Fiji is a land known for its beautiful beaches and rich culture, but what you may not know is that it’s also home to many delicious, natural foods. Read on to learn more about these local delicacies and the why we love Fijian food.
Do not think for one second that all you’ll be eating are leaves and roots. While the markets are piled with sweet potatoes, taros, bananas and leafy vegetables, it is the creativity in the Fijian cuisine that combines the ingredients into dishes that are whole with flavor and happiness.
With the fertile land and riches of the sea, Fiji is blessed with good quality fresh natural foods, and the people in Fiji utilize this to create national dishes that are both nutritious and tasty.
The basics of Fijian food consists of rice, sweet potatoes, taro, cassava, coconut and fish; and using mostly open fire or underground cooking methods, the ingredients are made into one of the following national dishes. The heavy influence of the Indo-Fijian culture also means the cuisine has elements of colorful curries and spices with it.
Here are some of the most popular traditional Fijian dishes. There is one thing a guest must remember if ever invited to a Fijian home for a meal: the guest must start on the dishes first. It is the local custom to wait patiently until the house guest makes their first move towards the food, otherwise everyone will simply wait around with grumbling stomachs. No one will remind you as it is deemed impolite.
A very popular dish that has many variations in the Pacific, this is the island’s equivalent of South America’s Ceviche, made up of raw Mahi-mahi fish and a dressing called ‘Miti’ which is made from thick coconut cream with onions, lemon/lime juice, salt and chilies.
A style of cooking that is popular throughout the Pacific region, the Lovo refers to the way meat, fish and vegetables are steamed under heated earth. Prepared for communal celebrations and events, the food emerges from their underground oven tender and full of flavor.
A lovely dish of corned beef or fish baked with coconut milk in taro leaves. It can be served hot or cold.
It is not uncommon to find restaurants serving up Madrasi masala dosa to Punjabi tandoori chicken. Most of the Indian dishes have evolved along with the availability of fresh Fijian produce, served slightly milder and uses local ingredients such as taro and tavioka.
Try your hand at making the Kokodo.
You’ll need Mahi-mahi fish fillets, cut into bite-sized cubes, and depending on your taste, drenched in lime juice and a pinch of salt. Mix, then leave to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
That’s it. Just before serving, add a good portion of coconut cream, finely chopped chili and onions to taste, then serve on lettuce leaves topped with chopped fresh tomatoes.
Have you tasted any of these dishes before? What’s your favorite Fijian food? Let us know in the comments below.