Fiji Food Facts, Tips & Advice
Fiji might be better known for its glorious beaches, tropical islands and vibrant local culture, but the food on the islands is simply to die for. Fresh from the ocean or from the land, food experiences are refreshing, to say the least! However, there are a few things you need to know about Fiji food. Here are some tips, as well as a few fun facts about the food in Fiji.
1. You Might Not Have a Choice of Places to Eat
The islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni all have a choice of restaurants outside of resorts and hotels. However, if you’re staying on one of the other outer islands, it’s likely that your only option for food is your resort’s restaurant. See our lists of restaurant recommendations in The Complete Guide to Food in Fiji.
2. Fijians Use Specific Ingredients in Food
The Fijian diet traditionally centres around a few ingredients: fish, rice, sweet potato, taro (a root vegetable), cassava (a root vegetable), breadfruit, coconut and tropical fruits. With these ingredients, there are a few meals that Fiji has made their own. Kokoda is raw fish marinated in lime juice, coconut cream and sometimes other spices. Palusami is a rich curry made with taro leaves topped with coconut cream. And Babakau is Fijian fried bread that tastes great for breakfast. See more Fijian meals in 10 Unique Foods in Fiji You Have to Try.
3. Indian Food is Abundant in Fiji
Roughly, around 40% of the population in Fiji are of Indian descent. You can learn about the history here. Indo-Fijians have their own distinct dishes here, where Indian food is authentic, flavourful and affordable. Curry houses are abundant around the islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. An Indian and Fijian dish worth trying is Baigan Valo, which are eggplants stuffed with fish, spicy sauce and topped with coconut cream. Additionally, an Indo-Fijian favourite is roti, which is an Indian flatbread that is used as a curry side or a wrap.
4. Local Food is Served with Bones
If you’re eating with the locals, eating from curry houses or food stalls, don’t expect your meat or fish to be boneless. Be prepared for a bit of picking! Many resorts will serve dishes without the bones.
5. Kava is the National Drink of Fiji
The national drink of Fiji is Kava, locally known as “Yaqona”. This narcotic drink consists of ground-up roots of a pepper plant and is used during welcoming ceremonies known as Kava Ceremonies. Kava ceremonies can be experienced as a tourist experience at resorts and are also mandatory when visiting a Fijian village for the first time. Learn more about the customs surrounding kava ceremonies in Fiji Village Etiquette: What to Do When Visiting a Fijian Village. Plus, Fiji is also a producer of their own coffee, beer and rum! Get more details in 8 Drinks in Fiji You Have to Try.
6. Self-Catering is Available in Resorts on Certain Islands
On the islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni, self-catering is an option for the budget-conscious or diet-conscious traveller. Some resorts and apartments on these islands have self-catering facilities. Browse these resorts in our Foodie Accommodation category. That way, travellers can make use of the local produce sold in supermarkets, convenience stores and produce markets, which you can find out more about in Where to Buy Food in Fiji.
7. You Can Experience Food Through More Than Just Eating it
Because much of the culture in Fiji revolves around food and living off the land and sea, there are actually more ways to experience the food here than simply eating. There are hands-on experiences, like cooking classes and fishing, as well as informational talks, like medicine walks and coconut demonstrations. Check out a complete list in the 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Fiji.
8. Not All Water Is Safe to Drink
While tap water in urban areas is generally safe to drink in Fiji, the same can’t be said for villages and remote areas. Travellers can get sick from drinking contaminated water, even if the locals are drinking it – they are used to it. If you’re unsure about the water, avoid water-borne diseases by boiling water for about 10 minutes before drinking it or by using a Lifestraw bottle. See Can You Drink the Water in Fiji? for more details and advice.
9. Be Aware of Food Safety
On top of water safety, it’s a good idea to be aware of food safety when you’re travelling around the islands of Fiji. For instance, avoid eating salads or uncooked food that might have been washed with contaminated water. Try to eat food that has been cooked in front of you. Avoid gastro bugs by using hand disinfectant and only eating cooked food. And do not eat runny eggs or undercooked meat to avoid salmonella. See more tips in 10 Health Tips for Fiji.
10. Vegetarians are Well Catered For
There are vegetarian options on the menu at all resorts in Fiji, as well as specialised vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Nadi, Denarau, Suva and the Mamanuca Islands. Those staying in a resort in Fiji are best to let their resort know they have any dietary requirements in advance so that they can get ingredients prepared. Almost all of the time, resorts can cater to certain dietary needs.