May 14

The Ultimate Guide To Maldives Food & Resort Dining

aerial view of two couples sitting and eating at a table

Maldivian Cuisine: The Ultimate Guide To Maldives Food & Resort Dining

Many travelers visit the Maldives for its stunning scenery, exciting excursions, and romantic ambiance. However, many don’t realize this tropical destination is famous for its cuisine. Indulging in the local food is a big part of exploring and understanding this tropical destination and its culture. 

Known as Maldivian cuisine or Dhivehi cuisine, the food of the Maldives is a delightful combination of South Asian influences with a big emphasis on seafood due to its location in the Indian Ocean. Those traveling to the islands will find traditional Maldivian food served at local eateries, restaurants, and Sun Siyam Resorts, where our chefs prepare authentic fare and other international dishes. 

In our guide to Maldives food and resort dining, we’ll dig into the Maldivian traditional food you can expect to see on the menu and explore some of the other dining options available on your island holiday. Whether you’re an adventurous foodie looking to sample every last morsel of Maldivian fare or a more cautious eater learning to expand their palette, these islands are the perfect place to broaden your culinary horizons. 

So, follow along and bring your appetite to your next getaway in the Maldives! 

The Flavor Palette of Maldivian Cuisine

It helps to picture where the Maldives are on the map so that people can fully understand and embrace Maldivian food.

The island chain sits along the equator in the north-central Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka and southeast of the Middle East. Given its proximity to those regions, the Maldives' traditional food shares many of the same ingredients, flavors, and spices as the cuisine of its neighbors. 

For instance, many Maldivian dishes are rice-based with ingredients like coconut, curry leaves, cumin, chili and cardamon, giving off sweet, tangy, and sometimes spicy notes often associated with Indian, Sri Lankan, and Middle Eastern dishes. 

Also, as water surrounds the Maldives, fish is naturally a staple in the cuisine, particularly tuna. Some different kinds of tuna include yellow, frigate and little tunny, while other fish varieties include wahoo and mahi mahi. Maldivian curries, soups, snacks and even breakfast dishes often feature fish as the main ingredient.

Traditional Maldivian Dishes to Try

maldives dish displayed for dinner

Any holiday in the Maldives must include sampling the many traditional dishes served on the island. If you’re new to eating Maldives food, begin with one of these favorites.

Mas Huni is the name for a traditional Maldivian breakfast dish, which features fresh tuna with coconut, onion, chili and lime paired with a flatbread called roshi. This meal often comes with a side of hot, sweetened tea. 

Garudhiya is another common menu item. It refers to a simple, clear fish broth. The recipe typically includes fish, water and salt, but sometimes includes other ingredients for additional flavour, such as chili, lime and onion. Many locals eat Garudhiya with rice or roshi. 

Other common dishes include Fihunu Mas, a baked or barbecued fish, and many different curries, like a fish curry called Mas Riha. As for snacks, Masroshi and Hedhikaa are finger foods, usually served with afternoon tea. 

Exploring Resort Dining in the Maldives

couple dining on a beach at night in chairs made of sand

The beauty of staying at any of the Sun Siyam Resorts is that you can dine on cuisine from around the world without stepping foot off the resort property. The food is absolutely divine at our resorts, and the dining experiences are second to none, too.

After all, these resorts go above and beyond to create an inviting dining atmosphere. For instance, Sun Siyam Iru Veli’s Grouper Grill boasts an open-air kitchen with seating overlooking the sand and sea. At the same time, the Sunset Restaurant at Sun Siyam Olhuveli features live cooking stations and a dining room on an overwater deck.

Our resorts have casual buffets, grills and gastro pubs. Dine at a fine gourmet restaurant or eat under the stars at a private table for two. Whether you’re dining with your toes in the sand at Sun Siyam Iru Fushi’s Islander’s Grill or indulging in a decadent meal in an intimate wine cellar at Siyam World’s Barrique, the thoughtful ambiance at each dining experience compliments the expertly curated menus.

As for cuisine, Sun Siyam Resorts pull out all the steps. If you’re craving Maldivian traditional food, you’ll find authentic island fare at restaurants like Kaage at Siyam World. If you’re in the mood for European dishes, there are many options, like the Italian offerings at Sun Siyam Vilu Reef’s The Spice and French-inspired offerings at Sun Siyam Iru Fushi’s’ Flavours

With restaurants specializing in eclectic global cuisine like Thai, Japanese, Indian and much more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Vegetarian and Special Diet Options

Sun Siyam Resorts are eager to cater to your dietary preferences, but it’s important to notify us of any dietary restrictions in advance.

You’ll find many vegan and vegetarian options at our restaurants and buffets as we feature a wide range of menu items. To help our diners navigate our menu, we include icons next to each item, showing whether the dish has nuts, gluten, lactose, eggs, meat, pork or seafood. We also highlight vegetarian and gluten-free options, making finding a dish that suits your dietary needs easier. 

If you’re curious about vegetarian options offered by Maldives food, several popular dishes don’t contain meat. Look for options like Mas Huni, a tofu dish with onions, coconut and chilis, and the sweet and spicy vegetable curry called Maa Laa Ruz. When in doubt, inquire with the locals or resort staff, and they’ll be pleased to offer vegetarian suggestions.

Dining Etiquette and Cultural Considerations

waiter and couple at a table. The waiter is showing the couple a bottle of wine

There is some dining etiquette to be mindful of when traveling to the Maldives. For one, eating with your hands is customary, so don’t be surprised if you see locals using their fingers to scoop rice onto their plates or roll up curry. Following this tradition, avoid using your left hand to pick up food and pass plates and focus on using your right hand instead. 

Because this country practices Islam, some additional dining considerations are associated with the religion. For example, alcohol is reserved only for tourists and prohibited outside the resorts. During the religious observation of Ramadan, locals practice strict fasting rules from sunrise to sunset, and restaurants and eateries outside of the resorts will likely be closed, with on-site resort restaurants continuing to serve meals as usual.

Understanding these customs can help you respect and enjoy the culture and cuisine during your stay. 

Sustainable Dining and Seafood

The Maldives is committed to sustainable fishing practices to help preserve the local ecosystem and protect their natural resources. They have banned fishing with trawl nets and instead use “pole and line” fishing and “hand-line” fishing, which involve catching fish one by one to prevent unwanted bycatch. They also have strict rules, such as prohibiting the removal of coral, to help protect and preserve the local marine life. 

Furthermore, the island country has eco-dining initiatives that promote using locally and ethically sourced ingredients. For instance, our Sun Siyam resorts have three bio farms on the islands that supply local produce and help reduce our carbon footprint. We even offer tours to our local island farms for guests interested in learning more about our farming practices. 

Cooking Classes and Culinary Experiences

A couple pouring cocktails they made into a glass with the help of a bartender

The food of the Maldives is sure to leave a lasting impression on you, so why not learn the art of cooking it for yourself? At some of our resorts, such as Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, we offer cooking classes, where you’ll receive instruction on cooking authentic Maldivian and Thai meals from scratch. These interactive classes invite you to learn all the ins and outs of cooking this delicious cuisine so you can whip up the unique tastes and flavors in your kitchen when you return home. 

Eat Your Way Through the Maldives Today

Sampling the Maldives’ food promises to deliver unique insight into this captivating destination as you discover its many influences and learn about the local customs and cultures.

Take your tastebuds on a journey through the Maldives when you book your holiday in this tropical paradise today. During your resort stay with us, you can indulge in a culinary adventure, where you’ll spend your getaway sampling cuisine from near and far. With so many delicious and decadent options, deciding what to eat for your next meal becomes half the fun! So reserve your island escape with us, and be sure to arrive with an appetite.