Connect

The first thing to check before going to another country is the location itself, if the trip will be worth the value of its currency demanded and if connecting to the family and friends I left at home will be possible. Although Seychelles is a small isolated island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, there are ways to connect to your family and friends back home.

Getting off at the Seychelles airport, from the plane you have to go through customs first, obviously. And when you’re done you can simply walk out and you’ll see small booths selling SIM cards, the most common services here in Seychelles is Airtel and Cable and Wireless. Cable and Wireless was the first telecommunication company and this followed by Airtel and other choices such as Kokonet and Intelvision. These companies make it their mission to provide the highest quality of telecommunication services as possible.

International calls, internet data and local calls, these companies provide and they have attractive bundles of packages for however long your stay in Seychelles is. These companies are different and they all provide different forms of service but one thing I can assure you, they will make sure you connect with your loved ones at home. Most of their offices are in town however there are small branches in the districts around the islands and some mobile packages can even be purchased in retail stores and super markets.

These package bundles are available for your phone, laptop or tablet. Whatever device you want to use it on, they have a solution. Your Instagram game will not be weak when you’re on this island beauty.

When you’re in Seychelles it’s not just about having a good time, but rather sharing your experience with your family and friends.

A Brief History on Food and Dance

Two main things most people would associate with Seychelles could be argued as food and dance. These two things almost always go hand in hand and are incredibly popular among Seychellois and tourists alike. The traditional music and dance shows the culturally diverse background of our nation’s history.

Seychellois Dance

There happens to be a plethora of different traditional dances that are practiced in Seychelles but I will be writing about my three favorite.

The Moutia is a fan favorite with its percussion and string instruments. It contains foreign influences from when Seychelles had been colonized by the French in the 18th century followed by the British in the 19th. They brought about the guitar and violin which play a large part in Seychelles’ music today.

The Sega dance is the most popular of dance styles; the go to when learning Seychelles’ dances. With its characteristic hip-swaying movements, it is believe that it began with the slave population on the islands of Reunion and Mauritius. Sega music is traditionally performed with hand drums and rattles. while the feet remain planted on the floor in a rhythmic shuffle.

Kanmtole music is always fun to listen to. It bears a resemblance to the French Royal Court’s contredanse as well as Scottish square dancing. Accompanied by an accordion, violin and banjos, the contredanse was a French version of English country dances integrated with steps typical of the French court. Dating from the early 19th century, the kanmtole is a lively blend of all these dance styles.

Other musical styles in Seychelles include hip-hop, country, modern jazz, rock, ballads and choirs performing traditional popular, sacred, ancient and evangelical music. It’s thanks to Seychelles’ diverse past that these music and dance styles have evolved over the centuries to give the nation its rich musical heritage.

Seychellois Cuisine

Fish is definitely a big player in Seychellois cuisine and fishing happens to play a large part in our Blue Economy. Fish can be prepared in several ways, including, but not limited to: steamed, grilled, baked, boiled, fried, salted, smoked and wrapped in banana leaves. However, fish isn’t the only sea dweller that locals enjoy to catch and eat.

Other big ‘fish’ that were consumed in most Seychellois homes back in the day, included dolphin and turtles which were known as manze rar; rare food. These meats have since been forbidden by local authorities and marine parks, but some still risk it for that old Creole feeling. Sharks however, are fair game. One thing Seychellois can pride themselves in is using every part of the animals they consume. For shark you can make soup, salads/chutneys, curries and more with different parts respectively. Shark chutney, a personal favorite, typically consists of boiled, finely mashed skinned shark, and cooked with lime and bilimbi juice. Fried onions and spices are mixed along with it and makes this a perfect side dish or samosa filling.

Another type of meat that is popular in Seychelles is bat meat. Bat curry is something that can be found in authentic creole restaurants who can gain access to these creatures and is a great delicacy. Other curries can be found in almost any crock pot on the island! These curries can vary from salty to spicy, coconut cream enriched to tangy. Rice is also available with any meal.

Growing up, my family would enjoy eating a dish called ‘ladob’. Depending on the ingredients, I always found it to have a strange smell and was never fond of it, whether it was in savory or dessert form. The savory version usually had salted fish along with plantain, cassava or breadfruit with salt and boiled with coconut milk until soft. Its dessert dish omitted the fish (thank goodness!) along with the salt. It could be cooked with plantain, bananas, corossol, sweet potatoes, cassava or breadfruit and was seasoned in coconut milk with sugar, nutmeg and vanilla pods.

A few delicacies and specialty dishes include:

Bouyon bred
Kari bernik
Cassava pudding
Satini reken
Kat-kat banan
Salad palmis
Tec tec soup
Kari sousouri

Find more information on Creole cooking here.

A Brief History Lesson on Folklore

The history of folklore in Seychelles, stems from fantastic storytellers and singers that pass on rich Seychellois culture through fables, proverbs and songs.

Since the first settlers, Seychelles has been responsible for its own history and culture that it puts out. Folklore plays a large part of that. Old sayings, riddles and stories were a way of explanation and entertainment for children and adults alike. Like most educational stories, these had morals to them that would teach children a proper way to live as they grew up.

Apart from theses fables, ghost stories were and still play a large part in Seychelles legends. Tales of superstition and spells were a means of Instilling fear in disobedient children, as most spooky stories do. Despite the fact that not all the tales of ghosts and ghouls might be real, the reactions that they would receive were enough for people to believe in.

Small innocuous superstitions that were told to children, including myself were that whistling in the house was bad luck as well as having your feet swept would make sure you never married. A majority of other superstitions can be found linked to money; if you happened to sweep money, you would lose what you earned or sweeping after 6 would result in sweeping your money away.

Other superstitions include:

– If a cockerel sings during the day, it announces a visitor
– Dropping a fork during dinner announces a male visitor, dropping a spoon announces a female visitor.
– If you eat from the pot, it will rain on your wedding day.
– Do not start a project on a Friday, you will surely fail.
– Do not play with fire, you will wet your bed.
– Do not give someone money through the window or you will be ruined.
– Do not allow a baby to stare into a mirror, he/she will not grow teeth.
– Do not lend your broom to anyone, it will rob you of your luck.
– Do not count stars, you will get warts.
– Pointing at vegetables will stop them from growing
– Staring at a pregnant woman will result in an eye infection
– If you get pimple around your mouth, someone likes you

If one thing is for certain, superstitions can be funny to read about and even make you cautious!

Full Stomach

The staples of any Seychellois dinner can be from grilled fish and spinach, to spicy curries and lentils.

Grilled fish may not be unique to the Seychelles Islands but its flavoring and preparation just might be. Here on the islands, tourists can find grilled fish in almost every restaurant or evening bazar. They can see it being prepared in banana leaves on an open fire or on a small grill. To top off this delicious meal is a mixture of tomatoes and onions and even the occasional bilimbi.

If you don’t like your fish grilled then you can have it stewed with some “bouyon bred”; a spinach dish that is definitely a fan favorite in creole homes.

Curry is the way to go when you want to spice things up; my personal favorite is a hot beef curry. Armed with some local spices and a strong masala, you can make this tasty meal. On special occasions you can find bat curry (kari sousouri) heating up in the pot. It may sound unappealing but it is definitely a cultural meal to most locals. Curry can be made with a variety of different meat ranging from fish to lamb to pork, chicken or octopus. When it comes to this dinner, anything is possible as long as you have the right ingredients.

One of my favorite dishes growing up, when I barely reached my mother’s hip, was Rougay Sosis. A simple yet savory dish made with local sausage and tomatoes served over rice. The perfect addition to any meal, though, has to be a chutney (satini) or a salad. Each dish has a specific accompaniment that goes better with it. For example the Rougay Sosis could be paired up with a pumpkin chutney whereas a beef curry goes well with a cucumber salad. But this could be different for everyone!

Lentils are a must have for most meals. They go perfect with almost everything thing. Add some local sausage or pork cracklings for an extra flavor. Pour it on top of some safran rice and fill up your stomach with pure yummy-ness.

But for the true Seychellois food experience, one must always try the chili. There are different versions of the “piman” from blended with onions to chopped in oil, but the result is almost the same. The spiciness brings out the flavor of the entire dish and makes it even more heavenly. But don’t take it from me! Try it out at a variety of restaurants, hotels and bars that our beautiful islands have to offer!

Check out a full list of restaurants and bars here and more info on the local market here.