Seychellois food is an exciting fusion of flavours from French, African, Indian, Chinese and English cuisine - with a selection of sweet, tangy, rich and spicy combinations making it a visitor attraction in its own right! The beauty of Creole cuisine is its use of natural ingredients that are plentiful across the islands, both on land and in the sea.
Fish and Meat
Few regions have such a wide variety of fresh fish that include tuna, sea bass, bonito, red snapper, king mackerel, barracuda, lobster, gilthead and squid. The seafood used in local dishes also includes crab, octopus, lobster and shellfish.
It's no surprise that a great deal of Seychellois dishes are based on seafood and chillies, of which there are 10 different kinds. Fish is generally grilled, roasted or curried and is served with chatini - a local type of chutney - or cooked vegetables such as green mangoes, pumpkin or eggplant.
Fish can also be served with raw vegetables and vinaigrette or with fruits. Among the popular Seychellois dishes are coconut fish curry, shredded green papaya salad and tamarind chutney. Another speciality local dish is tectec soup, which is made from small locally-sourced mussels.
The meats most commonly eaten include chicken, lamb, beef and pork - chicken or pork is generally used as the basis for curries and these will be served with side dishes of rice, vegetables and spicy sauces. The manioc is a nutrient-dense vegetable popular in Seychelles but often unfamiliar to tourists, it is a popular accompaniment, as is breadfruit and chutney made from native fruit such as papaya.
Fruit and Vegetables
The traditional bases for a lot of Seychellois dishes are breadfruit and coconut - local people eat breadfruit and rice as accompaniments with a lot of dishes. Coconut is very versatile and is often used as a base for coconut milk curry or for rich, sweet dishes such as coconut chocolate dessert or cooked bananas in coconut milk.
Coconut is also an ingredient of a locally-brewed beverage, Kalou. A fermented wine, it is obtained from the coconut inflorescence, which can taste sweet or tart after it has been fermented. The flavour of the Kalou will be drier if it has a higher alcohol content.
The fruits commonly eaten are bananas, aubergines, mangoes, avocados, papaya, grapefruit, pineapple, limes, golden apples and melons. They can be used in desserts such as caramelised pineapple or as low-calorie dishes on menus, including fruit salad and sorbet.
Among the popular vegetables and spices are the eggplant, celery, onions, peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, ginger, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, citronella and chilli.
Popular Local Dishes
Ladob can be eaten as a dessert or savoury dish. Made of sweet potatoes and plantain, the dessert can include cassava or breadfruit that is boiled in coconut milk. Sugar, vanilla and nutmeg are added to create a creamy, soft dish. Savoury ladob is cooked in the same way but with fish and salt added instead of the sweet ingredients.
With a variety of dishes in one serving, combination plates are popular - a typical combination may include chicken salad, jackfish terrine, gratin of palm heart, breadfruit, papaya flowers chutney and a rice accompaniment.
Red snapper grilled with ginger and garlic is served with rice, salad and vegetables. Tuna steaks are grilled in garlic butter and served with a special Creole sauce made with onions, tomatoes, cayenne pepper and green bell pepper.
A popular morning snack - or served with afternoon tea - Carotte Bananas involves wrapping the bananas in banana leaves and serving with honey and vanilla. Sweet and tasty, although it doesn't contain carrots, it rather resembles a carrot shape when prepared.
There's an abundance of snacks, many sold by street vendors, such as bringele frire made from sliced fried eggplants rolled in a mixture of garlic, besan gram flour, ginger and onion. The Piment Cari Frire version has chilli peppers instead of eggplants.
For a salty yet sweet snack, gato arouille is a crisp, deep-fried snack made from grated taro and violette roots. Small rice cookies made from vanilla, sugar and cardamom are covered with grated coconut to produce oundé. Another popular snack is gateau patates - also known as sweet potato pasties - consisting of fried sweet potatoes, coconut, flour, sugar and vanilla.
Creole Fried Fish
There are so many delicious Seychelles speciality dishes, they would fill a book - but if you're looking for something simple to try at home, this recipe for Creole fried fish is both tasty and easy to make.
You will need four to six whitefish fillets such as swai, tilapia or red snapper. Add plenty of seasoning, including one tablespoon each of Creole seasoning and yellow mustard, two tablespoons each of black pepper and hot sauce and one teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. You will also need one beaten egg, one cup of flour, one cup of cornmeal and a bottle of vegetable oil.
Mix the seasonings into a bowl, rinse the fish in cold water and pat it dry. Cut the fish into half-inch strips and season it on one side with half of the seasoning. Lightly toss the seasoned fish. Add the beaten egg, mustard and hot sauce, mix it lightly and put to one side. Mix the cornmeal and flour with the remaining seasonings.
Add it to the fish and fry in oil heated to 350 degrees for seven to eight minutes, depending on how dark and crunchy you prefer it. Stir occasionally to make sure it cooks evenly. Lift the fish out and place it on a paper towel before serving it warm. It couldn't be simpler!
Come to the tropical paradise of Seychelles for a real taste of Paradise. Savoy Resort and Spa hosts a selection of restaurants, bars and in-room dining options that all serve the best cuisine the islands have to offer.