Port Louis's best market buys
Fancy a trip to the market? If you want to soak up the flavour of local life in Mauritius, it’s a must when visiting Port Louis. But what are the best items to look out for and how can you be sure of getting the best deal? We’ve highlighted some of our favourite market must-haves below, and remember that bartering is not only welcomed, it’s expected. So polish up your negotiating skills and make an offer…
Yes of course, you can find fresh fruit in any market in the world. But here in the tropics you’ll undoubtedly lay eyes on things you’ve never tasted or seen before. So don’t be shy: those carefully stacked pyramids of brightly coloured fruits are just waiting to be dismantled. Whether you’re eyeing up a coronssal, jamalac or jamblon, simply ask for a sample and try for yourself.
Dhal puri is often referred to as the national street food of Mauritius, so don’t miss an opportunity to try them while you’re exploring the market. Always served in pairs, this pancake-style flatbread is filled with cooked yellow split peas seasoned with turmeric and cumin, and comes with bean curry, atchar (a type of South Asian pickle) and various different chutneys.
Stock up on carrie poulé leaves and impress your friends at home with the flavours of an authentic Mauritian curry. This glossy dark green leaf is an essential ingredient in Mauritian cooking, not just to local Indian dishes but to everything from fish soups and fricassees to the spicy Creole tomato-based Rougaille sauce. In addition to food, they’re also used in Ayurvedic medicine for soothing nausea and digestion issues.
Alouda is a traditional sweet Mauritian drink which is hugely popular among locals. Derived from the popular south Asian beverage falooda, it’s made from milk flavoured with a syrup such as as rosehip, strawberry or vanilla, with the addition of basil seeds and agar agar for texture and sometimes a large scoop of ice-cream. Still not sure? Remember, you can always ask to try before you buy.
Need a more long-lasting souvenir? The market’s first floor is where you’ll find a range of handicrafts to treasure at length, including intricately carved wooden items such as drums, face masks, bowls, wind chimes, animals and birds including the famous dodo.
Textiles and clothing
Glorious jewel-toned textiles such as Indian wall hangings, tablecloths, bedspreads, saris, sarongs, pashminas and scarves can easily be found here, many of which are beautifully decorated with sequins, beads and traditional embroidered patterns.
One thing you definitely won’t miss in the market is all the brightly coloured basketry on display. Hanging from the tops of stalls and stacked in piles on the floor, these tropical-hued bags come in shades of tangerine, lime, violet and magenta and make the perfect gift for someone back home or a simple repository for all your other purchases!