Maldivian Cuisine

From delicious seafood to warming curries

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Tasty and fresh, Maldivian food makes good use of the island's locally caught fish, drawing flavours from the fragrant, coconut based curries of southern India and Sri Lanka. Local ingredients include seafood like tuna, grouper, octopus and swordfish, as well as refreshing watermelons. Otherwise, a great deal of food is imported to these tiny islands.


You can't go to the Maldives without tasting the ultra-fresh, succulent local seafood. Treat yourself to marinated lobster or chargrilled king prawns. Sit down to salty snapper or chunky tuna steak, served with lentil-based side dishes or steamed rice and vegetables.


Fish and seafood are the main ingredients in most traditional Maldivian curries, although you'll find chicken and beef on the menu too. Creamy, spicy and flavoured with coconut, these dishes are served with rice, roshi (an unleavened bread) and papadhu, Maldivian poppadoms.

Sweet dishes

Maldivians often end their meals with custard, bodibaiy (sugary sweet rice) or tropical fruits like papayas, mangoes, bananas and island grown watermelons.

Street food

Your best bet for local street food is in Malé, the Maldives' island capital. Head to the markets and cafés where you will find traditional Maldivian snacks, most of which are made using the island's number one ingredient; freshly caught fish. Here are some of the local favourites:

  • Bajiya - Pastry stuffed with fish, coconut and onions
  • Kulhi borkibaa - Spicy fish cakes
  • Gulha - Pastry balls filled with smoked fish
  • Theluli mas - Fried fish with chilli and garlic
  • Kavaabu - Deep-fried snacks made from rice, tuna, coconut, lentils and spices

Prices of food vary from resort to resort. In Malé, you can expect to spend around 15 US Dollars on a meal for two in a mid-range restaurant and around 60 Cents on a 1.5 litre bottle of water.

Top Tips from our Experts


Destination Specialist

"Dining in the resorts is excellent and varied with many award winning restaurants to choose from, but the most important decision is location. Dine over the water with lanterns illuminating the sea, an idyllic time to spot marine life and feel the cooler breeze. How about under water? OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo and Hurawalhi Island Resort both have restaurants nearly six metres under water."