Maldivian cuisine and snacks are unique to our country. Just like our culture and traditions, they do have similarities to some food items you may find in other countries. But our version is definitely worth a try! These are some snacks that you can take back home, to enjoy by yourself or to share with your loved ones from the Maldives.
1. Haalu Folhi
This thin, crisp, melt in your mouth sweet crepe style snack called Haalu Folhi is something which is unique to the City of Kulhudhuffushi in Haa Dhaalu Atoll. It has been produced by the residents of Kulhudhuffushi for generations, and is loved by people from all over the country. There is a huge demand for Haalu folhi which is produced in small quantities in households and sold in markets. Not many ingredients are used to make Haalu folhi but the tools and techniques of it are quite unique and remarkable.
2. Theluli Bambukeyo (breadfruit chips) & Theluli Ala (taro chips)
Photo by Visit Maldives
This is an all-time favorite snack of all Maldivians. Theluli Bambukeyo or fried breadfruit chips, is a delicious local snack commonly produced on many islands across the country. Not a lot of ingredients go into making the Theluli Bambukeyo. In fact, the only ingredient is the breadfruit, which is thinly sliced and deep fried to crisp perfection. Some variations of Theluli Bambukeyo are candied for extra sweetness or cut into even tinier pieces. This is a snack which is frequently exchanged as gifts between friends and family. In addition to breadfruit chips another favorite amongst locals include Theluli Ala or Taro Chips, made with Taro, which is locally known as ala or olhu ala. This snack is deep fried to perfection and has an amazing crunch. Some versions of this is also made sweet, using dhiyaahakuru (coconut syrup).
3. Naana Kataa
Naana Kataa is basically a Maldivian style cookie. It resembles a sugar cookie in looks, but the texture and consistency are tougher and keeps fresh longer. What makes this cookie special is that it is spiced with a bit of ground cardamom. The sweetness from the sugar and savoury flavours of cardamom taste of Naana Kataa is distinct and makes a great accompaniment with a warm cup of milk tea.
4. Kulhi Kaaja (spicy bread crisps)
Photo by Visit Maldives
Kulhi Kaajaa is a savoury local snack that is made of spiced fried dough. The dough is made like flatbread, mixed with spices, thinly grated coconut and rihaakuru (Maldivian fish paste). Once the dough is made, it is rolled into small balls, evenly flattened with a rolling pin and cut into the desired shapes and fried till crunchy. Kulhi Kaajaa is perfect for a rainy day snack, giving you a mild spicy kick which can be cooled down with a nice glass of iced tea. Most Maldivians enjoy this with a hot cup of tea in the evening.
5. Kanamadhu Metaa Gandu
Photo by Dream catchers (FB Page)
At first glance, the Kanamadhu Metaa Gandu looks like an ornament, doesn’t it? Kanamadhu Metaa Gandu is originally from the Island of Utheemu in Haa Alifu Atoll. Although it originated from Utheemu, it is made in some other islands as well. The flavour is similar to a caramel bark made with nuts. Its intricate design makes it look as good as it tastes. A bit on the sweeter side, Kanamadhu Metaa Gandu is made with sea almonds as a key ingredient, which is found in abundance in the Maldives’ islands. It is the perfect accompaniment with a cup of coffee.
6. Kudhi Gulha
Kudhi Gulha is perhaps one of the top favorite snacks for locals. Kudhi Gulha is a savory snack and has a consistency which is quite tough. This small crunchy snack is filled with a mixture of fish, onions, and spices and goes well with a hot cup of tea. The dough for the gulha is made with rice flour instead of regular flour, which is what gives the snack it’s famous golden color and satisfying crunchy exterior. Dough balls are filled with the tuna mix, sealed and deep fried. It’s a bit on the spicy side but can be enjoyed slowly.
BONUS SNACK - ADDU BONDI
One more snack worth mentioning is Addu Bondi, which comes from the southernmost City of the country. Addu Bondi can be considered a meal in itself for some people. This sinfully sweet snack is made from scraped coconut and dhiyaahakuru (coconut syrup), and wrapped in dried banana leaves. It is one snack that many tourists enjoy, and resembles a coconut truffle treat.
These are just a few favorite snacks from the Maldives, most of which can be stored for long periods in the right condition. This makes it easy to carry back home and give as gifts to friends and family. So, while you’re in Maldives, try your luck in getting your hands on one or more of these. It’s commonly available in markets on islands while some resorts also have shops which sell these. So ask the staff at your resorts, hotels and try to get some to take back home!