Fiji is enchanting, not only to look at but right down to its very core. The people, the culture, the feeling that washes over you the moment you step off the plane… there’s something special about the islands that will have you booking a return visit before you’ve even departed.
Beyond the beaches and Bula! spirit, however, there’s a side of Fiji which doesn’t get the international love and attention it deserves – the food. We think it’s time to change that.
Taking full advantage of the abundant fresh seafood, as well as drawing inspiration from other cultures both near and far, Fiji’s culinary scene is one of surprising depth and diversity.
Passed down through the generations, here are a handful of essential dishes to try:
A bit like a ceviche, kokoda (pronounced: koh-kon-da) is a delicacy of raw fish marinated in fresh lemon or lime juice for several hours, served with onion, chilli, tomato and coconut cream. Add in a little chilli and you have a delicious, fragrant meal that tastes as good as it looks.
This local favourite consists of marinated meats and vegetables wrapped in foil or banana leaves, slow cooked on a bed of hot rocks in an underground oven. Variations of this cooking style exist right across the Pacific, including the Maori Hangi and the Hawaiian Luau.
Common in Fiji and Samoa, palusami is a popular dish of coconut cream, corned beef and spices wrapped in taro leaves to form little parcels, popped in an oven for about 30 minutes until the leaves are nice and tender. They’re delish! Silverbeet is also a common taro substitute.
Fiji’s culinary scene is one of surprising depth and diversity.
4. Fijian Palau
Fiji’s cuisine is greatly influenced by the country’s Indian population, who have mixed their rich culinary heritage with the tropical island ingredients. One essential Fijian Indian dish to try is Palau, which is a bit like a biryani but with the meat and rice cooked together in one pot.
Made from coconut, ginger and cassava, a root vegetable common in the Pacific Islands, this delicious steamed pudding is a hearty homestyle-dish widely considered Fiji’s national dish. Drizzle it with a little fresh coconut cream and sugar syrup and let your tastebuds swoon!
Though there is much more to discover (and to eat), this should be enough to get you started.
Feeling hungry? Browse our Fiji packages here.