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October 22, 2017, Fiji

Good eats

From traditional Fijian fare in homely restaurants to farm-to-table international cuisine offered by fine-dining establishments, there is something to suit everyone’s taste buds

HAFIZ RASID

FIJI is reputedly the most cosmopolitan of the South Pacific nations, with a population mix that includes ethnic Fijians, Indians, Europeans, Chinese and others of mixed ancestry. With such diversity, visitors to the island republic can expect a satisfying variety of culinary offerings.

That’s good news for the foodies among the crowds who visit Fiji for its promise of sun, sand and sea. Take a break in between shopping and touring its many islands by sampling all the good available.

As fresh as it gets

Seafood lovers, especially, are in for a belly-happy trip to Fiji. As a nation comprising more than 300 islands, it’s no surprise that seafood is a star ingredient in local cuisine.

Fijian food also uses several other ingredients that are readily harvested in the region, such as rice, coconuts, sweet potatoes, taro, cassava and breadfruit.

Eat like the locals at Nadina Authentic Fijian Restaurant. The restaurant offers Fijian cuisine as it is meant to be prepared — according to the local palate.

Sink your fork into ika vakalolo — a dish comprising Walu fish fillet, fresh coconut milk and seasonal vegetables — and local seafood platters such as ota miti (wild fern salad) served with cassava and taro.

At Tu’s Place at Queens Road, Nadi, tuck into local favourites such as rourou balls, which are made from taro leaves, coconut cream, local herbs and onions; and tumu, a local soup of either chicken or fish and tapioca.

Familiar favourites

Besides local food, there are many familiar Eastern and Western options to choose from.

In the mood for an organic, gluten-free club sandwich? Bulaccino offers a farm-to-table dining experience, with dishes made with ingredients that are grown right in the restaurant’s backyard. You will also find fish and chips, Thai basil chicken, and staple fare like pizzas and steaks in many restaurants.

Taste Fiji Kitchen is among the new wave eateries that have popped up in recent years, and it has put Fiji’s culinary tradition in the spotlight with its local only ingredients approach to cooking.

Its “glocal” approach to international fare means that familiar favourites such as banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) and Eggs Benedict are made with ingredients reared, grown and harvested locally.

Steak-and-potato fans are not left out either. The Rhum-Ba is a great restaurant in Denarau that offers a great selection of grass fed beef from Yaqara in Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island.

Thanks to the Indian and Chinese populations in Suva — Fiji’s capital — and Nadi, one of the country’s largest towns, visitors can easily order authentic curries and chop suey from a wide selection of restaurants.

Street fare

Head to Denarau Road in Nadi for some great street food. Singaporeans will feel at home at the new Street Foods Fiji. The dining establishment features many “micro restaurants” — more polished versions of hawker stalls — serving international favourites from pizzas to local grilled fare.

And if you want a truly authentic experience, do as the locals do and head to Nadi Market. This is the best place to get local produce and street food prepared on the spot.

Visit www.fiji.travel/sg/happy for more information on dining options in Fiji.

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