Fiji Food Guide for Travellers
Across the 333 islands that make up the Fiji archipelago, a wealth of food experiences await. If you’re seeking true South Pacific cuisine, then you’ll find it here where the seafood is fresh from the ocean and fruit and vegetables are all grown on the islands. With a melting pot of cultures, most prominently Fijian and Indo-Fijian, there are different flavours to treat your palette too. Not only that but food can be experienced in a number of ways from cooking classes to kava ceremonies. Learn all about Fiji food in this complete guide to food in Fiji!
Before we get into our Fiji food guide, be sure to bookmark the 13 Unique Foods in Fiji You Have to Try for our top meal recommendations.
10 Fun Facts and Things to Know About the Food in Fiji
- The islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni all have a choice of restaurants, but if you’re staying on one of the other outer islands, your only option for food is likely your resort restaurant
- Ingredients that Fijians use in cooking include fish, rice, coconut, taro, cassava and breadfruit
- Indian food is well represented in Fiji thanks to the large Indo-Fijian population
- Local foods are often served bones-and-all, so prepare for some picking
- Kava is the national drink in Fiji, although the islands also produce rum, coffee and beer
- Self-catering is available in some resorts on Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni where you can buy ingredients from supermarkets and produce markets
- There are more ways to experience food in Fiji than just eating it, with cooking classes, medicinal walks, coconut demonstrations and more
- Certain dietary requirements are well catered for in certain restaurants and if resorts are notified
- Not all water is safe to drink in Fiji so be prepared with a Lifestraw bottle
- Be aware of food health and safety by following our tips in the 10 Health Tips for Fiji.
The Best Restaurants in Fiji
Going out and trying either Fijian meals or international dishes with a local twist is all part of a Fiji getaway. While the islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni have a range of independent restaurants to get a taste of “what the locals eat”, the other island groups have resorts with their own restaurants. Independent restaurants can be extremely affordable, especially curry houses and Chinese restaurants, while resorts are where you’ll be paying a premium for your meals.
For those of you who want to get out and try different restaurants around Fiji, check out the recommendations in the articles linked below:
- Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Nadi
- Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Denarau
- Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants on the Coral Coast
- Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants on the Pacific Harbour & Beqa
- Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Suva
- Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants on the Suncoast
- Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants on Vanua Levu
- Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants on Taveuni
For street food experiences and affordable meals across Viti Levu, check out the cheap eats in the following articles:
- Top Cheap Eats in Nadi
- Top Cheap Eats in Denarau
- Top Cheap Eats on the Coral Coast
- Top Cheap Eats on the Pacific Harbour
- Top Cheap Eats in Suva
- Top Cheap Eats on the Suncoast
Vegan and Vegetarian Meals in Restaurants
For those staying in a resort in Fiji, it’s best to let your resort know in advance if you have any dietary requirements. Almost all of the time, resorts can cater to dietary needs. Otherwise, vegans and vegetarians can find a range of restaurants to suit their needs in the following locations:
- 5 Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Nadi
- 10 Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Denarau
- 8 Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Suva
- 5 Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in the Mamanuca Islands
Finally, if you’re celebrating a special occasion or “just because” there are a few excellent fine dining experiences across the islands of Fiji. Many of the mid-range to high-end resorts offer fine dining with impeccably presented cuisine using fresh local produce. The widest range of fine dining restaurants can be found in the following locations:
You might also be interested in 5 Unique Dining Experiences in the Yasawa Islands.
Self-Catering in Fiji
On the islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni, self-catering is definitely an option. Some resorts and apartments on these islands have self-catering facilities, so travellers can make use of the local produce sold in supermarkets, convenience stores and produce markets. Find out more in our guide on Where to Buy Food in Fiji and The Guide to Food Shopping in Fiji.
The Cost of Food in Fiji
Fijian supermarkets sell imports from New Zealand and Australia to satisfy western food demands, while Indian and Chinese supermarkets are also available to buy eastern food. Here are some typical food prices:
- A loaf of bread – FJ$1.20-$1.60
- Rice (1kg/2.2 pounds) – FJ$1.50-$2.30
- Pasta (500g/1.1 pounds) – FJ$7.49-$8
- 12 eggs – FJ$5.50
- Cheese (1kg/2.2pounds) – FJ$21
- Chicken breast (1kg/2.2 ounces) – FJ$21
- Beef (1kg/2.2 ounces) – FJ$23
- Bananas (1kg/2.2 ounces) – FJ$4
- Tomato (1kg/2.2 ounces) – FJ$10
- Onion (1kg/2.2 ounces) – FJ$2.50
- Pack of cookies/biscuit snacks (200g/7 ounces) – FJ$2.40
For more food prices, see What is the Cost of Food in Fiji? Plus, plan your entire travel budget with Fiji Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Fiji Cost?
Traditional Fijian and Indo-Fijian Food
There are two main cultures represented in Fiji: Fijians and Indo-Fijians. Both have their own distinct food specialities, as well as a few fusion dishes. Be sure to try some of the local staples when you see them on the menu.
The Fijian diet traditionally centres around a few ingredients: rice, sweet potato, taro (a root vegetable), cassava (a root vegetable), breadfruit, coconut, fish and tropical fruits. See the 10 Exotic Fruits in Fiji You Have to Try for inspiration.
With these ingredients, there are a few Fijian meals that serve as a national dish. Kokoda is raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut cream. Palusami is a curry made with taro leaves topped with coconut cream. And babakau is Fijian fried bread. See more dishes in 10 Unique Foods in Fiji You Have to Try.
Finally, usually saved for special occasions but now becoming more and more popular in resorts, is the Fijian “lovo”. A lovo is an underground oven where food is wrapped in banana leaves to slow cook for several hours. The result is an earthy-tasting feast with melt-in-your-mouth textures.
The national drink of Fiji is kava, otherwise known as “yaqona”. This narcotic drink made with ground-up pepper plant roots is used during welcoming ceremonies known as kava ceremonies. Kava ceremonies can be experienced at resorts and are also mandatory when visiting a Fijian village for the first time. Learn more about the customs surrounding kava in Fiji Village Etiquette: What to Do When Visiting a Fijian Village.
Fiji is also a producer of their own coffee, beer and rum. Find out more in 8 Drinks in Fiji You Have to Try.
Curry houses are abundant around the islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu where food is flavourful, affordable and authentic. There are a few Indian and Fijian dishes worth trying, including baigan valo, which are eggplants stuffed with fish, spicy sauce and topped with coconut cream. Additionally, an Indo-Fijian favourite is roti, an Indian flatbread that is used as a curry side or a wrap.
Food Tours and Activities in Fiji
As you may have guessed, much of the culture in Fiji revolves around food. With that, there are many ways to enjoy food in Fiji apart from simply eating it. There are hands-on experiences, like cooking classes and fishing, to informational talks, like medicine walks and coconut demonstrations.
Foodie Things to Do in Fiji
Here are just some ways to can experience the food in Fiji:
- Visit a Fijian produce market
- Take part in a Fijian or Indo-Fijian cooking class (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Do a superfood tour on Taveuni (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Enjoy a Fijian cultural dinner show
- Indulge in a private island picnic
- Watch a coconut demonstration
- Learn about medicinal plants on a herbal walk
- Take part in a kava ceremony
- Catch dinner on a fishing trip
- Take part in a cultural village stay.
Learn more about each of these activities in detail in our 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Fiji.
Food Health and Safety in Fiji
While eating food from restaurants and resorts is generally safe in Fiji, you will want to be more cautious of street food and eating in villages. Here are some health and safety tips for eating food in Fiji…
Food Safety Tips for Fiji
If you’re in an area that may have unsafe water, such as remote outer islands, 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. Vegetarian food is usually a safer option than eating meat or fish.
Avoid gastro bugs by using hand disinfectant and only eating cooked food. If you get diarrhoea, drink water regularly and alternate between electrolytes and water. See a doctor if other symptoms occur.
A more common type of food poisoning in Fiji is ciguatera caused by eating reef fish that has eaten toxic algae. Locals know what reef fish to avoid eating, so only eat what the locals eat or simply avoid eating reef fish altogether.
Finally, do not eating runny eggs or undercooked meat to avoid salmonella.
Can You Drink the Water in Fiji?
Tap water in urban areas is generally safe to drink in Fiji, as well as in resorts that often have their own water filtration system. In villages and remote areas, the water may not be safe to drink. Even if the locals are drinking it – they are usually used to it. To avoid water-borne diseases, such as traveller’s diarrhoea, boil water for about 10 minutes before drinking it or use a Lifestraw bottle. See 6 Ways to Make Sure the Water is Safe to Drink in Fiji for more tips, as well as more information on where the water is safe to drink in Can You Drink the Water in Fiji?
Planning a Foodie Trip to Fiji
If all of the above has got your mouth watering, then you might want to plan yourself a food-orientated getaway to Fiji. By prioritising foodie experiences and dining into your trip to Fiji, you’re also putting culture (and indulgence) at the forefront of your travel experience. Luckily, at Fiji Pocket Guide, we’ve already put together foodie guides to each region and island group of Fiji so you can determine the best places to go to treat your tastebuds. Check out The Complete Foodie Guide to Fiji for an overview of each region in Fiji and what they have to offer for a gastronomical getaway.
If you prefer to plan your holiday around where you stay, then you might find the 10 Best Accommodations in Fiji for Foodies more useful.