As you know, I am Reunionese and I grew up immersed in our beautiful culture. Its cuisine is the result of a mixture of peoples and customs, including Indian, Malagasy, Chinese, African and French, among others… Reunionese food is very eclectic, colourful and flavoured with many wonderful spices.
Even though Reunionese cuisine originally came from humble origins, it has now become a distinct cooking style in its own right. Even tasting it has become an art.
The basics of reunionese food
Today’s Reunions food contains a lot of Chinese and Indian influences. Here are just a few examples!
A very traditional food, the Bouchon is a bite of pork or chicken surrounded by steamed dough, usually eaten as an appetizer with soy sauce.
Besides the appetizers you will find dishes such as Chop suey, Cantonese rice or stir-fry.
Indeed, many islanders are descendants of Chinese migrants. Over the years, the Reunionese have incorporated Chinese specialities and they are now part of the local culture.
It may seem like simple, modest appetizer, but you won’t be able to resist the taste of the Samoussa. These days it is prepared with meat, fish, cheese and even vegetables. Today it is possible to find Samoussas anywhere on the island!
These are pickled vegetables, but they are also seasoned with saffron, crushed garlic, onions, ginger and large chilli peppers.
Rice and vegetable grains
Rice is a staple of Réunionese cuisine. Some people have it at every meal, even plain, but more often flavoured with spices.
Cooked beans are frequently served with rice, most often red or white beans, peas or lentils often cooked with more spices and onion.
Similar to spinach, brèdes refer to a very diverse set of edible leaves from many plants that are cooked before being eaten. Brèdes are traditionally made with chayotes hearts, pumpkin, moringa or other plants.
Carris and rougails
Carris are cooked only with one spice, Tumeric(curcuma). With its unique cooking properties, it can be used to prepare meats (beef, pork, etc.), poultry (chicken, duck, guinea fowl, etc.) and seafood (fish or shellfish) in this way. Meat and poultry are usually cut into small pieces and then cooked in a garnish, consisting of onions, garlic, thyme, crushed tomatoes, curcuma, salt and pepper.
It is difficult to tell the difference between carri and rougail. Some say that the only difference is whether you put tomato or not. For others, the carri contains Tumeric while the rougail does not.
Spicy rougails are prepared with lemon, mango, dakatin, tomato, cucumber or onions. They are served as a condiment to spice up the dish. So be careful, rougails can be very spicy!
If you liked let’s talk about reunionese food you may also like: