What to eat in Fiji

Whether you're sampling street food or enjoying a homecooked meal, eating is one of the best ways to experience a country. As an island nation, Fijian cuisine is largely influenced by the ocean and you'll discover lots of fresh seafood dishes. Tropical fruits, tubers and starchy root vegetables are also staples, particularly cassava, taro, yam and coconut.

Fijian society is multicultural with a high percentage of the population being of Indian descent. This is reflected in modern Fijian cuisine and you'll find curry houses dotted around the islands, particularly in Suva (Fiji’s capital) and Nadi. You’ll also find plenty of international cuisines in the city, but we recommend heading to local markets or dining at family-run eateries to get a true taste of Fiji.

Swimming in waterfalls and hiking through national parks is bound to work up an appetite, so here are some traditional Fijian dishes to refuel.

1. Kokoda

Think of this as Fijian-style ceviche. The dish is made with a combination of raw fish (usually mahi mahi or snapper), onions, chillies, peppers and tomatoes which is 'cooked' in lime juice and coconut milk. It’s usually served in a coconut or large clam shell.

2. Fish suruwa

Fish suruwa is one of the archipelago's most popular curry dishes. It’s made with white fish, coconut milk, tomatoes, veggies and various spices such as garam masala, turmeric and cumin. It's served with roti or dahl to mop up all the delicious sauce.

3. Rourou

This traditional dish is made with taro leaves (which are similar in colour and taste to spinach) stewed in coconut milk until soft. The leaves are then flavoured with onions, green chillies and garlic. Rourou is often served as a side dish and goes particularly well with grilled fish.

4. Lovo

Lovo is Fiji's traditional method of cooking. Similar to New Zealand’s hangi or Samoa’s umu, parcels of meat and vegetables are wrapped in banana leaves and placed in a shallow pit filled with hot coals. Lovo is usually reserved for special occasions such as births and marriages or to welcome guests.

Experience a lovo on our Fiji Adventure

5. Cawaki

If you like seafood, you may be tempted to try cawaki – the only species of sea urchin edible in Fiji. This local delicacy is popular in coastal towns and villages but you'll also find it in city markets. They can be eaten raw or grilled on an open fire with a squeeze of lemon juice.

6. Palusami

This dish comprises parcels of corned beef, onion, garlic and coconut cream wrapped and steamed in taro leaves. Most other South Pacific nations have their own take on this dish.

7. Nama

Native to Fiji, nama is a type of seaweed harvested in shallow waters. The juicy beads are salty and can be eaten raw, either as a garnish or as part of a salad with lemon juice, chillies and fermented coconut paste.

8. Vudi vakasoso

This Fijian dessert is pure comfort food. It's made with vudi fruit (a cross between banana and plantain) which is drenched in coconut milk, topped with sugar, cinnamon and cardamom and stewed until soft.

9. Purini

Purini is another classic Fijian sweet treat. It’s similar to a steamed English pudding, except it's made with coconut milk instead of dairy. It can be eaten on its own or served with a generous dollop of custard or ice cream.

10. Kava

Kava, also known as yaqona, isn’t just a drink – it’s a big part of Fijian culture. It’s made by crushing the roots of a kava plant (Piper Methysicum) into a powder, mixing with water and straining the liquid into coconut shells. It tastes earthy and can have a mild relaxing effect. You’ll likely be offered kava as part of a welcome ceremony at a Fijian village.

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