Fiji Holidays often bring to mind cocktails by the pool, crystal clear waters, endless sun and sand and plenty of fun for the whole family. However, when you book your travel online to Fiji, you should also include a schedule to sample unique and authentic local food. With traditional recipes passed down generation after generation and such amazing locally grown produce available, the food in Fiji is wonderful.
As a large part of the Fijian population has Indian origins, much of the cuisine features Indian influences that have evolved to make use of local produce such as tavioka and taro, resulting in a more mild finish to dishes such as madrasi masala dosa and tandoori chicken. Chinese influenced food is also very popular with the Fijian people.
The main ingredients used in Fijian food include rice, taro, sweet potato, coconut, cassava, banana, breadfruit, leafy vegetables, fish and corned beef. The most common methods of cooking are underground ovens or open fires and thanks to the Indian influence, spices and curries also form a large part of the Fijian diet.
Coconut cream is one of the most commonly used ingredients in almost every Fijian dish including a taro leaf meal called rourou and a mashed banana and baked tapioca dish known as tavioka. Another common yet slightly more unusual ingredient is the duruka, a seasonal vegetable similar to asparagus that is available from April to May.
The food eaten by Fijians on a daily basis is fairly simple but packs a punch and common meals include ‘kokodo’, a raw fish dish made from mahi-mahi that is cured in lime juice, chilli, onion, salt and served drizzled in coconut cream. ‘Palusami’ is also a popular baked fish or corned beef dish wrapped in taro leaves and coconut milk.
However the most recognised Fijian cuisine is the ‘lovo’, a method of underground cooking that uses banana leaves and coconut husks to wrap fish or meat and vegetables which is then covered with hot stones and slow cooked to tenderness. Although this meal is traditionally reserved for weddings and celebrations, many Fiji resorts hold a lovo night weekly to give visitors a taste of traditional Fijian cuisine.
The markets are a great place to source fresh local produce and see the Fijian women in action, preparing traditional meals with their own crops or ingredients from their neighbours. However there are also a great range of popular restaurants serving authentic cuisine located on Victoria Parade in Suva as well as Coast Road in Waiyevo, Waimanu Road in Nadi and the town centre of Levuku.
Most of the food available on the streets of Fiji and served in the onsite restaurants of hotels still feature the Fijian cooking style, not to mention the fantastic local produce. For the what, how and where of Fiji resorts that offer a weekly lovo night and other opportunities to sample traditional Fijian cuisine, visit our Fiji Destination Guide. For other helpful advice on planning your next Fiji holidays visit TravelOnline.com.