4 Traditional Dishes in the Maldives That You Should Add To Your Foodie Bucket List

Since returning to Atlanta, one of the things I’ve struggled with is getting used to American food again. I truly enjoyed the seafood, vegetables and curry on Rasdhoo in the Maldives. Or, maybe what I miss most of all is never needing to cook my own meals for a change!

During the first few days, I think I worried the chef at Rasdhoo Coralville a little as I never finished meals. As the days progressed, however, I began to develop favourites. Over time, these were ousted by new loves, leaving these last remaining four that I highly recommend.

1. Garudhiya Baiy

Garudhiya Baiy Maldives.jpg

I tried this once after Yameen, the hotel manager, mentioned that his mother had made some for him earlier that day. I was instantly hooked and had this once per day thereafter.

  • The bowl on the left is a clear broth made with real tuna.
  • I believe the fried fish is snapper, but I could be wrong. The parts that look burned are actually browned gravy and skin pieces.
  • To the right is the chilli paste that made me fall in love with this dish. It is very spicy and may leave you crying tears of joy at the end of the meal. After trying the sauce with this meal, I requested it with other meals it would not have traditionally been eaten with.
  • Of course, the bottom plate is plain white rice.
Garudhiya Baiy Maldives Rasdhoo Coralville.jpg

When locals eat this meal, they break up the fish with their hands and mix it into the rice. They then spoon the broth over the rice and stir it all together with chilli paste. I earned a few eye rolls from Yameen as I drank my broth as soup and ate the rice with the fish and chilli paste.

2. Curry Meal

You may be wondering why I separated these two. Honestly, they taste completely different to me. The curry sauce is the same, but the potatoes and vegetables add a different flavour and texture to the vegetable version than the seafood.

Vegetarian Curry Meal

Vegetable Curry Meal Maldives.jpg

Before I fell in love with the chilli paste, this was the dish I asked for every day. There are a lot of different Maldivian curry dishes to try and this one was my favourite. The bowl of curry included vegetables and potatoes. Once again, there was a side of white rice. The oranges are not a specific part of the meal. Every meal I was served at the restaurant came with a side of fruits.

I spooned the curry onto the rice for this meal. I did not find this to be spicy at all but my Jamaican tolerance for spice is higher than most Americans.

Tuna Curry Meal

Tuna Curry Meal Maldives.jpg

The first day I arrived, I ordered the tuna curry meal. A chicken version is also available. This was one of the meals I never finished but not for the reasons you might imagine. It was delicious, but with a belly full of adventure and eyes lacking sleep, I retired to bed.

3. Spicy Beans & Toast

Baked Beans and Toast Maldives Rasdhoo Coralville.jpg

I ordered this as beans and toast in the Maldives, but it does contain tuna. It reminded me of saltfish and beans in Jamaica, but with fewer spices. The first time I had it, I thought it was okay, but wasn’t keen on having it a second time.

Maldives Chilli Paste.jpg

However, after discovering that chilli paste, I began to wonder how the two would taste together. It was a match made in heaven. Even if you don’t add enough to make the beans spicy, the chilli adds a different flavour, I think you will love. As far as I know, the locals don’t usually mix chilli paste with this dish.

4. Grilled or Barbecued Fish

Grilled Fish Maldives.jpg

It’s a pity I don’t have more pictures of this as it’s a staple on the island. This fish is seasoned with the chilli paste and then grilled over an open flame. Once it’s cooked, they slice it to make it easier to eat.

At the restaurant, I ate this with with a side of rice and used utensils. When we ate this at the picnic, we piled food onto our plates using utensils but ate with our hands.


These are just some of the many dishes I fell in love with. In fact, my absolute favourite dish at the hotel isn’t even on here. I’m saving that for my list of the best dishes for pescetarians or pesco-vegetarians who visit the Maldives. But, that’s a post for another day. Maybe next week? We’ll see.

Please note that aside from eating with the locals, the hotel was the only place I had my meals. They had a wide selection of dishes (including sandwiches, pizza, and pasta) and I could pick whatever I wanted for each meal. The cost of my meal plan for 11 days was $230.

Do you have any favourite foods from exotic locations you’ve visited? Tell me about them in the comments below. 

9 thoughts on “4 Traditional Dishes in the Maldives That You Should Add To Your Foodie Bucket List

  1. i cant do spicy hot food. i dont mind very mild spice, but anything more spicy than very mild i just can not handle.
    when i had jerk in Jamaica, i asked for mild and if i eat indian curry food, it also has to be mild. my poor tummy can not handle spicy hot. lol

    i think i will be back in VA when you are here in CA. it would have been interesting to meet you.

    1. Really? You’re missing out! I Iove spicy food. Most dishes taste better spicy. 🙃

      He doesn’t have an adventurous bone in his body and has cancelled every trip I ever tried to plan with him. He’s just fine sitting on the couch. 😂

      Aw, I’m already out here. I guess you’re still in VA?

      1. No I don’t feel I’m missing out on the spicy food since it doesn’t make me feel good if I really eat something that spicy. Lol

        Bummer about not having an adventurous bone. Lol

        As I write this comment it’s Friday October 11th and yes I’m here in Virginia and will be for a little bit of a time yet as I finish getting my mother settled in the assisted living and deal with the aftermath. I am looking forward to visiting some of the old cemeteries here to get some photos of old gravestones.

        I hope you have a safe trip while you’re there and a safe trip back home

      2. Oh wow! You’ll be there for some time then. I hope your mom is okay.

        I’ve been having a blast out here. Haven’t really had any need to question my safety just yet. Been out hiking alone in some remote parts and was fine. Same with the music festivals.

        Today, I’m going to check out the farmer’s market. Not exciting, but definitely necessary considering why I’m here. 🙃

    1. They really were delish!

      Sorry for the late reply. I never received a notification for this. Just found it while cleaning up my comments.

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