Have you visited the Maldives? If not, it should definitely be on your bucket list! There’s something about this collection of paradise island resorts that just draws people in. The Maldives is home to some of the best luxury resorts and hotels and is the perfect destination for people seeking a secluded getaway.
The Maldives is also the ideal location for halal travel, as it is a predominantly Muslim country. As such, you’ll find plenty of accommodation and dining options that are halal-certified and alcohol-free. Being one of the most Muslim-friendly destinations, many of these also cater to various other religious needs.
So, if you’re a Muslim traveler, keep reading this guide as it highlights everything you need to know about halal food in Maldivess, including some must-try Maldivian dishes.
Tip: Looking for a halal-friendly resort for your honeymoon? Read this guide on Go Ocean’s picks for the best resorts in Maldives for honeymoon.
Food in the Maldives is generally halal as it is a 100% Muslim country. This is especially true for local Maldivian food, which does not contain pork or alcohol. Some popular Maldivian dishes include Garudhiya, Mas Huni, and Masroshi, made with fish and tuna. There are also plenty of dishes comprising vegetables and fruit for vegan and vegetarian travelers.
While halal food is found at nearly every corner, not all food in the Maldives is halal. Some resorts may serve select dishes made with pork or alcohol. Additionally, some of the meats imported could be from non-halal slaughterhouses.
For this reason, it is best to inform the resort, hotel, or villa about your dietary requirements with regard to halal food. However, the majority of resorts in the Maldives are halal-friendly and cater to the needs of Muslim travelers. The same goes for many of the best Maldives restaurants, so the dining options for halal-conscious travelers are plentiful.
For those who have not visited this Muslim country before, you may be wondering whether or not the food and halal dining options here are expensive.
Compared to nearby countries such as India and Sri Lanka, the food in the Maldives is pricey. This is largely due to the Maldives being a popular tourist destination. The country also relies heavily on imports, which also adds to the cost.
Restaurants at various halal hotels, resorts, and beach villas can be expensive. To ensure you’re able to enjoy the flavors of the Maldives without having to worry about costs, it is best to stay at an all-inclusive luxury resort. If the onsite restaurants are halal-certified, then Muslim travelers can feel even more at ease while visiting the Maldives.
Tip: To save some money, try the local foods at the various restaurants and street vendors. More often than not, you’ll find that these are halal, affordable, and delicious!
As previously mentioned, it is hard to find non-halal food among the local dishes as many of these are made with fish, starches, and vegetables. Whether you’re a Muslim traveler or not, here are seven halal foods that you should try.
Garudhiya, or fish soup, is one of the most popular dishes in the Maldives. The traditional dish features a tasty broth made from fresh tuna—namely, skipjack and yellowfin—found around the islands.
Garudhiya has several versions, the most common comprising tuna, broth, salt, and water. However, some versions like Kekki Garuddhiya include a variety of extra spices, herbs, and chilies, giving it a burst of flavor that is sure to have you wanting more.
The delicious Maldivian dish is usually served with Roshi or steamed rice. If you’re visiting the Maldives on vacation, it is an ideal pick following a day spent out in the sun.
You’ll find this local dish at a number of halal restaurants and resorts around the island and for as little as MVR 50 ($3.2).
Another must-try dish for halal-conscious travelers visiting the Maldives is a traditional dish called Mas Huni. This is simply shredded smoked tuna blended with coconut, lemon, onions, and chili. Some places prepare it with boiled pumpkin, butternut squash, or leafy greens, too.
The ingredients are mixed into a fine paté or spread, with some variations being creamier than others. It is then served with Roshi and is often accompanied by a cup of sweet tea. This combination is popular and is a breakfast staple amongst the locals.
Mas Huni is served at many halal resorts and restaurants. This ranges from the popular Crystal Sands to the west harbor area in Male.
Bis Keemiya is best described as being somewhere between a samosa and a spring roll. It is a crispy pastry commonly filled with cabbage, egg, tuna, or a combination thereof. Some people even include spicy vegetables to give it an extra kick.
Bis Keemiya can be baked; however, many will agree that it is best enjoyed when deep fried. This gives it a crispier texture, making it even tastier. And let’s not forget the dipping sauce.
The local dish is often served as a snack and can be found at various street cafés or vendors in areas such as Male and Hulhumale. Each pastry will cost you as little as MVR 2 ($0.13) and is a quick and easy bite for those on the go.
If you’re planning a dinner date, be sure to find a restaurant that serves lobster. Maldivian live lobster is one of the country’s most popular dishes.
Ordering one of these at a restaurant is a thrilling experience, as the lobster is cooked in front of you. This way, you’re able to enjoy it while it’s hot and fresh.
This lively dish is served at many of the best restaurants and resorts in the Maldives, including Ithaa Undersea Restaurant and Sea Fire Salt, among others. Each restaurant has its own spin on the dish and guarantees a flavorful adventure for your tastebuds.
Lobster dishes in the Maldives are relatively affordable, depending on the place you visit. Prices range from MVR 250 ($16.2) to MVR 400 ($32.4). However, lobster and other foods tend to be more expensive in resorts and can cost you upwards of MVR 3,860 ($250). But with this, you get better quality food, excellent service, breathtaking views, and a greater overall experience.
Nonetheless, if you’re a seafood fan, then Maldivian live lobster is a must!
Masroshi is another one of the Maldives’ famous tuna-based dishes. It is typically a stuffed chapati with smoked tuna and coconut filling. Some also include curry leaves, ginger, garlic, onions, and peppers for additional flavor.
The best part of this dish is the dough itself. It’s kneaded with warm water, salt, and oil and is cooked until it is a beautiful golden brown. Complete with a delicious filling, it’s no wonder this is a favorite amongst locals and those Muslim tourists visiting the archipelago.
Masroshi is generally eaten as a light snack and is the perfect halal meal for when you’re lazing around on the white sandy beaches or exploring. The best Masroshi can be found at halal restaurants like Café Rio and Findhandi Restaurant, as well as in Male.
The price for this dish falls between MVR 7 ($0.5) and MVR 50 ($3.9), depending on where you get it from.
What Maldives halal food pairs perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee? Many locals will tell you Gulha. This is a traditional, dumpling-shaped dish comprising wheat or rice flour dough, tuna, onions, and coconut. Some fillings also include chilies, curry leaves, and lime juice, making them all the more delicious.
Gulha is served at many restaurants and street cafés or vendors in the Maldives. Some of the most crunchy and delicious ones can be found at The Lighthouse Restaurant and Sunset Corner for as little as MVR 2 ($0.13) a serving.
If you’re trying to find halal food in the Maldives that will satisfy your sweet tooth, Saagu Bondibai is a must-try. This traditional dish is simply a sweetened pudding made with sago, a starch extracted from the spongy center of various tropical palm stems, and is a favorite amongst the locals.
Other ingredients included in Saagu Bondibai are cardamom, rose, coconut milk, and condensed milk. The result of all these ingredients is a soft, light, warm, and fluffy pudding that is sure to have your mouth watering.
The dish can be found in various local halal restaurants, including Anantara Dhigu, Epicure, Niyama, Sea Fire Salt, and The Lighthouse Restaurant. Saagu Bondibai is priced at MVR 200 ($13) per serving and is the ultimate Maldivian dessert.
So there you have it—a complete guide to halal food in the Maldives. Halal dining options in this country are plentiful, so Muslim families and travelers visiting the archipelago are sure to have a pleasant experience.
This is especially true for each of the Muslim-friendly resorts recommended by Go Ocean. Wondering what these are? Check out this guide on the best luxury hotels in the Maldives and start planning your perfect private island vacation.