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What is Fijian Food?

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My first move when I plan to visit a new country? Find out about the food. Even before Eat the World, both Mike and I have been major international foodies. Visiting a new country and learning all about their unique cuisines is like unwrapping a present for us. Unfortunately, there isn’t much out there on the internet about food in Fiji. I’m not sure why because there are some really interesting and unique dishes from Fiji.

 What do they eat in Fiji? Here’s a sample:

 

Kokoda

Obviously living on a bunch of tiny islands out in the middle of the pacific ocean has influenced Fijian cuisine greatly. Fish is a major part of Fijians lives: mahi-mahi, snapper, mackerel, unicorn fish, octopus etc. etc. etc. One unique dish that encompasses the fishy part of Fijian cuisine is kokoda. It’s similar to ceviche: raw pieces of white fish marinated in coconut cream, lime, onions and tomatoes. The acid in the limes or lemons cooks the fish but the coconut gives it a creamy flavor. Be careful though, Fijians like their Kokoda spicy! I am not a big fish fan. But I did like kokoda!

 

Lovo

Lovo essentially means “feast cooked in the earth.” A shallow pit is dug and heated rocks are placed at the bottom. Meat wrapped in taro leaves is places on top and covered with a variety of root veggies like cassava and taro. Then the entire thing is covered with dirt and left alone for a couple of hours, at which point the food is cooked. Ingenious really Generally a lovo feast includes steamed fish, pork and chicken as well as veggies. The food takes on a smokey flavor due to the leaves and the method of cooking.

Duruka

A unique Fijian vegetable sometimes called “Fijian Asparagus.” It’s actually the unopened flower of a cane shoot. It’s fleshy and kind of stringy but tasty. Duruka is often cooked in coconut milk or put in a curry.

 

Nama

Also known as sea grapes, nama is the coolest looking seaweed I’ve ever eaten. They are incredibly green and the tiny little beads kind of pop in your mouth. They are sometimes used as a garnish but can also be served in a salad, in coconut milk (a popular theme in Fiji) or raw with some chili, lime juice, shredded coconut and salt.

Taro Soup

Taro

Taro is a heavy, potato like tuber with a kind of purple hue. They eat so much taro here they even have a holiday dedicated to it: the first full moon in the month of May is Taro Day. Taro can be boiled like a potato, mashed, used in a curry or even cut into fries or chips. Steamed taro is very popular. Fijians also use the taro leaves in cooking, such as in the lovo mentioned above. The leaves can be boiled in coconut milk to create a spinach-like dish or fried into fritters. There are limitless possibilities. Indian Food As I mentioned before, 45% of the population is Indo-Fijian, meaning Indian food is plentiful and popular. Curries, dal, samosas and chutneys are all popular and easy to find. Amazing fresh roti is often seen at breakfast buffets. The road to Nadi is dotted with Indian restaurants. The Indian food in Fiji uses ingredients unique to the South Pacific such as black eyed peas, cassava, fish and goat. Likewise the spices popular in Indian cuisine such as turmeric, cumin and spicy chilies have also crept into traditional Fijian cooking. Fruit Like any good tropical paradise fruit is a big deal here. Mangos, papayas, pineapples and bananas are all present as well as some more exotic fruits like jackfruit, vudi (a relative of the banana), jamun (rose fruits) and breadfruit. There’s more of course, like fresh cassava chips and spinach boiled in coconut milk and of course the (not-so-tasty) national drink. What I find the most interesting about food in Fiji is how they’ve so seamlessly merged their traditional island foods with the Indian and English influences of the past few hundred years. It makes every meal an adventure.

Thank you to Tourism Fiji for hosting us. All opinions are my own.

Pinterest- Fijian Food (1)

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22 Responses to What is Fijian Food?

  1. Chrystal McKay June 14, 2012 at 9:16 AM #

    Oh Yum! This looks like a great cuisine for me! I don’t eat read meats but I devour fish and seafood! Thanks for the article! I’d never heard ANYTHING about Fijian food before.

  2. Annie of TravelShus June 14, 2012 at 11:35 AM #

    That last photo is deliciously colorful. Now I’ve got a hankering for melon.

  3. Natasha June 14, 2012 at 5:53 PM #

    Wow I love tropical fruits and fresh fish – when I saw the dish name of kokoda though it reminded me of the kokoda dragon…! Glad its actually fish ;-)

  4. Rease June 14, 2012 at 11:39 PM #

    I definitely had no idea what fiji food was before this post. Everything looks tasty except that taro soup. It kind of looks like it is in a bed pan.

  5. Andrea June 15, 2012 at 1:32 AM #

    Wow, that all looks delicious! The fruit looks amazing…I’m in South Korea, and our fruit isn’t great.

  6. Name (required) June 15, 2012 at 8:33 PM #

    Wow, reading this made me really hungry! Your descriptions make it all sound delicious, and your photos leave me drooling. Don’t get me started on fresh mangos and papayas! Now I want to go back Malawi or Kenya really bad. Haha!
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Nicole June 15, 2012 at 10:33 PM #

    This all looks really amazing…except maybe the Kokoda, I’m not a fish person. I’m currently a vegetarian, but I made the decision that when I start my travels next year, I will eat meat while abroad. I’m excited and totally scared at the same time. Posts like this help me start to realize what it would be like! Thanks!

  8. Meg | One Love Meg June 16, 2012 at 4:19 AM #

    That “Taro” looks very close to a mexican buritto which I am craving while on my world trip adventure. I am hoping as we move towards South East Asia the food gets better. I am not a fan of the European cuisine….yet. I am also a vegetarian so my options are limited.

    • Bharat shah October 15, 2013 at 7:14 PM #

      Your life is very long life because R U 100% vegiteriyean thank s for that.

  9. Hans Hickes July 25, 2012 at 11:33 PM #

    Taro soup…is it the leaves or the taro itself? I live in fiji and i have never head of soup taro. Only the leaves soup with coconut milk ..mmmm. Great article though

    • Steph July 26, 2012 at 9:07 AM #

      It was creamy and purple, so I think it was like a creamed taro soup, kind of like potato soup.

  10. Joe February 22, 2013 at 2:28 PM #

    this actical makes me miss home so mch…Food in the uk sucks big time.

  11. Marianna Bewersdorff April 28, 2013 at 11:04 PM #

    Thanks for your research on Fijian food. I get to teach a Sunday School lesson about Fiji and always have fun making some food from the country I teach about for the kids. This was a helpful start to think about what I want to experiment with this weekend. Thanks again!

  12. Dovi August 15, 2013 at 5:36 PM #

    Even for locals, having Kokoda fish is a blessing!

  13. Nicole August 21, 2013 at 3:46 PM #

    If I have a food allergy to all seafood, should I reconsider this trip?

    • Steph August 22, 2013 at 12:42 AM #

      I can’t really say. There was definitely plenty of non-seafood options, but you’ll probably want to make your needs clear to anyone serving you.

  14. Amanda September 11, 2013 at 12:24 AM #

    That’s not taro, it’s roti. Which is not fijian but Indian of indo-fijian.

    • Steph September 11, 2013 at 8:47 AM #

      The captions may be confusing- the description of the roti is underneath it, as yes, indian food.

  15. kinisalote October 23, 2013 at 6:15 PM #

    theirs no other places like Fiji thats give the different type of food…………

  16. kinisalote October 23, 2013 at 6:16 PM #

    hmmmmmmmmmmmm roti n taro a different

  17. nocomundo November 26, 2013 at 3:48 PM #

    My god! Your pics make me feel really hungry. It looks super delicious!!
    I was looking for some content to write a short radio show about Fidji food. Thanks for this! and greetings from France.

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