Reunionese cuisine is reflective of the island's population: diverse. It finds its origins in the culinary traditions of the various ethnicities that came to settle on Reunion Island. From the French to the Chinese, and including the Madagascans, Mauritians, Indians and East Africans.
The basics of Reunionese cuisine
Reunionese cuisine is very colourful on account of the large number of spices that embellish the food. Livened up by the use of chilli, it can also have a sweet and subtle character thanks to its Madagascan and Indian inspiration.
The most well known Reunionese dishes are without doubt carri (Reunionese curry), sausage rougail (tomato-based sausage dish), and massalé (Reunionese masala dish). Reunionese cuisine also includes a number of fried dishes, mainly enjoyed as an appetizer or dessert. And of course, no meal is complete unless accompanied with punch and 'rhum arrangé' (mulled rum) or tamarind syrup...
What does Reunionese cuisine taste like?
Reunionese cuisine, like any world cuisine, has its own codes of practice. The appetizer holds an important place within the Reunionese culinary tradition. Samosas, bouchons (meat-based appetisers wrapped in pastry) and bonbons piments (miniature spiced doughnuts) are enjoyed as a means of whetting the appetite.
Main courses – generally fish, pork or poultry-based – are accompanied by rice, grains, brèdes (amaranth greens), achards (spicy vegetable relish) or tomato rougail (typical Creole sauce). In all of these dishes, spices such as ginger, saffron (or turmeric) play a leading role.
As for sweets, these are generally enjoyed in the afternoon, rather than as a dessert following a meal. Usually in the form of fritters or flour-based cakes, these are eaten as a treat during a tea break. To round off a meal, delicious seasonal fruits are the choice of preference, something of which there is no shortage on Reunion Island.
If you have to wait a while before tasting this authentic and colourful cuisine, why not discover the dishes by looking at our pictures...