Mauritius and Goa have a diverse history of Portuguese/Dutch influence; both are surrounded by coastal waters and phenomenally warm weather. However, both hold very different and very diverse cultural backgrounds which alter the living conditions for the people of both countries. Goa and Mauritius hold hybridized cultures, religions and foods, which make it authentically different from other cultures of the world. The cuisine of Mauritius, consisting of variety of flavors and aromas, is indeed a gastronomic delight. It is clear that the Mauritian cuisine today reflects the cultural richness of the Mauritian society. Unlike Asian curries, it is unusual for Mauritian curries to contain coconut. They more commonly will contain herbs such as thyme and parsley. The creolization of language, food and culture becomes evident in the way Mauritian people live. The indentured laborers from India have continuously kept ancestral names and religions but have altered the way they cook particular Indian foods. This is because of the different subcultures and religions, such as Tamil, Telegu, Marathi, Indian and Muslim. However, some of the intact cultures are the Chinese, who practice Buddhism, and Africans, who practice Christianity and Catholicism. The people of Mauritius have significantly held multi-dimensional identities. The cuisine of Goa is characterized by its sophisticated and subtle use of many spices and vegetables grown across India and also for the widespread influence of Portuguese culture in their eating and cultural habits. It is considered to be one of the world’s most diverse cuisines, each family of Goa cuisine is characterized by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. As a consequence, Goa or Goan cuisine varies from the north and south regions of Goa, reflecting the varied demographics of the small state. Sometimes, the ideology that everything within a society seems to be continuously fluctuating, infinite opportunities seems to be accessible and no group, cultures, ethnic categories are fixed because of the conflation of discrete phenomena.
This project was made possible thanks to our partners at the Malvern Action for Neighbourhood Change.
Project Page: Food and Migration History of Mauritius and Goa
Author: Hena Mussai
Course: GASD71, Cuisine and Culture of South Asia, Winter 2015