Places in Maldives

Maldives Food and Drink

Maldivian food is a fairly limited affair, consisting of fish, fruit and spicy curries. Your only chance to try ‘real’ Maldivian cuisine is in Malé, where cafés selling traditional snacks or ‘short eats’ (hedhikaa) are cheap and plentiful.

On resort islands, there are normally between one and ten restaurants depending on the resort's size and level of luxury. Note that all restaurants on resort islands are run by the resort - there is no access to private enterprise. Cuisine is international, with all food other than seafood imported. All resorts have bars, where there is a good range of (usually pricey) alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available. It’s not possible to drink alcohol in Malé or anywhere else outside resorts.


• Seafood such as tuna, grouper, octopus, jobfish and swordfish is widely available.
• Kavaabu (deep-fried snacks made from rice, tuna, coconut, lentils and spices).
• Curries, such as chicken or beef, are widely available. Curry leaves are added to a lot of Maldivian dishes.

Things to know

All bars are situated on resort island (no alcohol is available on Malé, though it is available on the nearby Airport island). Locals do not drink at all.


In international style restaurants in Malé 10-15% is standard. In local cafés it is not expected. In resorts, a service charge of 10-15% is usually automatically included in meals and for drinks.

Regional drinks

Sai (tea; a Maldivian favourite).
Raa (toddy tapped from palm trees, sometimes left to ferment and thus slightly alcoholic - the closest any Maldivian gets to alcohol).

Service charges are invariably added onto all chargeable services in resorts. Extra tipping is not expected, though cash tips (US$1 per bag) for porters is appreciated.