Traditional Fijian food is a wonderful amalgam of fresh, local ingredients found in the tropics and the traditional preparations and cooking methods passed down the generations. Coconut, fish, rice, taro, sweet potatoes, cassava and breadfruit are the main components in local Fijian dishes.
Lovo is a Fijian delicacy prepared for communal events such as a weddings and festivals. A makeshift underground oven is fashioned by digging a hole into the ground and lining it with coconut husks, which are then lit on fire and covered by stones. Meats, fish and vegetables wrapped in banana leaves are then placed on top of the heated stones and cooked for about two and a half hours. Most large resorts in Fiji have a lovo night once a week.
Another national delicacy is kokodo, raw mahi mahi (a type of fish) marinated in coconut cream, lime, onions and tomatoes. Coconut cream is an important ingredient in two other Fijian delicacies: Rourou, a dish made of taro leaves, and tavioka, a baked dish made of tapioca and mashed bananas. Duruka, an unusual asparagus-like vegetable that is seasonal during the months of April and May, is also a popular traditional Fijian dish. The national drink of Fiji is kava, which was traditionally prepared by virgins, who chewed the root of the pepper plant before mixing it with water, but is now made in a more hygienic fashion: by pounding the root in a wooden bowl.
The Fiji Islands are speckled with restaurants that serve traditional fare. Some noteworthy restaurants for local Fiji cuisine are Riley’s Restaurant in Suva, Makuluva Delights on Coast Road in Waiyevo and Bounty’s Bar and Restaurant in Nadi, whose specialty is palusami, which is fish or pork steamed with coconut milk and taro leaves. Old Mill Cottage Café in Suva is a popular spot among expats.
As a significant portion of Fiji’s population is of Indian origin, Fiji’s cuisine also includes traditional Indian cooking. Suva’s metropolitan area has a host of choices for delicious, affordable Indian food, such as Maya’s Dhaba, which is famous for its wide array of Indian cooking – from Madrasi masala dosa to Punjabi tandoori chicken – and Curry House on Waimanu Road, which offers an all-you-can-eat vegetarian thali lunch. A favorite amongst locals is Tata’s Restaurant, an open-porch restaurant located in Nadi, across the street from an Indian temple.
Chinese food is very popular in Fiji as well, and Chinese restaurants can be found in many villages, towns and cities. Kim's Paak Kum Loong Restaurant in Levuku is famous for its Sunday evening buffet, and Chopsticks Restaurant in Nadi is a local, traditional dive that is preferred amongst the local Chinese. And while most Indian restaurants are “dry,” Chinese restaurants usually serve alcohol.
Victoria Parade in Suva is a street lined with many varied options for food, including international cuisine, such as pizza and steak. Visitors craving continental food will find what they’re looking for at Fiji’s many resorts and high-end hotels, whose restaurants are usually open to non-guests.