Food Activities on Vanua Levu
Experience the flavours of Fiji on the island of Vanua Levu. Fiji’s “other large island” provides an alternative food scene to what you might have experienced elsewhere in Fiji. The best way to describe it is extremely authentic, with a mix of Fijian and Indo-Fijian cuisine to be sampled. What’s more, it can be sampled through hands-on experiences, from mud-crabbing to herbal walks. Check out some of your best options for foodie experiences with this list of things to do on Vanua Levu for foodies.
1. Indulge in a Traditional Fijian Lovo
A traditional method of slow-cooking food wrapped in banana leaves underground, the Fijian Lovo is an experience usually saved for special occasions. However, guests of Vanua Levu’s resorts have the opportunity to experience the smokey flavours and melt-in-your-mouth textures for themselves. Try it for yourself at the Koro Sun Resort, Savasi Island Resort, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort or help prepare one yourself at the Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat. At Nukubati Private Island, you can also experience a Tatavu also known as a Fijian barbecue.
2. Treat Her to a Private Sandbank Picnic
For something especially romantic, treat your loved one to a private picnic on the beach or on a secluded sandbank. Nukubati Private Island‘s signature activity is their sandbank picnic where they’ll set up a Champagne lunch for you amidst the Great Sea Reef. Trips to secluded beaches complete with a private gourmet picnic can also be experienced with the Koro Sun Resort, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort and Emaho Sekawa Resort.
3. Mingle with the Locals at the Savusavu and Labasa Markets
Check out the fabulous array of tropical fruit and vegetables for sale at the Savusavu and Labasa markets. Vanua Levu specialities include cassia bark (cinnamon), wild honey, bush dhaniya (coriander), avocado, fresh mullet, cabacaba lobster, sici shells and some of the sweetest fruit. So pick up some ingredients if you’re staying in self-catering accommodation, such as what we list in the 10 Best Accommodation on Vanua Levu for Foodies. The markets in Savusavu and Labasa are located by their town centre bus stations on the waterfront.
4. Take Part in a Fijian or Indo-Fijian Cooking Class
A foodie favourite on the islands of Fiji, cooking classes are a must! Learn traditional Fijian cooking methods in a Fijian cooking class with Savasi Island Resort. You’ll prepare banilolo (steamed coconut bread) or kokoda (fish marinated in coconut milk), as well as learn how to weave staple Fijian ingredients into your own cuisine. Or if you prefer to just watch, the chefs at The Remote Resort put on Fijian cooking demonstrations at the bar every Monday. Alternatively, learn a mix of Fijian and Hindi cooking with a cooking class at Sigasiga Sands Resort. Other resorts that offer Fijian cooking classes include Nukubati, Koro Sun and Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat.
5. Learn About Traditional Medicinal Plants on a Herbal Walk
An abundance of interesting herbs and plants grow on Vanua Levu and its surrounding islands. Resorts such as Savasi Island Resort offer herbal walking tours where you’ll discover the natural medicinal qualities the vegetation around the island possesses. Nukubati Private Island takes guests through their gardens to show traditional medicinal plants. Or delve deep into the rainforest with the Koro Sun Resort for a herbal walk watching the wonders of nature unfold.
6. See How Fijians Welcome Each Other in a Kava Ceremony
If there’s only one thing you know about the Fijian culture, it’s probably the kava ceremony. This ceremony is performed when newcomers visit a village, gifting a yaqona root to grind into a narcotic drink known as kava or “grog”. At resorts such as The Remote Resort and Nukubati Private Island, you’ll experience a kava ceremony and get to sample kava for yourself. Don’t worry, the yaqona root is provided, but if you’re visiting a Fijian village or doing a homestay, you will need to present yaqona as a gift. Learn more in our Fiji Village Etiquette: What to Do When Visiting a Fijian Village.
7. Learn All About the Crafty Coconut in a Coconut Demonstration
Vanua Levu is Fiji’s coconut or “copra” capital, so it’s the perfect place to learn more about this versatile nut. Learn about the many uses of coconuts including for making coconut milk, oil, chutney, brooms, mats or snacks at the Sigasiga Sands Resort. Attend the Coconut 101 class at The Remote Resort to learn how to craft all sorts of objects with coconuts, as well as how to make pina coladas using fresh pineapple as an added extra. Similar experiences are also available at Koro Sun Resort, Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat, Savasi Island Resort and Nukubati Private Island.
8. Experience Mud Crabbing after Dark
Experiencing hunting the local way at the Savasi Island Resort. Their “Mud Crabbing” experience takes you beside the mangroves and estuaries where mud crabs hide. Learn how to catch the crabs using traditional hunting methods then take your catch to the kitchen to enjoy a dish made with your freshly caught seafood. Note that this is a seasonal activity.
9. Have a Private Dining Experience on the Beach, by a Waterfall or in a Seacave
To celebrate a special occasion or “just because”, indulge in a private dining experience during your stay on Vanua Levu. At the Namela Resort & Spa enjoy a romantic meal in some stunning locations around the resort, including beside a waterfall or inside a candlelit sea cave. Alternatively, dine under the Milky Way with a private table set up on the beach at the Nukubati Private Island resort. A romantic set-up on the resorts’ piers is also available at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort and The Remote Resort.
10. Scout Out the Cheap Eats
Vanua Levu is known for being one of Fiji’s more affordable islands, especially when it comes to dining out. The towns of Savusavu and Labasa each have their fair share of restaurants serving reasonably-priced Indo-Fijian, Chinese, Korean and Western food. Even in some of the budget resorts around Vanua Levu, the menus are well-priced, offering some Fijian favourites into the mix. Check out our recommendations in the Top Cheap Eats on Vanua Levu or see more suggestions in our Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants on Vanua Levu.