Seychelles' cuisine is a fusion of Indian and French cuisines. It is exotic and rich, thanks to the generous portions of thick coconut milk that is added to most of their dishes. The Creoles, who were the earliest inhabitants of Seychelles, dished up some delicacies made from fresh fish found around the islands.
Creole cuisine offers an assortment of dishes made not only from fresh seafood (crabs and shellfish) but also from many tropical vegetables and fruits. There is no dearth of choice in this cuisine!
In this Seychelles Restaurant Guide we recommend some great Seychelles restaurants, as well as tell you all about the local Creole cuisine. And to complete your Seychelles travel experience, why not do a bit of local shopping in Seychelles?
Food & Cuisine in the Seychelles
Rice is the staple food in Seychelles. It is served with an assortment of seafood and other dishes.
The cuisine in Seychelles is an amalgam of African, French, Chinese and Indian cuisines. Spices, coconuts, seafood and rice are used liberally. Carii Coco is a curry made with coconut milk and fish. Bourzwa, the rounded red snapper fish, is a great delicacy. Daube or ripe bananas (plantains) cooked in coconut makes a popular dessert. Rougaille, a tangy tomato sauce and grilled fresh fish with chillies stuffed in them are some other delicacies.
The islands abound in a variety of marine life and many of them find their way to the table. The colourful parrot fish is dipped in a batter, deep fried and served with a spicy tomato-based Creole sauce. King and Tuna fish steaks and swordfish are fried and grilled in garlic butter and white sailfish, like salmon, are smoked. For the truly adventurous, there is shark chutney, where the great fish is stir fried and seasoned with the aromatic bilimbi fruits, herbs and onions. The small rabbit fish, job fish and mackerel are made into stew, fish soup or curry, or are simply grilled.
The rabbit fish or kordonye, as it is called in Creole, is truly an exotic fish that promises an intoxicating experience! It is called "the fish that makes women drunk" because one of the glands of the rabbit fish secretes an intoxicant which makes the eater feel quite tipsy after a little while.
Another major delicacy in Seychelles is the octopus or the zourit. This is cooked till it is very tender and then added to seafood cocktails or hot thick coconut curry.
Tiny white shell fish (tecs tecs) are combined with pumpkin to make an unusual soup. Sea snails are served in their colourful green shells. These shells are stuffed with the snail's meat diced and tossed with garlic and a medley of herbs. There was a time when turtle meat too was very popular with the sailors passing through Seychelles. Today, however, turtles are endangered species guarded by the law and do not figure on the menus.
A popular starter is the Millionaire's Salad. The main ingredient of this salad is a mildly sweet crunchy cool vegetable which lies at the heart of the palm tree. In other words, the entire palm tree has to be chopped to get to the vegetable!
The brave at heart can try curried fruit bat. This Seychelles delicacy tastes somewhat like rabbit meat, but it may not be everyone's cup of tea - you may have to acquire a taste for it!
Birds' eggs are uncommon. The most commonly used eggs are terns' eggs, which have a vivid orange hue in place of the normal yellow at the yolk. The eggs are made into omelettes or served hard boiled.
Breadfruit is a very popular fruit in Seychelles. It is believed that if you eat the breadfruit here you are bound to return to the islands. It is served in myriad forms: diced into matchstick chips, boiled or barbecued with generous dollops of butter, which enhances the nutty potato taste of breadfruit.
Passion fruit, papayas, avocados and aubergines (which are deep fried into fritters) are grown in abundance and found on every menu. If you do not get put off by its odour, then there are some very sweet jackfruits for the asking. You can also treat yourself to a variety of bananas. The St. Jacques plantain is a hot favourite and is used in many savoury dishes. Ox hearts or custard apples are also well appreciated. The soursop or the corosol, with its creamy sweet white pulp, is not very well known, but very tasty. The Jamaic is a cone-shaped smooth skinned fruit which is similar to the apple and is a great favourite with the tortoises and children as well!
Oranges and pineapples are tossed together with black pepper and onions to make a delectable salad. In April and May, you can sink your teeth into the pink sweet pulp of the giant grapefruit. Bigerades, which are like kumquats, are made into marmalades and juices as they are too sour to be eaten raw.
And, finally, there is the coconut. Its cool and refreshing water is supposed to be the best antidote for both a hangover and jetlag! The coconut may be eaten raw, grated, thinly sliced, toasted or as a very sticky nougat.
Seybrew and Ecu are two local lagers, ideal for washing down a meal. Guiness is also very popular. Coco d'Amour is another unique drink which is served in a bottle shaped like the coco de mer, Seychelles unique plant. It evokes memories of Bailey's Irish Cream.
Calou and toddy, which are made from coconut sap, are sold in wayside bars. These are also used to impart flavour to some Creole delicacies. If you go overboard on these, then reach out for that ultimate pick up - the coconut juice. Or even a few pints of Eau de Val Riche, the local acqua minerale, will do.
Freshly brewed tea is also an interesting drink in Seychelles. Try some out in the Seychelles hotel or restaurant of your choice.
The best authentic Indian cuisine is located at the Mahec restaurant in the Coral Strand Hotel and Le Relax chain of hotels. Le Relax Beach Resort on Praslin Island and Le Relax Hotel and restaurant at Anse Royale Mahe Island.