A traditional Maldives meal consists of rice and garudhiya (fish soup), with fish, chili, lemon, and onion. Curries are also used instead of garudhiya. Fish paste known as rihaakuru is also a fine side dish. Alternately, roshi (chapati) and mas huni (made of grated coconut, fish, lemon and onions) are a popular dish. Fried yams are also widely eaten. Sweet dishes include custard, bodibaiy (rice mixed with sugar) and fruits such as bananas, mangoes and papayas. Watermelons are a favourite during the fasting month of Ramazan.
The hotels and restaurants in Malé serve customers with western and eastern specialties. Few of the guesthouses offer food. The cafés in Malé (locally known as hotaa) is an ideal place to experience local tastes. Maldivian food is spicy but milder than the food found in some neighbouring countries. Sweet, sour, hot and spicy food is found. Hedhikaa is the short eats popular in many cafés. Hot and spicy savouries are made of smoked fish, grated coconut, lime juice, onion and chilli. They include bajiyaa (pastry stuffed with fish), kulhi boakibaa (fishcake), keemia (fish rolls) and gulha (fishballs) and masroshi (small pancake stuffed with fish). The sweet items are made from flour, sugar, and essence. They include foniboakiba (cake made of flour), githeyo boakiba (made of flour, onions, and butter), and huni hakuru folhi (made of grated coconut, sugar and flour). A cup of black tea (kalhu sai) is the usual option to wash down the short eats.
The local cafés and restaurants are usually open till 1.00 A.M. The opening hours in the morning differ with some cafés opening as early as 5.00 A.M.
Traditional dishes can still be found in the local islands during Eid, Maloodh, and other festivals and occasions such as christening of a child, marking the anniversary of a death. The traditional dishes are now less common in the Maldives as western items like bread, sandwiches, margarine, jam, noodles and pasta are introduced. Most of the resorts have special nights called Maldivian Night serving traditional local foods.
The resorts offer diverse international cuisine including oriental, Middle Eastern, Indian and continental ones. Most resorts have more than one restaurant to cater to the needs of visitors and locals. For light snacks and refreshments, the coffee shops in the resorts are ideal.
Alcoholic beverages and pork are prohibited by law and only found in tourist resorts and on liveaboards for tourist consumption.