The Maldives is a nation of coral islands scattered across the Indian Ocean. Its economy mainly revolves around tourism and a large number of resorts are developed for the upper end of the tourist market.
A melting pot of cultures, the Maldives has seen many people from different countries settle here over several centuries. Their cultural heritage includes elements from East Africa, Sri Lanka, India and Malaya.
Food, music and dance reflect this. Local dishes mainly feature fish and coconuts. Aside from these staples, spices are also commonplace in Maldivian cuisine, showing the influence of Indian culture.
One of the most popular dishes in Maldives is Garudiya, which is basically a clear fish broth. It is made from tuna and other fresh fish and gets its flavour from onions, curry leaves and chillis.
It is usually served hot and can be eaten alongside a bowl of rice. Another dish that is commonly eaten is the Gulha, which is a deep fried momo-type dumpling stuffed with flaked tuna and coconuts.
A traditional Maldivian snack, these bite-sized fried dumplings are made from wheat or rice flour and stuffed with tuna, coconut and onion. They are a favourite amongst locals and tourists alike.
The country’s former President Mohamed Nasheed was credited with modernising the Maldives and introducing many changes, including a modern curriculum in schools and granting women the right to vote. However, he was forced to resign after months of violent protests against his government, which led to riots and a State of Emergency.