Fiji's multi-ethnic population means that the islands have a wide variety of interesting and delicious cuisines. The people that influence Fiji's diverse culture are those mainly of Polynesian, Chinese, Indian, Melanesian and European descents. These groups of people have influenced Fiji's cuisine in some way by introducing their own cultural foods to the islands.
For example, the Indian slaves the British brought to Fiji introduced the country to Indian cuisine, the Dutch added sea cucumbers to its menu, and the British brought in cattle, along with some exotic plants and fruits from the Americas and Africa.
Today, seafood, beef, poultry and pork are essential foods in Fiji. Some of the most commonly-used ingredients that are used in Fijian cuisine include breadfruit, cassava, yam, taro root and different leaves. Many beverages, soups, salads and appetizers are prepared with commonly found fruits in Fiji, such as mango, banana, guava and pineapple. Coconut milk can also be used with these fruits to make sweet, salty and/or spicy dishes.
Some of Fiji's national specialties, which are also usually served during Fijian festivals, include:
Kokoda - a raw fish marinated in coconut cream and lime
Kassaua - made from boiled or baked tapioca and cooked with coconut, mashed bananas and cream
Rourou - a taro leaf dish soaked in coconut cream
Duruka - an unusual vegetable similar to asparagus that is in season during April and May
Fiji's national beverages:
Kava - made from a type of pepper plant combined with water, in which the roots of the plant are pounded in a wooden bowl
Fiji Bitter - a beer that is brewed by Carlton Brewery in Suva (it should be noted that the legal drinking age in Fiji is 21)
Some of the best places to enjoy delicious Fijian cuisine are right at Fiji's resorts. The resort that is known to have some of the best in-house restaurants is the Koro Sun Resort, located on the south shore of Vanua Levu. One weekly event that takes place at the Koro Sun Resort is the traditional Lovo and Meke. During this occasion, a feast, which is prepared in an underground oven, is enjoyed as part of a party that also includes traditional Fijian songs and dancing.
Many restaurants offer traditional Fijian cuisine, fresh seafood and tropical specialty beverages. The Matakau Restaurant is one of these. It not only serves delicious expertly-prepared food, but it also has a fun and tropical aesthetic appeal between its sand-covered floors and dining furniture made of Fijian rain trees.
There are many other places that you have the choice to eat at as well. Fiji serves a variety of high-quality and multi-ethnic cuisine, sometimes also along with other fun Fijian events that you can participate in, so there is usually something different everywhere you go.