The variety of Creole cuisine is evidence of the diverse mix of culture and races found in Seychelles. Local Seychelles food is a fusion of French, Indian and Oriental influences, and the chief characteristic is the blending of spices, marked by the delicious flavors of ‘pomme d’amour’ (Tomatoes), ‘zonyons’ (Onions), gusto vanilla, ‘zenzam’ (Ginger), ‘lay’ (Garlic) and ‘piman’ (Chillies). The influence of Indian culinary roots are seen in the ‘cari’ (Curry), ‘chatini’ (Chutney) and ‘achar’ (Pickles), which are must-have accompaniments with almost all the mouthwatering delicacies on the Seychelles islands. Much use is made of locally abundant coconut milk and breadfruit.
Seychellois love fish and thanks to the variety and abundance of marine life around the islands, they can afford to be choosy.
The Indian Ocean is well known for its huge variety and abundance of large and delicious fish. Tuna and kingfish are the most popular variety and they are eaten either fried or grilled in a garlic butter sauce.
Some of the other abundantly available seafood that is served up in a host of wonderful ways include shark, barracuda, octopus, squid, jack fish, red snapper, grouper, parrot fish, mullet, ballan wrasse and cordonnier.
Very often Seychellois seafood is cooked in green and red ‘cari’ fashion, made with a full bodied coconut milk and flavored with lemon grass.
Octopus is usually served with a hot coconut curry, or served in a seafood cocktail. Another energizing delicacy is the ‘Octopus Salad,’ – one of the most popular appetizers. It comprises of octopus, onions, tomatoes and a dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Créole dishes, unique to Seychelles include a sweet sauce or stew known as the daube, rougaille – a tomato-based sauce used with fish, or sausages or as a stand alone side dish, cari coco, a mild coconut cream curry used in meat or fish preparations, lemon-marinated fish and an indigenous type of spinach known as brèdes. Another common local recipe includes combining shellfish with pumpkin in a very delicious soup.
Rice is served with most dishes as either long grain, plain or saffron colored rice. ‘Carotte Bananas’ is an exotic local preparation of honey and vanilla, which is usually consumed during breakfast or afternoon tea.
Bourgeoisie Seychelloise is one of the most sought after dishes, consisting of a palm heart gratin, Jackfish terrine and a salad made with breadfruit and chicken fricassee. It teams perfectly with Creole rice and a papaya chatini, to round off a special evening under the stars and lapping waves.
A few other local specialties to be sampled are: tectec soup, coconut curries, Bouillon bréde, Palmiste salad (also known as palm heart salad or Millionaire’s salad), Cahtini Requin, Bourgeois Grillé, La Daube banane, shark chutney, Kat-kat banane, coconut nougat & spicy grilled fish, pork Curry (Cari de Porc), Giant crab soup livened with fresh citronella and sweet potatoes, grilled red snapper in rustic Rougaille sauce, and last but not least – Fruit bat curry (Kari Sousouri), yes it is bat meat which is usually a bit gamy and has a lot of bones to pick through, delicious all the same, all though we presume not many will try bat-curry after covid-19 pandemic.
For pizza lovers, there is big selection of pizza places, no matter what island are you on, but expect a lot of tropical flavored and seafood pizza’s. Also, pizza’s are similar to the homemade ones, so don’t expect Italian style crispy dough.
Desserts are typically an amazing variety of fresh fruit such as mini bananas, mangoes, papayas etc. The plentifully available breadfruit becomes a lovely dessert when cooked with sweet potatoes in coconut milk. Bananas or papayas in caramel and cream sauce make for another delicious dessert. Then there is the custard and bread pudding, coconut sorbet and coconut nougat. Also, Seychellois cuisine is famous for its jams – unique preparations with scorched sugar which gives them their unique caramelized taste.
Locally brewed liqueurs made from fermented sugar cane juice and coconut palm sap which ferments quickly. An acquired taste! If you are lucky or know where to go, you will find some restaurants that serve Créole dishes which are delicately laced with local liquor or some tiny roadside stands that may offer Bacca and Calou ‘unofficially,’ as these drinks are brewed only for consumption privately and cannot be bought or sold.
You may also stumble upon La purée, made of crushed and fermented fruits and vegetables but carries a stigma of moonshine.
If you want to try something local but available in shops, then definitely Takamaka rum should be your first choice. Depends which one you try, but definitely goes well with pineapple juice!
When it comes to beer, there is variety of imported beers available both in stores and restaurants, but we would recommend you to try Seybrew, locally made German styled beer (personal opinion is that it’s fairly similar to Paulaner Münchner Hell).