Flacq District, Mauritius
Executive chef at the Lux Collective, Netherlands-born Dave Minten travelled the world before settling in Mauritius as the culinary expert behind SALT of Palmar. Here, he creates authentic recipes using foods grown on the Lux Collective's own farms and using traditional Mauritian methods and flavours. See saltresorts.com
Gateaux piments are deep-fried chilli cakes made of split peas and spices. They are a staple of Mauritian cuisine and can be found all over the island. If (and when) I have any leftovers, I toss them into a curry (known as a curry burry) for the perfect Sunday evening meal. They are often eaten with a crusty baguette.
Tucked between sugar cane fields and the village of Poste de Flacq is a red, blue and white striped shack. Call out if you don't see anyone (the owner is usually chopping down two varieties of coconuts out back: pemba, the orange ones, and ceylan, the larger green coconuts). I always get a litre of coconut water and a cup of creamy flesh to go. In Mauritius, the coconut husks are made into "brosse coco", a sort of broom. The sweeping is done using your foot. It's awesome.
Ken's Noodle Shop may be located inside the Super U food court, but it serves consistently good noodles (minn bwi in Creole) and makes for great people-watching. The island has a strong food court culture as eating out is still considered somewhat of a treat. Top yours with a few boulettes chouchou (local dumplings made of chayote squash, rice flour, tapioca and shrimp or chicken) a handful of chopped spring onion, and extra sauce. If you're in the mood for simple broth and plain noodles order yours "touni" (naked). I usually add a fried egg on mine. (Avenue President Francois Mitterrand, Central Flacq)
There are few joys greater than eating ripe pineapple sliced right in front of your eyes. Do it the local way: dipped in the salty sea water while you're at the beach or sprinkled with powdered red chilli.
SALT's take on the carb-heavy "briani" dish swaps rice for shredded cauliflower rice. Turmeric, masala spices, nutmeg, and raisins make it intensely flavourful. SALT's cooking is meant to be shared so order as many plates and bowls as will fit on your table. Wash it down with a "Star of the Show", which is the cocktail version of alouda, a sweet, milky rose-water flavoured drink with basil seeds (like chia seeds) that can be found at the central market in Flacq, a bus-ride away from the hotel.You could also try LUX* Belle Mare for a playful and modern take on Indian Food by starred chef, Vineet Batia, who reinvents the genre. Each dish is beautifully presented with a restaurant decor that goes with it. This is a great date-night restaurant. Bring someone you want to impress. See luxresorts.com