Walk into any Creole restaurant in Seychelles and you will almost certainly find curry on the menu. You’ll see chicken, pork, beef, fish, seafood and maybe you’ll see fruit bat curry! Keep reading on to learn more about this unusual, traditional dish.
Seychelles Fruit Bat
Seychelles Fruit Bats, also known as the Seychelles Flying Foxes are abundant in the Seychelles. If you head out early evening, you’ll see them everywhere. Occasionally, you will be able to spot them in the day, too.
As you would expect, when you see bats in trees, they will be hanging around upside down.
When it comes to eating bat, you’re not going to find it in the supermarket. It’s all about ‘knowing a guy’ who catches them. Bat has been eaten in Seychelles since the days of slavery. They used to be killed with stones or clubs, then later guns. But today they are caught with large nets strung between fruit trees.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, records the Seychelles Fruit Bat as a species with ‘the least concern’. This is the lowest threat level for any species. It is noted that while they are hunted for food by humans, it appears currently to have a negligible effect on the population.
Who eats it?
Unquestionably, fruit bat curry is a dish sought out by tourists. It’s a dish that even the most seasoned travellers won’t come across often, so it definitely has appeal for being something to write home about.
That said, eating fruit bat is also a Seychellois tradition. It is certainly not as popular now as other meat curries, but ask around and you will find that there are Seychellois who will still eat it. Fruit bat is quite difficult to prepare as there are many glands that need removing first and it must be soaked in vinegar for a long time prior to cooking.
How does it taste?
Typically if you see bat on the menu it will be in a curry. You will sometimes find it grilled. Some people will say it tastes like chicken. It doesn’t! It is difficult to compare to another meat, as it has a taste totally of its own, and is red meat.
Fruit bats are notoriously bony, so do get prepared to suck the bones to get the meat off.
Where to eat bat
If you’re on the island of Mahé, check out Marie Antoinette Creole Restaurant. Its one of the oldest and definitely one of the most famous restaurants in Seychelles. They seasonally have fruit bat on their menu, but you must request this in advance.
Most of the Creole takeaways sell fruit bat curry, so try Coco Rouge on Praslin who serve it regularly.
If you fancy trying bat in a different way, you can get fruit bat ravioli at La Plaine St. Andre
La Plaine St. André, Mahé, Seychelles +248 4283737