The Suncoast for Foodies
For those who love to experience a culture through its cuisine, then you’re onto a good thing with the Suncoast of Fiji. Fijian cooking lessons, bustling markets, ceremonial experiences involving food and drink, luxurious private dining, catching your own dinner… It’s all possible on the Suncoast in between divulging in local cuisine at the many restaurants throughout the resorts, hotels and towns. Let us guide you through the self-catering accommodation, the resorts with great restaurants, food-related activities and more with this foodie guide to the Suncoast.
Before we jump into the foodie guide to the Suncoast, be sure to bookmark The Complete Guide to Food in Fiji, which has even more advice.
10 Things to Do on the Suncoast for Foodies
- Learn how to make Fijian or Indo-Fijian cuisine in a cooking class
- Visit the local markets in Rakiraki and Lautoka
- Catch your own dinner in handline or sports fishing
- Experience a kava ceremony
- Try a traditional lovo feast
- Indulge in a private dining experience on a beach or pontoon
- Take part in a cultural village visit or village stay
- Try Fijian cuisine at the Suncoast’s restaurants
- Scout out the street eats in the Suncoast’s towns
- See a coconut husking demonstration.
For more information on each activity, take a look at the 10 Things to Do on the Suncoast for Foodies.
How to Get to the Suncoast
The Suncoast is the northern stretch of coast and highlands on the island of Viti Levu, usually defined between the towns of Lautoka in the west and Korovou in the east. The Suncoast is well connected to the main airport of Viti Levu, Nadi International Airport, by road. Some resorts are also accessible by seaplane or helicopter.
Suncoast via Public Bus
One of the most affordable ways to get to the Suncoast is by express bus. Express buses run between Lautoka and Suva via the Kings Road. Prices are approximately FJ$5-$25 per person depending on how far you are going. Buses between Nadi Airport and Lautoka are also readily available, where more information can be found at 6 Ways to Get to Nadi (& Get Around Nadi).
Suncoast via Airport Transfer Service
Head straight to your chosen Suncoast resort by travelling via a transfer service. Companies have a wide range of vehicles to transfer you from Nadi Airport all the way to your chosen Suncoast accommodation. Prices range from FJ$220-$300 for private vehicle transfers – find out more in our Suncoast Transport Guide.
Suncoast via Car Rental
Easily connected to the rest of Viti Levu by road, the Suncoast is one of Fiji’s top road trip destinations. For foodies who want to experience freedom and independence during their trip, renting a car is an excellent choice. Car rentals are available at Nadi International Airport. We list some of our top recommendations in The Best Car Rentals in Fiji.
Suncoast via Private Flight
To get to the Suncoast with speed and ease, consider a private flight via helicopter or seaplane. Flights depart from Nadi Airport, taking you direct to resorts such as Wananavu, Volivoli Beach Resorts and Dolphin Island.
For more information, head to 5 Ways to Get to the Suncoast.
Foodie Activities on the Suncoast
With food being such an integral part of the Fijian culture, you can be sure that many of the activities on the Suncoast are food-related. Jump on a culinary journey to experience the customs of the Fijian people or learn how to catch your own dinner.
Fijian Cooking Class
A Fijian cooking class is all about celebrating Fijian cuisine and culture through gastronomy. Join the resort’s chefs at the Volivoli Beach Resort at their beachfront kitchen and learn how to make kokoda – fresh fish marinated in coconut cream, fruit and chillis. You’ll also learn how to make a staple Indo-Fijian side dish known as roti, and have the opportunity to pay a visit to the local farmer who grows the ingredients used. Similar experiences can also be enjoyed at Bularangi Villa – a cooking class in your own private kitchen, and at Dolphin Island.
Fishing is a way of life on the islands of Fiji and a major source of food. Experience making your own catch for the day then return to your resort where the resort chefs are usually happy to cook up your catch for you. Handline fishing is the traditional Fijian method of fishing where you’ll get the opportunity to catch reef fish with accommodation providers such as Dolphin Island and Bularangi Villas. For something more hardcore, jump onto a sports fishing trip with Golden Point Resort, Wananavu Beach Resort, Volivoli Beach Resort or Dreamview Villas. You’ll get the chance to snatch up some of Fiji’s largest fish, from sailfish to giant trevally!
Visit the Markets at Rakiraki and Lautoka
Visiting a Fijian produce market is an absolute must for any foodie visiting Fiji for the first time. Not only will you discover stands of colourful tropical fruit and vegetables which make for excellent photos, but you’ll experience the friendliness of the local producers who grow and sell the food. Sellers will be eager to talk to you (but are not too pushy to sell) to tell you more about the array of food they sell as well as give tips on how to prepare them. There are markets in Lautoka and in Rakiraki, which can be visited independently, as well as on resort tours.
For something utterly romantic combined with delicious food, of course, how about a picnic on a secluded beach? The Wananavu Beach Resort organises private beach picnic boat trips where you and your loved one will be whisked away to an off-shore island with a picnic hamper in hand. You’ll get the day to snorkel, swim, sunbathe and indulge in a romantic picnic. Dolphin Island can also organise a picnic for you and your loved one to take on a kayaking trip as you explore the nearby islands of Nananu-i-Cake and Nananu-i-Ra.
The Fijian culture is extremely accessible on the Suncoast where village visits and village stays are readily available (more on that in 10 Things to Do on the Suncoast for Foodies). Often, your first encounter with a Fijian village involves a kava ceremony – a welcoming ceremony where you will share a bilo (coconut cup) of a narcotic drink called kava with the village chief. It is customary for the visitors to provide the yaqona roots used to make Kava, which your tour guides will provide. Otherwise, you will need to bring some yaqona yourself, which is available to buy at local markets. See Fiji Village Etiquette: What to Do When Visiting a Fijian Village for more advice.
Best Restaurants on the Suncoast
The Suncoast has a wide range of dining experiences. In towns such as Lautoka, Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki, restaurants and extremely affordable and mainly dominated by Indo-Fijian restaurants among Western and other Asian eateries. Your more “up-market” dining experiences are more exclusive to the Suncoast’s hotels and resorts, whereas in-villa catering is also available at Bularangi Villa, Dolphin Island and Starfish Blue.
Fijian Food on the Suncoast
When in Fiji… Fijians are proud to share their cuisine with visitors, so many of the resorts on the Suncoast offer some Fijian dishes on their menus. For instance, the Nuku Bar & Grill at the Volivoli Beach Resort serves kokoda, ika vakalolo and lobster – all fresh fish dishes. Golden Point Resort welcomes casual diners to sample their crowd-pleaser menu with dishes from all over the world, including Fijian cuisine and fresh seafood. For those travelling along the Kings Road between Lautoka and Ba, be sure to stop by Tukuni Restaurant to try ika tavu, kokoda and local delicacies such as octopus, shellfish and seaweed.
Another way to experience authentic Fijian cuisine is through a homestay or village stay. Most hosts will offer meals to eat with the family at a reasonable cost (usually around FJ$15 per person) where you’ll get to eat what the locals eat. Pick a homestay in our 5 Best Homestays on the Suncoast.
Unique Dining Experiences on the Suncoast
If you’re looking for a way to celebrate a special occasion or want to make your dining experience an activity in itself, then try one of the unique dining experiences on the Suncoast. At Dolphin Island, dine with your loved one with a romantic set-up on a private pontoon or experience and traditional “lovo” feast where food is wrapped in banana leaves and slow-cooked in an earth oven.
Cheap Eats on the Suncoast
The Suncoast is dotted with towns brimming with restaurants where you can eat like a king for under FJ$15. Thalis are a speciality in the town of Ba, where you can expect to pay under FJ$10 at restaurants such as Indiques Restaurant and Mummums Eats and Treats – a true street eat experience! In Lautoka, you have a wider range of cuisine, from Chinese dishes at Nan Yang to Western favourites at the Blue Ginger Cafe. Check out our full list of recommendations in our Top Cheap Eats on the Suncoast.
Vegetarian and Special Diets on the Suncoast
While vegetarian restaurants are not widely available in Fiji, there are still rare finds, such as Kruepa Vegetarian Restaurant in Lautoka. Resorts such as Volivoli Resort clearly state their gluten-free and vegetarian meals on their menus but don’t expect the broadest of choice when it comes to vegetarian food. Luxury resorts on the Suncoast, such as Dolphin Island can usually cater to dietary needs when given advanced notice. As for other accommodations, it’s best to inquire whether the resort or hotel’s restaurant can cater to your needs prior to booking.
For more restaurant recommendations, see our Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants on the Suncoast.