The enchanting island nation of Maldives is a paradise in the Indian Ocean. Its rich heritage has evolved from the many influences over the centuries that have shaped its culture and traditions. Maldivians are renowned for their hospitality and vibrant traditions as well as their mouth-watering cuisine.
Seafood features heavily in Maldivian dishes. Tuna is especially popular, with frigate tuna (raagondi), little tunny (latti) and skipjack tuna being among the most widely used species. Other seafood includes wahoo (kurumas), mackerel scad (rimmas) and bigeye scad (mushimas). Fish curries are also very common in Maldivian cuisine, which is generally served with rice and roshi. One such dish is golha riha which has become an important part of the culture and is particularly associated with Fridays.
Many of the islands have strong South Asian and Indian influences which are evident in the food, music and dance. However, the country’s early settlers were seafarers from various parts of the world, traversing the oceans and trading with other nations. For this reason, there are also a number of African elements in the country’s culture, including rhythmic drumming and songs which sing about adventures at sea and the use of cowrie shells and coir fibre from coconut husks as currency.
Islam is the state religion of the Maldives and alcohol consumption is forbidden on inhabited islands. Nevertheless, most resorts serve alcoholic beverages and many restaurants have a wide variety of international cuisine. Foreigners are expected to dress modestly, covering their legs and shoulders at all times outside of resorts and mosques. It’s also a good idea to remove shoes before entering a home or mosque.