Sunday, March 22, 2015

What to Eat in Fiji

1. Fish in Lolo
This Fijian dish is made with fish (at the resorts it's usually mahi mahi) in a coconut milk broth with taro leaves and some sort of root vegetables (either taro or cassava). A lot of restaurants and resorts will have this.
The one I had at Blue Lagoon Resort was my favorite throughout the trip, as the firm mahi mahi was cooked properly so that it's still moist and flaky. The broth was so good I wanted to just pick up my spoon and drink it all.

2. Kokoda
Kokoda is the Fijian ceviche, but the raw fish is not only marinated in lime juice but also coconut cream, and served with diced tomatoes and onions. I had this dish at all three resorts and my favorite was the one at Uprising Beach Resort.
Fiji food
3. Lovo
The traditional Fijian way of cooking is to wrap meats in banana or palm leaves and cook them underground in an earth oven called lovo along with some root vegetables.
Fiji food
This one's a bit harder to come by. Because of the work that goes into it, you can't just find a lovo-prepared dish on a menu. The resorts will usually have a Lovo Night once a week, so you'd need to check the schedule and see when they'll have it.

4. Ota
Ota is a fiddlehead fern shoot that the Fijians seem to use a lot. I really enjoyed it in the prawn salad at The Pearl South Pacific Resort. I'm not too sure how else they prepare these fern shoots, but serving it as a salad with a dressing of coconut milk, lime, and onions seem to be common. The dressing is called Miti and the dish is thus called Ota Miti. I believe the shoots were cooked in coconut milk as well. As far as unusual ingredients, this was certainly the highlight of my Fiji eating.
Fiji food
5. Indian Food
I didn't realize this until I was there, but there are a lot of Indians in Fiji. They were brought by British colonials as indentured servants and stayed on, so Indo-Fijian culture is pretty dominant in Fiji. You'll find many Indian restaurants - many of which will be recommended to you if you ask for cheap restaurant suggestions, and most resorts will have a curry dish. The typical Indian restaurant will serve curry with roti and dhal. While I was mostly familiar with dhal being made with lentils, in Fiji they tend to be made with yellow split peas, an uncommon ingredient in India.
You might find surprising ingredients in the curry, like the crab curry (shown above) at Tata's Restaurant in Nadi. The restaurant is also known for the "uncivilized chicken" curry - made with their "free range" chickens that roam free in the villages. In Indonesia, we call them "ayam kampung" - transliterated to village chicken. They're smaller, leaner, but has more flavors.


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