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Cook,Drink and Eat Like a Fijian

Posted on 01/09/2019

Plentiful organic produce, fresh seafood, bustling markets and a multiethnic population make Fiji a food lover's paradise.

Fijian dietary staples include taro root, kumala (sweet potato) brought over from Papua New Guinea and cassava, a tuberous root akin to a potato. You'll find these starchy staples boiled or fried and served as a side dish. Fijians are also experts at using every part of the coconut - juice, milk, pulp, and even the shell, which is often used for serving food.

It's not surprising, considering Fiji's location, that the main course often consists of seafood such as prawns or fish. It is recommended trying kokoda as a starter, a dish reminiscent of ceviche and consisting of white fish marinated with lime, onions, tomatoes, chilies and coconut cream. And don't pass up the opportunity to eat food from a lovo, a type of pit where food is steamed underneath the earth. Marinated meats and vegetables are wrapped and covered with hot rocks and banana leaves, creating a special feast that's usually reserved for celebrations such as birthdays or weddings.

Fiji is unique among the archipelagos of the South Pacific in that nearly 40 percent of its population is Indian. Indo-Fijian cuisine includes traditional Indian spices and dishes, such as roti bread and flavorful curries, as well as ingredients native to Fiji. Last but not least, travelers should not leave Fiji without downing a cupful of kava, a drink with sedative properties, made from the root of a pepper plant and strained with water. Kava, not to be confused with Spain's sparkling wine, called cava, is used in ceremonies to welcome new guests and is also an important part of Fijian business transactions, although many also drink it with friends. Be forewarned, kava can make your mouth and tongue feel numb and may induce sleepiness.

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