The Eight Best Foods to Eat in Fiji

One of the best parts of travel is trying new things. Whether ziplining through the jungle for the first time or exploring pristine coral reefs, there’s no limit to the new experiences you can have while on vacation. Food is another way to immerse yourself in the local culture. If you plan a trip to Fiji, you owe it to yourself to sample the nation’s rich culinary tradition.

In Fiji, where the warm tropical climate nurtures an abundance of fresh seafood and produce, the culinary scene is a blend of indigenous Fijian, Indian, and Pacific Rim influences. No matter your dietary preferences, you’re sure to fall in love with Fijian cooking. 

Fiji’s Rich Culinary Landscape

Fiji’s culinary scene is a beautiful blend of tradition, diversity, and freshness. Situated amidst the sparkling waters of the South Pacific, Fiji boasts a bounty of locally sourced produce and seafood. It’s truly a paradise for foodies.

Central to Fijian cuisine is its celebration of communal dining. Traditional feasts, known as ‘lovo’ or ‘magiti’, are occasions where families and communities gather to enjoy a spread of food cooked in earth ovens. This age-old practice not only nourishes the body but also embodies the spirit of Fijian hospitality and togetherness.

The influence of Fiji’s Indian community adds another layer of flavor to the culinary landscape. Spices, curries, and roti have become integral parts of Fijian cuisine, creating a delightful fusion of Indian and Pacific flavors. Beyond traditional fare, Fiji’s cities offer a melting pot of culinary delights worldwide. From Chinese stir-fries to Japanese sushi, there’s something to satisfy every craving.

Exploring Fiji’s food scene is not just about tasting delicious dishes; it’s about experiencing the warmth of Fijian hospitality and the connection to the land and sea that sustains the nation.

Traditional Fijian Dishes to Try

If you’re hoping to get back to basics and understand the fundamentals of Fijian cuisine, be sure to try:

1. Kokoda

Kokoda tops the list as one of Fiji’s most iconic dishes. This traditional Fijian ceviche is a vibrant explosion of flavors and textures. Fresh fish, typically mahi-mahi or tuna, is marinated in tangy lime or lemon juice, and mixed with creamy coconut cream, finely chopped onions, tomatoes, chili peppers, and a hint of fresh herbs. The result is a refreshing and zesty dish that perfectly captures the essence of Fijian cuisine.

2. Lovo

For a true taste of Fiji’s culinary heritage, indulge in a Lovo feast. This traditional cooking method involves slow-cooking marinated meats, root vegetables, and seafood in an earth oven. The ingredients are wrapped in banana leaves, placed on hot stones, and covered with earth to steam and infused with smoky flavors. Lovo is not just a meal; it’s a communal celebration of food, culture, and togetherness you won’t want to miss.

3. Palusami

Palusami is a traditional Fijian dish showcasing the delicious simplicity of Pacific Island fare. Taro leaves are wrapped around a filling of creamy coconut milk, onions, garlic, and seasonings, then baked until tender. The result is a rich and velvety dish with a subtle sweetness that perfectly complements the earthy flavors of the taro leaves. Palusami is a true taste of Fijian comfort food at its finest.

4. Fijian Style BBQ

No trip to Fiji is complete without savoring the flavors of a traditional Fijian-style BBQ. Whether dining at a beachside resort or joining locals at a bustling market, the aroma of grilled meats and seafood will beckon you. From succulent chicken marinated in aromatic spices to freshly caught fish seasoned with zesty herbs, Fijian BBQs showcase the island’s culinary prowess. Pair your BBQ feast with refreshing tropical drinks and lively music for an unforgettable dining experience under the stars.

Sampling Indo-Fijian Cuisine

Thanks to Fiji’s vibrant Indo-Fijian community, you’ll find delectable Indian-inspired dishes throughout the islands. Add these dishes to your culinary bucket list:

5. Roti with Curry

Roti, a type of flatbread, is a staple accompaniment to many Fijian meals. Whether you enjoy it plain or stuffed with savory fillings, roti pairs perfectly with fragrant curries bursting with spices, tender meats, and vibrant vegetables. Be sure to savor every bite of this flavorful fusion cuisine.

6. Barfi

A popular Indo-Fijian dessert, barfi is a sweet confection made from condensed milk, sugar, and flavorings like cardamom, rose water, or coconut. It’s cooked until thickened, poured into a tray, and cut into diamond-shaped pieces.

A Taste of Fusion and Contemporary Cuisine

Fiji fusion dishes are a delightful blend of traditional Fijian ingredients and cooking techniques with global flavors and culinary innovations. These dishes often reflect the multicultural makeup of Fiji and showcase the creativity of chefs who draw inspiration from various cuisines. 

7. Taro and Coconut Soup with Lemongrass

This fusion soup takes inspiration from both Fijian and Thai cuisine, featuring taro, a staple root vegetable in Fiji, and coconut milk infused with lemongrass, a common ingredient in Thai cooking. The soup is creamy and aromatic, with hints of sweetness from the coconut and a citrusy zing from the lemongrass. It’s a comforting and flavorful dish that highlights the best of both culinary worlds.

8. Lovo Pizza 

A unique fusion of Fijian lovo cooking and Italian pizza, this dish combines the smoky flavors of meats and vegetables cooked in an earth oven with the familiar cheesy goodness of pizza. The pizza crust is topped with marinated chicken, pork or lamb, along with roasted root vegetables like sweet potatoes and taro. A sprinkle of cheese and a drizzle of homemade barbecue sauce complete this delicious fusion creation.

Expand Your Culinary Worldview with a Trip to Fiji

With each bite, you’ll discover the rich tapestry of flavors that define Fiji’s culinary heritage. From traditional Fijian dishes to Indo-Fijian delights and contemporary fusion cuisine, there’s something to satisfy every palate in this tropical paradise. Stay culinarily curious on your next trip – the Fijian flavors won’t disappoint!

Have you been to Fiji? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.

Featured image: Palm trees over white beach on a a Plantation Island, Fiji, South Pacific (mvaligursky / Shutterstock.com)

Beach, Culture, food

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