Fijian Foods You Must Taste!
Sure, you might have come to Fiji to lazy in the irresistible sun, swim with tropical fish and get in some pool time, but once you discover the flavours of Fiji, you might just find your next favourite thing about these tropical islands! Food in Fiji is influenced by a mix of traditional rituals, the melting pot of cultures and the natural produce available on the islands. The result is a tantalising array of dishes, from cool and creamy meals refreshing you from the warm days to spicy Indo-Fijian flavours to fire up the nights. So check out this list of unique Fiji foods you have to try!
Want to learn more about Fiji food? Check out our Fiji Food Guide.
Let’s start with a traditional Fijian meal that you’ll hear about oh so often: lovo. Lovo means “a feast cooked in the earth” and that’s exactly what it is! Pork, fish, lamb and vegetables are wrapped in banana leaves and slow-cooked in an underground furnace. Lovo is only prepared for special occasions, such as weddings or the New Year, so even the locals have a hard time find some lovo to try! Nevertheless, some resorts and homestays do prepare lovo especially for their guests, so check if you’re resort has a special night for lovo!
Something you’ll find on plenty of menus around Fiji is kokoda (pronounced “ko-kon-da”). This raw salad dish served in a coconut shell or mini tanoa (kava bowl) primarily consists of raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut cream. Additionally, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and peppers are also added. This dish makes a good entree to your meal or a refreshing dish for lunch.
3. Cassava and Taro (Dalo)
Discovering the staples of the everyday diet in another country is one of the most interesting things about travelling (well, at least for foodies). Something you’ll find on most Fijians’ dinner plates are cassava or taro, otherwise known as dalo. These root vegetables are slightly different in taste but are prepared the same, either boiled or fried. Think of them as the Fiji version of potatoes – served on the side of a main meal. Go to any cooking classes or homestays in Fiji and you’re sure to try some! Learn more about cooking classes in our list of 10 Foodies Experiences in Fiji.
4. Baigan Valo
Our first fusion dish in the melting pot nation of Fiji, Baigan Valo is essentially stuffed eggplants. “Baingan” in Hindi means eggplant, and in Baigan Valo the eggplant is either stuffed with fish or spicy sauce before being topped with coconut cream. You’ll find it on the menu in many resort restaurants and city restaurants!
5. Fijian Roti
Another Indian influence on the flavours of Fiji is roti, which originated from the Indian sub-continent and has been a favourite in Fiji for decades. The flatbread cooked over an iron tava is a side dish to curries, as well as being used as a wrap for a quick cheap eat in curry houses and snack stands in Fiji’s towns and cities.
A real treat for breakfast, babakau is Fijian fried bread! While most resorts will offer the standard “continental style breakfast”, homestay hosts are more likely to spruce up something a little more special, like babakau! This delicious bread is usually served with jams, butter and fruit.
7. Cooked Fish
With islands surrounded by lively waters, it’s no surprise that fish is always on the menu! Plus, you’re likely to try a species of fish that you’ve never tasted before. Fish are prepared by either being fried, grilled, smoked or steamed. On a side note, Fijians don’t fillet their fish so be prepared for some bone picking. Try catching some fish yourself and see What Types of Fish Can You Fish For in Fiji.
Another tasty South Pacific dish, Palusami is a curry made with taro leaves. Although the curry does not have spices or chilli, it still has a rich taste. Palusami is either topped with coconut cream or lamb chunks.
9. Fijian-Chinese Chicken Chop Suey
Fiji has a significant Chinese population too, so naturally, Chinese food is extremely popular! Chicken chop suey is a staple item on fast food menus found in Viti Levu’s (the mainland’s) Chinese takeaways and restaurants. The tangy aromatic flavours make a real contrast to traditional Fijian food so give it a try for some variety in your palette.
10. Tropical Fruit
One of the best foodie experiences in Fiji is going to a produce market and trying all the weird and wonderful tropical fruits that you never knew existed! Try the alien-looking sour sop bursting with flavour, smooth pawpaw (papaya), the jelly-like Fijian longan and so much more! Even the fruit that you’re probably familiar with, like pineapples and bananas, will look and taste a lot different (and sweeter) than the supermarket produce at home. Plus, who can forget the fresh coconuts! Take a look at 10 Exotic Fruits in Fiji You Have to Try.