Pudine ki chutney (mint chutney)
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While visiting the Seychelles, we made an unplanned trip to Sundown, a restaurant at Port Glaud. We decided to go there because I had remembered reading about it on Chocolate and Zucchini as a good example of local food. We were headed in that direction to take a scenic drive through the Morne Seychellois, the verdant National Park. The restaurant’s structure was a simple wooden building with a galvanized roof, but the setting was completely spectacular. Once inside the restaurant, you have a full view of a a vibrantly turquoise, shallow lagoon perfect for snorkeling and beachcombing.
We were unprepared for snorkeling, and unfortunately, as it happened, also for dining. We started hungrily reading the kréol menu, bat kari included, then noticed the sign that read “cash only.” We started to conspicuously count out our local currency, coins included, which came out to only 180 Seychelles rupees, which would have allowed the four of us to purchase just one entrée. The previously reserved owner, noticing our predicament, asked us if we needed help. It was embarrassing to confess to her how little cash we had on hand. She was as eager to serve us as we were to sample her fine-looking food, so she made a phone call to find out the location of the nearest ATM (30 minutes away).
At this point, another patron started chatting with the owner in kréol. When she understood what was going on, she gave the owner 400 Seychelles rupees of her own, asked only that we enjoy not just lunch but also the beach, and said we could pay her back when we had a chance. Unlike back at home, she trusted that we would repay her, without even getting our full names or any proof of identification. After a glorious meal and afternoon in the sun, we drove back to Beau Vallon and made a stop at the ATM before returning to our condo. In the small parking lot, who should we run into but our Culinary Guardian Angel, who, it turned out, was Ms. Dorothy Furneau, the Seychelles Tourism Ambassador to Italy. It was so lovely, as far away from home as we could be, to make a new friend whose generosity gave us a priceless experience.
(Please also see related photo, "Seychellois fish kari.")
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