What is Hakien?
Hakien or Hakkien is a popular Mauritian appetizer of Chinese origin, similar to spring rolls or nems as our French and Reunion Island friends like to call them. The traditional Mauritian style Hakiens are made with a flour-based wrapper and then dipped in a flour-based batter before being deep fried to yummy perfection, but as with all our local dishes there are many variations. Even the fillings that you can use are different: vegetables, chicken, prawns, pork, etc. And in case you didn’t guess this, Mauritians love to eat Hakiens with chili and garlic sauce or a nice homemade chutney.
Where to eat the best Hakien in Mauritius?
Because this is just the kind of thing we do, we decided to go on a quest for the best Hakien in Mauritius. We tried them everywhere: in small local snacks, restaurants, and on the streets.
We finally determined the criteria to assess a good Hakien:
- Freshness: It has to be served fresh, within a few minutes of being fried.
- Crunch: The exterior has to be light and crunchy, and the dough should not be thick and oily.
- Taste and Texture: The fillings shouldn’t be soaking in oil but must have a nice mix of crunchy and chewy.
Yea, we’re quite picky.
But the good news is that after months of searching for the ultimate Hakien, we finally found them at a small local restaurant in Grand Baie called Hai Hua Restaurant (also known as Restaurant Ocean). The restaurant is a family owned and run establishment and they make their own Hakiens from scratch. They serve them fresh with a side of crushed chillies and garlic sauce, just like we like it! We have to warn you though that when they run out, they run out, so you may want to call ahead if you don’t want to get your heart broken. They also have many other great items on the menu like the calamar croustillant (fried calamari), mine bouillie (boiled noodles), daube poisson (fish in a local sauce), etc. at excellent prices. We just love it!
If you have been there or are planning on giving it a try, let us know what you think!