The foods of Madagascar The range of dishes eaten in Madagascar in the 21st century offers insight into the island's unique history and the diversity of the peoples who inhabit it today. The complexity of Malagasy meals can range from the simple, traditional preparations introduced by the earliest settlers, to the refined festival dishes prepared for the island's 19th-century monarchs. Although the classic Malagasy meal of rice and its accompaniment remains predominant, over the past 100 years other food types and combinations have been popularized by French colonists and immigrants from China and India. Consequently, Malagasy cuisine is traditional while also assimilating newly emergent cultural influences. Throughout almost the entire island, the contemporary cuisine of Madagascar typically consists of a base of rice served with an accompaniment. The many varieties may be vegetarian or include animal proteins, and typically feature a sauce flavored with such ingredients as ginger, onion, garlic, tomato, vanilla, salt, curry powder, or, less commonly, other spices or herbs. A wide variety of sweet and savory fritters as well as other street foods are available across the island, as are diverse tropical and temperate-climate fruits.