Being a vegetarian or vegan in Mauritius!

Features
Published on 2021-02-18 at 13:21
For environmental, religious or even animal protection reasons, more and more people are adopting vegetarian or vegan diets. How easy is it to live in Mauritius when you are a vegetarian or a vegan?

The “vegetarian/vegan trend” is not new to Mauritius. Indeed, several religious groups on the island practice either lifelong or selective vegetarianism or veganism. Although not a requirement, several Hindus observe a vegetarian or vegan diet throughout their lives. Others, only practice this restrictive diet as a sacrifice either a couple of days a week or for days at a time before certain special celebrations. And this is not only common practice amongst Hindus but also amongst other religious groups such as Christians who practice vegetarianism every Friday during lent.

Buying vegetables on the island

As a result, it is never very hard to find vegetables on the island. A variety of vegetables are grown on the island itself. Potatoes, onions, tomatoes, greens, lettuce, ladyfingers, eggplants are just a few vegetables that are grown on the island but you can find most vegetables in shops, supermarkets, markets or on stalls by the side of the road. Indeed, it is customary for Mauritians to go to the market on Saturday or Sunday mornings. In most main cities, towns and villages, fruit and vegetables markets are held on these particular days. However, fruits and vegetables are also available in supermarkets. The price of vegetables, especially the locally grown ones do vary depending on the season and the weather, however. During the rainy season as well as during the religious fasting periods, the price of vegetables increases drastically.

Other vegetarian products

Other than that, other nutritious food products suitable for vegetarians are also readily available. Beans, for example, are available in supermarkets and even small shops where you can buy beans and soya per gram, which also makes it eco-friendly. Over and above that, more and more meat alternatives are available in supermarkets. Vegetarian and vegan burgers, sausages, steaks, mince… you can find it all! Almond and soya milk options are also readily available, although it can be twice or three times the price of cow milk. These, however, can vary in price depending on the brand. Indeed, the least expensive vegetarian burgers can cost around Rs 80 while the most expensive can go up to Rs 400.

Eating out as a vegetarian

It is becoming increasingly easy to eat out as a vegetarian or even as a vegan in Mauritius. But do not expect to be able to go into any restaurant and find a vegetarian or vegan option. The norm remains meat! It is important, therefore, to ask before getting to a restaurant whether they offer options suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Often, even when restaurants do offer vegetarian options, these will be rather meagre as compared to the non-vegetarian menu, so make sure you research the menu properly before getting to the restaurant. 

On the other hand, there are more and more vegetarian and vegan restaurants around the island. Eat with Fingers in the Grand-Baie, The Healthy Food company in Rose-Hill, Asian Box in Beau-Bassin are just a few examples of vegan restaurants on the island.

Dholl puris, Gato Pima, minn bwi and others…

It is also easy for vegetarians to enjoy local cuisine as Mauritian classics are vegetarian or vegan. For example, the popular Dholl Puri, a wrap made with yellow peas, is filled with lots of yummy vegetarian curries and sauces. The Gato pima is also a very popular Mauritian snack made with yellow peas and lots of spices. Other Mauritian classics like the Mauritian minn bwi (boiled noodles) can be accompanied by vegetarian and non-vegetarian sauces.