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Similarly to the Seychelles population, the nation's cuisine is also characterised by the influence of different regions of the world, resulting in a varied range of influences. Creole cuisine combines the exoticism of Indian and Asian dishes with the piquant flavours of the Orient, as well as some subtleties of European culinary culture. These elements then find their culinary expression in a unique fusion of influences.
The basis for this is the widespread use of natural ingredients that the Seychelles land and its surrounding waters have to offer. Hardly anywhere else in the world offers such a variety of freshness of fish and seafood. The best-known fish are, among others, tuna, bonito, sea bass, red snapper, barracuda, king mackerel, gilthead, lobster, and squid.
Fish are served grilled, depending on their type, but can also be fried or baked, or diced and prepared as a curry. Grilled fish with a Creole tomato or chilli sauce, or as a delicious coconut milk curry, make for some unique culinary treats.
Chicken or pork can also be used as the basis for curries. Rice, vegetables, and often spicy sauces are served as side dishes. In addition, manioc, potatoes, breadfruit and chutneys made from native fruits such as papaya are served. Another speciality that visitors should try is the tectec soup, whose most important ingredient is the small mussels who share its name. At the end of dinner, desserts such as coconut chocolate, cooked bananas in coconut milk, or caramelised pineapples are often served. Calorie-friendly treats such as fruit salad or sorbet can also be found on many menus.
A wide palette of spices provide the special Creole flavour in the cuisine, such as vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, citronella, patschouli, and chilli. Ginger and garlic are also favourites of the Seychellois, and are used in almost every meal.
In hotels, European cuisine is often offered as part of a half board or full board package in the form of a buffet. There is also a rich selection of freshly-caught fish and tropical fruits. The standard breakfast in tourist accommodation is based on English customs: toast, salted butter, jam, egg, coffee, tea, and juice.
Those who have only booked half board can make the most of the many small, cheap takeaways which are open at lunchtime, allowing you to eat well for little money. Here, you can buy rice or noodles with vegetables, coleslaw or chutney, and delicious sauces.
For those who find it too hot for a hearty lunchtime meal, beach restaurants and vendors offer a fresh alternative to these takeaways. Here, you can enjoy fresh, mostly-grilled fish and seafood, as well as some vegetables or salads. For small in-between snacks we recommend the samosas that are available at many of the Seychelles' mini-markets. These dumplings from India are filled with potatoes, fish, or meat, and taste delicious.
Many of the Seychelles' self-catering accommodation options provide a so-called 'starter package' for guests, including salt, pepper, oil, butter, and sometimes bread and jam as well. Besides that, the different supermarkets and shops, as well as the local markets, provide plenty of ingredients and groceries for your stay. Of course, recognisable brands such as nutella, as well as other European produce including cheese and sausages, are mostly imported, so are more expensive than at home.See the different accommodation options in the Seychelles here!
The restaurants of the archipelago have mostly adapted to the tastes of guests from all over the world, and offer a wide range of cuisine, from Creole to pasta, pizza to salads, grills to Asian delicacies. This diversity is greatest on Mahé and Praslin, where there are Italian, French, Indian, Chinese, and Creole restaurants, while La Digue also offers a similar selection.
If you want to eat dinner at a restaurant, it is advisable to reserve a table. Men should also wear long trousers that cover their legs and formal shoes if you want to eat at establishments in the mid price-range or above. The prevent surprises when paying, you should note that in many restaurants, service and taxes are not included in the menu price. You will usually find a note such as "10% service charge and 15% VAT" at the bottom of the menu.
If you would like to cook Seychellois food at home, you can find the right kinds of spices at the market in Victoria. The spice mixture for Seychellois curry can be bought, consisting of yellow curd, cardamon, ginger, garlic, pepper, caraway, mustard seeds, and chilli.See a list of all Seychelles restaurants here!
In the Seychelles, it is normal to drink water with food. If you would like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, there is often quite a large selection. SeyBrew beer and French and South African wine all come recommended, although the wine is not quite as cheap as the SeyBrew. Even more expensive are harder long drinks or cocktails. Especially popular are rum-based drinks using Takamaka Bay rum, as well as vodka mixers.
Two more of the Seychellois' favourite beverages are Buka and Kalou. The latter is fermented wine, obtained from the inflourescence of coconut trees, which tastes sweet or tart after fermentation. The drier the flavour, the higher the alcohol content. Buka is made from sugar cane, and is similar to rum. Usually, it is home-brewed, so the quality is variable.
Lemonade, cola, tonic water, ginger ale, and bitter lemon are all produced locally and widely consumed. Carbonated mineral water is available under the name soda. Be sure to try fresh fruit juices and the delicious coconut juice too. Meanwhile, a more soothing drink is tea made using lemongrass, called Citronelle, which is often served following mealtimes.