Lovo is a traditional Fijian meal cooked in an underground oven, similar to New Zealand’s hangi. The lovo pit is prepared by digging a hole in the ground and heating special stones on the bottom layer. These heated stones will be what helps cook the meal. Meats such as chicken and fish are wrapped in banana leaves as well as various root crops layered above. The hole, filled with food, is then covered with dirt until it is smoking hot, when the cooked food is uncovered and shared. The cooking process can take several hours.
Kokoda, pronounced koh-kon-da, is a Fijian take on the raw fish dish, ceviche. Kokoda is made with fresh fish soaked in lemon or lime juice, which ‘cooks’ the fish. Spring onions, red onion, chillies, capsicum and tomatoes are regular additions, with the combination then soaked in coconut milk for a refreshing local fish dish. Kokoda is usually served as a starter and can come delivered in a coconut shell, bamboo or even a pineapple.
Try it at: Nadina Authentic Fijian Restaurant, Denarau, +679 675 0290
Fiji has a high Indian population, so the abundance of curries available in the islands is no great surprise. Fijians have their local take on Indian cuisine, with a Fijian curry typically made with coconut milk, tomatoes and can include the green cooking banana, plantain. Curries are always served with a side of dahl soup and roti.
Try it at: Sitar Indian Restaurant, Martintar,+679 672 7722
Grilled mahi mahi
Mahi mahi is a type of deepwater fish found in the Fiji Islands and a popular type of fish to eat. It is usually served grilled or pan fried, served on a bed of vegetables and a jus. Mahi mahi is often the fish used to make kokoda.
Try it at: Tiko’s Seafood Restaurant, Suva +679 331 3626
Rourou is a Fijian dish made from dalo or taro leaves. The leaves are cooked or stewed in coconut milk. It is served liked a soup often as a side to a fish main or mixed with chicken.
Try it at: Ocean Terrace Restaurant at Bedarra Beach Inn, Coral Coast, +679 650 0476
Cassava is a common root vegetable in Fiji which grows in most places throughout the islands and forms a staple part of the local diet. It is a starchy vegetable similar to the potato, but more fibrous. In restaurants, it is often cut and boiled before being made into hot chips.
Try it at: Mamasake, Ocean Palms Hotel, Wailoaloa, +679 777 7338