical significance to the Maldivian people.  Maldivians use the coconut to create coconut milk for creamy curries and oil for frying. The marine environment provides an abundant source of fresh seafood, with daily catches of tuna, wahoo, and mahi-mahi featured in barbecues, curries, and soups. These ingredients reflect the archipelago's natural bounty, shaping a cuisine deeply rooted in its surroundings.

Ancient trade routes introduced the Maldives to the cultures of its many neighbors. Traditional Maldivian food blends flavors from Mediterranean, Persian, Indian, and Sri Lankan cultures. As with many cultures, food is the cornerstone of Maldivian culture. It is meant to be shared and celebrated. Guesthouses and local restaurants offer visitors a taste of traditional Maldivian cuisine and eagerly share their food.  Want to live like a local?  Here are five traditional Maldivian dishes you must try to experience the true essence of Maldivian cuisine.


Garudhiya is a beloved traditional Maldivian fish soup renowned for its fragrant aroma and savory broth. This traditional Maldivian dish features fresh chunks of yellowfin tuna or skipjack seasoned with ginger, garlic, black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Chilli and grated coconut add a touch of heat and richness, making each spoonful a delightful experience.

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The beauty of Garudhiya lies in its simplicity and adaptability. For those seeking an extra kick, curry leaves and dry chilies can be added. Enjoy Garudhiya on its own, or pair it with steamed rice to savor the flavorful broth. For a different twist, try it with roshi, the Maldivian chapati, or serve it with grilled reef fish or torn pieces of bread for a heartier meal.  Garudhiya is not only a delicious and comforting Maldivian dish but also a healthy choice. It is low in fats and rich in proteins, making it an ideal option for any meal. 

Mas Huni

A staple traditional Maldivian breakfast, Mas Huni combines finely shredded smoked tuna with grated coconut, lemon, and chili, all scooped up with roshi, a traditional Maldivian flatbread. This nutritious and filling dish will keep you energized all morning. Found in guesthouses across Horsburgh Atoll and served with enthusiasm, Mas Huni is beloved for its simplicity and rich flavors.

The name Mas Huni translates to "fish and coconut" (mas = fish, huni = coconut), perfectly describing its main ingredients. The dish includes finely chopped smoked tuna, fresh grated coconut, thinly sliced onions, and a touch of finely chopped Scotch bonnet chili for heat. A generous squeeze of lemon juice ties everything together with a refreshing tang, and a pinch of salt enhances the flavors.  In addition to roshi, some variations of Mas Huni may also be enjoyed with steamed rice or other types of bread, but roshi remains the most popular and authentic accompaniment.

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Huni Roshi

A variation of the traditional Maldivian flatbread roshi, Huni Roshi is a culinary adventure in itself. It incorporates grated coconut into the dough, adding a subtle sweetness and unique texture that takes this staple to a whole new level. The coconut shavings enhance the flavor and contribute to the bread's delightful softness and slightly crispy exterior. Whether you're a local or a visitor, this versatile flatbread is a must-try, offering a unique and delicious twist to the Maldivian culinary experience.

Traditionally, Maldivian locals enjoy Huni Roshi with spicy rihaakuru, a thick and flavorful fish paste made from tuna.  The versatility of Huni Roshi extends far beyond this classic pairing. It can be part of a breakfast or lunch spread or a dinner option paired with various Maldivian curries or chutneys. The mildly sweet Huni Roshi complements these accompaniments' rich, savory flavors.  Its versatility and distinct taste make Huni Roshi a must-try for anyone looking to delve into authentic Maldivian cuisine.

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Kulhi Boakibaa

Kulhi Boakibaa, or Spicy Maldivian Fish Cake, ranks among the most popular snacks in the Maldives. Often referred to as a 'short eat,' Kulhi Boakibaa is a staple at tea times and festive gatherings. This savory fish cake blends finely ground fish, typically tuna, with grated coconut, rice, and a variety of spices. Shaped into small cakes, they are baked until golden and crispy on the outside while remaining tender and flavorful on the inside. The combination of fresh fish and aromatic spices makes Kulhi Boakibaa a delightful treat that showcases the rich culinary traditions of the Maldives.

Handulu Bondibai

Handulu Bondibai is a traditional Maldivian dessert that brings a sweet conclusion to any meal. This delicious rice pudding is made with rice, sugar, thick coconut milk, and cinnamon, offering a rich and creamy texture. The coconut milk provides a velvety smoothness, while the cinnamon adds a warm, aromatic note that elevates the dish.  Festive events are only complete with a sweet treat.  Maldivians serve Handulu Bondibai at festive events, family gatherings, and religious celebrations.

Hungry For More?  Discover Additional Maldivian Experiences

Indulging in these dishes is a must for travelers seeking an authentic Maldivian culinary experience. Visit local guesthouses and restaurants to savor these traditional dishes and immerse yourself in the Maldivian lifestyle. To learn more about the “real” Maldives and plan your island adventure, continue the journey by visiting the Horseburgh Atoll homepage. Come and eat like an islander, and let the authentic tastes of Maldivian cuisine enhance your visit to this tropical paradise.