The Maldives are a unique melting pot of Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, Asian and African influences. These heady mix can be seen in everything from music and dance to local cuisine and traditional crafts.

A culturally rich country whose traditions are reflected in every facet of life, the Maldives are known around the world for their beaches and tropical climate. However, it’s the country’s vibrant culture that really sets it apart from other beach destinations.

You’ll find strong South Asian influences here, with a lot of the country’s food influenced by curries and roshi, a flatbread that is often eaten alongside the main course. In addition, there are plenty of other local dishes that are worth trying.

Soups are a common feature on the menu, with tuna often served as a main course. There are also delicious snacks such as Gulha, a lip-smacking version of dumplings.

Fish soups such as ‘Garudhiya’ are popular too, with chillies and onions added to a rich broth made from concentrated fish stock. It’s a perfect way to experience the local flavours of this Indian Ocean nation.

There’s a variety of other seafood to try, too. You’ll likely see grouper, swordfish and octopus in the fish market.

Despite the modernisation of the islands, the traditional ways of life remain. Those who want to experience the Maldivian lifestyle should make time for a day trip to a nearby village island, where you’ll see locals in their everyday lives.

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