The festive season of 2017 is over but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your next travel destination. And if you’re thinking of spending some time outside the hustle and bustle of city life, there is a place where the sun always shines and the people are always welcoming, and most importantly the food is amazing – the island getaway of Fiji!
In addition to bearing all the classic hallmarks of paradise – the glowing medallion in the sky, white sand beaches and turquoise lagoons – Fiji is also home to a range of unique and delicious dishes sure to satisfy your inner foodie.
A tantalizing blend of fresh produce, aromatic spices and local cooking methods, Fijian cuisine remains a mystery to most. Read on to uncover some of Fiji’s most mouth-watering dishes, and learn about their links to some of our favorite Southeast Asian dishes. After all, what better way to experience a new culture than through its food?
Pronounced ‘Ko-kon-da’, this iconic Fijian dish is made up of finely chopped raw mahi-mahi fish ‘cooked’ in freshly squeezed lemon juice, and is typically served in a coconut shell or a large clamshell. Paired with a generous amount of miti (coconut milk mixed with onions and chili), Kokoda is best savoured as a starter as it cleanses the palate to prepare your taste buds for other robust Fijian flavors. While Fijians love their Kokoda to have a spicy kick, don’t hesitate to request for a less intimidating version.
Lovo means ‘feast cooked in the Earth’, and refers to a native style of cooking where meats, pork and vegetables are wrapped in banana leaves and slow-cooked in the Earth. This unique style of cooking gives the food a smokey flavour that is akin to barbequed food. Lovos symbolise family and community celebrations are hence are typically cooked during weddings and other special. Most resorts in Fiji hold lovo dinners at least once a week, so be sure to sign up for one when you are in Fiji.
If this Fijian staple looks familiar to you, chances are you would probably have seen it at your local wet market as it is native to Asia. A type of root, taro can be eaten boiled and mashed just like potatoes, but most Fijians prefer it steamed. Taro has a strong cultural presence in Fiji, with Taro Day being widely celebrated in Fiji on the first full moon in May. Interestingly, all parts of this Fijian staple can be eaten, including the leaves.
Harvested on the Yasawa Islands and commonly referred to as “sea grapes”, nama is a kind of seaweed that is used as a garnish in dishes or eaten as fresh salad. While nama may be foreign to most Singaporeans, it is usually combined with coconut milk and chili – making the dish an interesting take on some of the most common ingredients found in Asian cuisines.
Duruka is often called the ‘Fijian asparagus’. Belonging to the sugarcane family, duruka is the edible unopened flower of a cane shoot, and is also found in other parts of Southeast Asia like Malaysia where it’s called tebu telur. Duruka can be made into soup as a starter, but Fijians much prefer their duruka cooked in curry. Duruka curry has many ingredients seen in traditional Indian curries, such as chili, turmeric and garam masala powder – revealing the strong Indian influence on Fijian cuisine.