The Maldives is a tropical country that lies within the Indian Ocean. The archipelago is surrounded by blue waters and is home to a diverse marine ecosystem.
The first Maldivian resort opened in 1972 and the tourism industry has since transformed the economy. Although fishing still plays a major role, it is no longer the main source of income. The development of tourism has created a range of other related business opportunities and the economy continues to grow as a result.
Seafood is a mainstay of the local cuisine, but it’s not all that Maldivian food has to offer. Influences from India, Arabia and Southeast Asia have given Maldivian cooking a distinctive symphony of flavours. Indian traders introduced a treasure trove of spices, including cumin and cardamom, while Arabian influence brought methods of marinating meats and fishes. Southeast Asian traders also gave Maldivians an infusion of coconut goodness – coconut milk, oil and grated coconut are essential ingredients in many dishes.
The Maldives has a rich cultural identity that reflects the country’s diverse historical heritage. Traditional music and dance display strong influences from East Africa, India and Arabia. The Maldives is also home to a variety of craft traditions; lacquered wooden ornaments and finely woven reed mats are a couple of examples.