Shaved ice, macatia coco and their stories… (Traditional Food in Mauritius)
Glaçon Râpé! Glaçon Râpé!
There was a time when shaved ice sellers would drive their colourful motorbikes from house to house to sell shaved ice sticks sprinkled with homemade syrups. On summer days, and especially on Sundays, one could expect the noisy hooting of the motorbike. Little hands would grab chiming coins and juvenile voices would run by the roadside.
Children would excitedly wait for their turn to be served and the seller was generally an old man, either retired or a Jack-of-all-trades… and these people have been part of our cultural heritage that seems to erode nowadays. They artfully took out their piece of ice which was kept in a cloth carefully placed in a woven bag as in those days, there was no cooler box or bag. He would grate it on the ‘machine’ almost an art piece and gather the shaved ice on a plastic bag that he would squeeze around a stick and then grab a bottle of thick syrup and pour delicately and artfully on the ice-pop. You can still have a shaved ice today, served in a plastic cup, yes we know, that’s not eco-friendly, with a shower of rainbow syrups in Caudan Waterfront in Port-Louis. We tried it and thought that it would taste better without the plastic cup!
Macatia Coco is a local bun filled with grated coconut and sugar. The soft consistency of the dough is generally tasteless and as children, we would eat it to reach the middle bit to enjoy the sweet pleasure. To make it last longer, we would eat the dough first and keep the fillings for the end. Macatia Coco was sold almost everyday by a local seller also driving his motorbike across residential areas some time after two in the afternoon. Children were soon going to get home from school and this was generally a snack for tea time. Today, macatia coco can be found in most supermarkets across the island. We have to add that tea time is part of the mauritian culture, certainly an influence of its colonial past. Tea is served with milk and is also sold in specific areas in the Capital city, in family businesses that have been running over decades in Rue Desforges locally known as ‘lotel dite.’
Exotic content brought to you by A.V-TAYER – January 2018. All in Mauritius.