Maldives: the land of coconut milk and honey

Posted by Anita Froneman on 22 November 2021

To me, the Maldives is the absolute best place on earth for two reasons: the Indian Ocean and the food. I’m a water baby through and through, so any tropical island that offers endless ocean activities is bliss, and the warmer waters are a welcome respite from Cape Town’s icy depths. I am also a foodie, and by that I don’t mean that I can cook good food, but I most certainly can appreciate and enjoy it. The Maldives offers all that and more.

Incidentally, it is home to one of my favourite foods: coconut. The coconut tree is the island nation’s national tree, and there are myriad different ways residents enjoy this tropical fruit. From eating the coconut meat fresh or dried, to using the milk and oil in cooking and even skincare, Maldivians sure know how to get the most out of it.

Some fresh coconut water enjoyed by me and fellow tourist Jennifer Platt. Picture: Phando Jikelo

It was at the idyllic Fushifaru Resort that I met Executive Chef Kadrianta, who told me all about the traditional food on the island. As Executive Chef, his duties are making sure all food and beverage operations run smoothly from day to day on top of creating scrumptious and exciting menus for each of the different restaurants.

Kadrianta’s workplace is not too shabby. Picture: Kadrianta_S/ Instagram

Originally from Jakarta, Indonesia he has travelled the world over, learning to become a master in the kitchen before he eventually ended up in the Maldives.

I sat down with him to find out more about his culinary journey.

Where did your love for cooking start and where were you trained?

My mom is a great cook, and I was always curious whenever she cooked her delicious food at home, so my starting point was mom’s kitchen. I then trained at two universities: one in Jakarta, Indonesia and one in Dubai, UAE.

I also learned a lot from various other chefs in the world. One of my greatest mentors is chef Philippe Bruneau from France, who taught me a lot of the modern cooking skills I use today.

Why did you choose to work in the Maldives?

The Maldives is the best place to work in the hospitality industry, where luxury and ultra-luxury resorts pop up like mushrooms every day. When we’re talking luxury, it cannot be separated from the food and beverage industry, and that is where I found my home.

What is your favourite Maldivian meal, and why?

Maldivian fish curry with homemade chapati. It’s super easy to make, and has a very authentic taste and flavour. Plus, the ingredients are all available around you.

Chef Kadrianta taught me to make this very same traditional Maldivian fish curry, and we clearly had a blast! Picture: Phando Jikelo

What do you like most about Maldivian food?

Most Maldivian food is made with coconut, and I am a huge fan! [I knew there was a reason I got on so well with him].

What is a popular, truly Maldivian dish?

Mashuni. This is an authentic Maldivian breakfast made of tuna and coconut as the main ingredients.

How do you plan menus at the resort?

I plan menus based on guests and their nationalities, while trying to stay on-trend with the most popular dishes around the world. I also consider ingredient availability, depending on the season.

A picture-perfect meal created by Kadrianta. Picture: Kadrianta_S/ Instagram

The Maldives is known for fish; can you tell me more about how fishing works in the country? How can you be sure you are using sustainable sources?

Fishing is the bloodline of Maldives. It is an integral part of the economy and the Maldivian culture too. Pole and line fishing for tuna are common practices in the Maldives, and it is considered the most sustainable way to catch fish. It reduces potential harm to other marine life and unwanted bycatches.

How does Fushifaru make sure it is eco-friendly in terms of restaurants?

Fushifaru has a no-plastic policy in place, including all takeaway containers and straws. This is one major way to help keep the environment clean.

If you’d like to meet Chef Kadrianta and experience the island’s incredible cuisine, or simply just enjoy the beautiful country, pay a visit to Fushifaru Resort. This peaceful island is surrounded by picture-perfect turquoise water to snorkel in and the villas are each more exquisite than the next.

Here, you can choose to unwind at the spa or in your own private pool or jacuzzi. Active Annas can go snorkelling, scuba diving, water-skiing, kayaking, catamaran sailing, jet-skiing, parasailing, kite surfing or nearly anything else you can think of doing on the water.

The resort also offers traditional Maldivian experiences like Dhivehi language and writing classes, traditional dances and drumming as well as displays on coconut husking. There is also yoga classes and a fitness centre. In fact, there’s nothing you can’t do at the resort that won TripAdvisor’s 2021 Traveller’s Choice Award.

Fushifaru is currently running an amazing special offer for stays in December 2021: 30% discount on selected family villas and kids under 12 years of age stay and eat for free! Rates on special start from R 11,682 per villa per night which includes breakfast.

There is also an Early Bird discount for bookings for 2022: Get a 30% discount on selected villas including meal plans when you book anytime from now until 31 Jan 2022 for stays between 10 Jan 2022 and 23 Dec 2022. Rates on special start from R6,747 per night which includes breakfast.

For more information, email [email protected] or phone +960 662 0202 or fill out the contact form here.

Travel regulations

The Maldives only requires proof of negative COVID-19 test results upon entry, and South Africa requires a new one before return.

Featured picture: Unsplash

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