Specialities of the Seychelles
The Indian Ocean's fish are large, meaty, and packed with flavour, so seafood is a natural first choice in the Seychelles' eateries. The rounded red snapper, also called bourzwa, tastes like extremely tender chicken and is often grilled with garlic and ginger and served whole with a salad or rice and vegetables.
Tuna and king fish steaks are delicious grilled or fried in garlic butter, and picturesque parrot fish are usually deep fried in batter and come with a spicy tomato Creole sauce. Swordfish is also grilled, while sailfish is often smoked like salmon. Shark comes as a "chutney" - stir fried and seasoned with onions, herbs and the savoury bilimbi fruit.
Smaller fish - like mackerel, job fish and rabbit fish - are grilled or cooked as curry, fish soup or stew. Rabbit fish - kordonye in Creole - is nicknamed "the fish that makes women drunk" as one of its glands secretes an intoxicant. It tastes quite normal, but both men and women may feel tipsy after eating it.
Octopus, or zourit, is one of the Seychelles' chief delicacies, and needs to be cooked carefully till it is tender and can be chopped into a cold seafood cocktail or added to a hot creamy coconut curry.
Tec tecs - tiny white shellfish - are mixed with pumpkin and turned into soup. Sea snails are served in their pretty green-and-white shells, stuffed with their diced meat and plenty of herbs and garlic. Turtles, once the prime fare of passing seamen, are now protected by law and so no longer appear on any restaurant's menu.
Frequently offered as a starter is Millionaire's Salad, so called because a whole palm tree has to be cut down to harvest the heart - a slightly sweet, cool, crunchy vegetable which is the salad's principal ingredient.
Birds' eggs (terns being the most common) are not always available, but if they are, they are served usually hard-boiled or as an omelette. They are distinguished by a bright orange hue that is very different from chicken-egg yellow. Another typical Seychelles' delicacy, and something of an acquired taste, is curried fruit bat, which tastes a little like rabbit. Beware: its many small bones make it tricky to eat.