Fiji, a South Pacific tropical paradise, is known for its breathtaking beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant culture. The foods in Fiji is an important part of the Island’s cultural heritage, with various unique and flavorful dishes reflecting the diverse influences of the Island’s indigenous and immigrant populations.
Exploring the traditional Fiji food scene is a must for anyone who enjoys food or is looking for an authentic cultural experience. The fresh seafood, hearty stews, and vegetarian delights will tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
What’s Special About Fiji Food
Fiji is a cultural melting pot whose cuisine reflects its diverse influences. A strong use of local ingredients such as taro, cassava, coconut, and fish distinguishes the foods in Fiji. These ingredients are used in various ways to create flavorful and nutritious dishes, including grilling, steaming, boiling, and frying.
Traditional Fijian food is also widely available in many resorts and restaurants throughout the country, from cities to towns to villages. Any of these cuisines can also be found in tourist areas. It’s worth looking for if you want to taste the Island’s rich culinary heritage.
The Fiji food culture is also known for its communal eating style, with large portions for sharing. Following Fijian tradition, the dishes are often served with a bowl of root crops or rice and eaten with the hands.
Most Famous Fiji Food
Kokoda (Raw Fish)
Fiji’s most famous food is kokoda, a Pacific Island dish. The fish is marinated in lime or lemon juice with coconut cream, onions, and chilies in Fiji. After that, the dish is chilled and served cold.
The traditional recipe for Kokoda has been passed down through generations in Fiji. It’s usually served as an appetizer or a light lunch, with cassava or breadfruit on the side. It’s widely available in Fiji, with many restaurants and resorts serving their spin on the dish.
Kokoda is a Fiji national food that represents the country’s pride and is without a doubt one of the must-try dishes in Fijian cuisine.
Fijian Food – Seafood
Ura Vakalolo (Prawn In Coconut Cream Sauce)
Ura Vakalolo is a traditional Fijian dish deeply rooted in the culture and history of the Island. This delectable dish simmers whole prawns in a savory coconut cream sauce with ginger, garlic, onions, chili peppers, and lemon juice. The resulting rich and strong flavors from the spices is what makes it so appetizing.
Ura Vakalolo is a variation of a Fijian delicacy that typically consists of fish, shrimp, lobsters, or chicken cooked in coconut cream. It embodies Fiji’s rich culinary heritage and provides a delicious and authentic taste of the Island.
Kovu Walu (Smoked Marlin)
Kovu Walu is one of the few Fiji foods originating from the Island’s coastal villages. This dish is made by smoking marlin, a type of Pacific Ocean fish, with wood chips until it becomes tender and flavorful.
The smoked marlin is flaked and combined with diced tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, and lemon juice to make a delectable and savory dish. It has a delightful and unique flavor that reflects the strong tastes in Fijian cuisine.
During your visit, you should take advantage of the opportunity to sample this traditional Fijian food.
Fish Suruwa (Curry Fish)
This flavorful food in Fiji features fresh fish in a tangy and spicy broth. The fish is cooked in a soup of coconut cream, water, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and chili peppers. In addition, it is usually enhanced with herbs like coriander and served with root vegetables like taro or cassava.
Fish Suruwa originated in Fijian culture and history, where it was traditionally prepared as a staple food for local fishermen. The dish has since gained popularity and is widely available in Fijian restaurants and food stalls.
Fish Suruwa is a great way to get a taste of the gems from the ocean surrounding this island nation. This dish is sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.
Fish Lolo (Simmered Fish In Coconut Sauce)
Traditionally, the dish is made by simmering fish in a coconut sauce flavored with various herbs and spices. The result is a delicious and creamy dish that exemplifies Fijian cuisine’s use of fresh local ingredients from the island.
Back in the day, Fijian settlers relied significantly on the sea for food, and Fish Lolo is one of the amazing creations that have stemmed from that resilience.
Fish Lolo is widely available in most Fijian restaurants and will provide a unique and delicious taste of traditional foods in Fiji.
Fijian Food – Other Main Dishes
Corned Beef/ Mutton Fried With Onions And Tomatoes
This combination is one of a kind amidst Fiji foods and is known for its savory taste. It has also become a staple of many households.
The dish is made by frying slices of corned beef or mutton with onions, tomatoes, garlic, and spices like cumin and turmeric in a pan. It is popular among locals and is typically served with rice or roti.
It is thought that European settlers introduced it to Fiji during the colonial era. While it sounds simple, it makes for a fulfilling and tasty meal that is sure to satisfy. That is why it’s one of the typical foods in Fiji that people enjoy.
Chicken Chop Suey (Saucy Chicken Stir Fry)
Chicken Chop Suey is one of the popular Fijian dishes with stir-fried vegetables and chicken in a savory sauce. It is believed that the dish originated in China and was brought to Fiji by Chinese immigrants.
Bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, and onions are common vegetables used in the dish. Before being stir-fried with the vegetables and sauce, the chicken is typically marinated in soy sauce and other seasonings. This dish offers a taste of Fijian cuisine’s diverse cultural influences.
Fijian Food – Light Dishes, Snacks, And Street Food
Curry And Roti Parcel (Wrapped Curry And Flat Bread)
Curry and Roti Parcel is a popular Fiji snack that combines spicy curry flavors with roti bread’s soft and chewy texture. Typically, the dish is made by stuffing roti bread with various curried meats and vegetables, such as chicken, lamb, or potato. After that, the bread is folded into a parcel and baked until crispy and golden brown.
The dish is thought to have originated in the Indian subcontinent and was introduced to Fiji in the late 1800s by Indian indentured laborers. It is widely available in most restaurants and presents a different side of the Fiji food scene that incorporates external influences.
Lolo Buns (Deep Fried Dough)
Lolo Buns are well-known Fiji snacks made from a sweet dough enriched with coconut milk, then deep-fried to perfection. The buns are small in size, soft and fluffy on the inside, and crispy on the outside. They are frequently served warm with a drizzle of sweet syrup.
Lolo Buns originated with the early Fijian settlers, who used coconut as a primary ingredient in many of their dishes. You can find these snacks in most bakeries and markets, so there will be plenty of opportunities to sample these delights.
Roti is a type of Indian flatbread that has become a common affair within Fijian food. It is believed to have been introduced to Fiji during the colonial era by Indian laborers.
The bread is usually made from flour, water, and oil dough, that is rolled into thin, circular shapes and lightly browned on both sides on a hot griddle or skillet.
The versatile wrap exemplifies the blending of Indian and Fijian cultures and can be found anywhere across the country. Roti is a delicious and satisfying bread that can be eaten alone or as a wrap for a savory filling.
Fijian Food – Soups
Goat Curry Soap
Goat curry is a famous soup that is prepared with traditional Fijian cooking methods. The dish features tender pieces of goat meat simmered in a rich and flavorful curry sauce made from various herbs and spices.
It is very popular among locals and tourists and is served with rice or roti that are perfect for soaking in the delicious soup base.
Goat curry dates back to the early Fijian settlers, who relied on goat meat as a staple food source. The dish has since become a popular option in Fijian cuisine and can be found in most Fijian restaurants. It’s a must-try soup that you should try during your visit.
Rourou Soup (Taro Leaves Cooked In Coconut Milk)
Rourou Soup is a traditional Fijian food made with taro leaves and coconut milk. The rich, creamy texture of the dish, flavored with various herbs and spices, makes it a popular food in Fiji. The dish is a staple frequently served as a side dish or a main course.
Rourou soup has been around for a long time since the early Native settlers. That is why the dish exemplifies the use of regional ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. This is one Fijian food that has stood the test of time so be sure to give it a try.
Desserts, Pastries, And Sweet Foods In Fiji
Vakalolo (Steamed Cassava And Coconut)
Vakalolo is a Fijian food made from two of the hardiest crops on the island. Both Cassava and coconuts are freshly grated and mixed together to make the dish. After that, the mixture is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed until tender. The result is a filling and flavorful dish that is both delicious and nutritious.
Vakalolo’s origins can be traced back to the early Fijian settlers, who relied on the land and sea for food. It is a simple yet delicious dish that will give you a taste of the local cuisine and undoubtedly leave an impression.
Fijian Mud Pie (Sandwich Pie)
We are mostly familiar with the Mud Pie, but how about a Fijian Mud Pie? This is a decadent dessert you absolutely must try in Fiji. It comprises chocolate and coconut cream layers sandwiched between a crunchy biscuit base and a rich chocolate ganache topping.
The pie gets its name from its appearance, resembling the dark mud in Fiji’s rivers and creeks. It’s a popular dessert served in many Fijian restaurants, usually with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.
Fijian Mud Pie dates back to the 1960s when it was introduced to the island nation by American and Australian expatriates. It is an indulgent, albeit sinful dish that will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Vudi Vakasoso (Plantains Cooked In Coconut)
Vudi Vakasoso is a tasty Fijian dish that cooks sliced plantains in coconut milk and spices until tender and creamy. You should try it because it has a unique combination of sweet and savory flavors, with the coconut milk’s rich creaminess complementing the plantains’ natural sweetness perfectly.
Although it is not a particularly complex dish, it is no surprise that this traditional food in Fiji is enjoyed by both locals and visitors. You probably notice Fijians really took advantage of the island’s natural blessings to create dishes of impeccable taste even with the simplest of items.
Kava (Yaqona Drink)
Kava is a traditional Fijian beverage made from the Kava plant’s root. For centuries, it has been an important part of Fijian culture, frequently used in ceremonies and social gatherings. Kava is made by pounding the root into a fine powder and mixing it with water to make a thick, muddy liquid.
The drink has a mild, earthy flavor and is popular for its relaxing and calming properties. It is frequently used to promote calm feelings and alleviate stress and anxiety. Get immersed in Fijian culture as you try Kava during your visit.
Lote (Fijian Cassava Porridge)
Lote is made by grating fresh cassava and combining it with coconut cream, sugar, and various fruits and spices. The mixture is then cooked on low heat until it thickens and becomes creamy. Lote is one of the well-known Fiji desserts frequently served on special occasions and celebrations.
Cassava, being a hardy plant yet incredibly versatile and filling, was a staple Fiji food for early settlers. It continues to be used heavily within Fijian cuisine today.
This traditional food in Fiji has been passed down for generations, so do look out for it if you want to sample authentic Fijian flavors that are enjoyed even since ages ago.
Tavioka (Cassava Pudding)
Tavioka, also known as Cassava Pudding, is one of the most consumed traditional Fiji desserts. It is made of grated cassava, coconut cream, sugar, and other ingredients like vanilla and cinnamon. The mixture is baked until firm and the crust is golden brown.
As a result, you’ll have a delicious and creamy dessert that’s both sweet and savory. You can find this in many restaurants as they are popular as a sweet finish to conclude a nice Fijian meal.
Vegetarian Foods In Fiji
Kaddu Curry (Pumpkin Curry)
In Fiji, Kaddu Curry is a popular vegetarian dish for its aromatic smell and sweet, spicy taste.
The dish is made with tender pumpkin chunks cooked in a fragrant sauce of onions, garlic, ginger, and a spice blend of turmeric, cumin, and coriander. Kaddu curry is typically served with rice or roti and is a hearty and filling meal both locals and visitors enjoy.
This Fiji staple is believed to have been introduced by the Indian indentured laborers during the 19th century. It is an excellent choice for vegetarians and those looking to try something new.
Malai Kofta (Dumplings In Cream Sauce)
Malai Kofta is a vegetarian dish in Indian-Fiji cuisine, consisting of soft and creamy dumplings made of paneer, potatoes, and spices. These dumplings are simmered in a rich tomato-based gravy made with cream, nuts, and spices.
To make the koftas, mashed potatoes, and paneer are mixed with spices and shaped into balls, which are then deep-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside. The gravy is made by blending together tomatoes, onions, cashews, and spices, and then simmering until thickened. Both the koftas and the gravy are added and cooked for a few minutes to absorb the flavors.
It is a satisfying and indulgent vegan snack for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD
Discovering Traditional Foods In Fiji
The Fiji food scene is filled with a unique blend of flavors that promises a tasty and rewarding experience. The diverse cuisine on offer is one of the most exciting facts about Fiji for foodies.
To discover the hidden gems of Fiji cuisine, seek out local restaurants and street food vendors. Sample dishes made with fresh seafood, root vegetables, and coconut cream, and get a sense of the Fijian communal eating style.
Traditional Fijian food is more than a sensory and culinary feast; it’s also about immersing yourself in the Island’s rich cultural heritage. It allows you to learn about Fiji food traditions and customs while connecting with the local community.