The lovo is a Fijian delicacy popularly prepared on special events such as weddings and festivals. This is cooked using a makeshift oven made from a hole dug on the ground and lined with coconut husks, which are lit and then covered with stones.
Various vegetables, fish, and meats are all wrapped using banana leaves. The wrapped food items are placed on top of the heated stones. Cooking can take up to 2 ½ hours.
Many resorts and hotels treat their guests to a lovo night once a week, giving them an opportunity to sample this kind of feast.
Kokoda, the Fijian version of a ceviche, is another national delicacy. It is made from fish called mahi mahi, coconut cream, tomatoes, onions, and lime, all of which are commonly found in the island.
The raw fish is cut into pieces, marinated in lemon juice, and left to steep overnight. Once the marinated fish cubes are ready, coconut cream, chili, and chopped onion are added. Bell pepper and tomatoes can be placed as toppings.
Kokoda can be served on a bed of lettuce or half coconut shells and is best eaten with fresh fruit salad.
You haven’t been to Fiji if you didn’t taste kava, the national drink.
The beverage is made from kava root, from a plant that is part of the pepper family. The kava root is easy to find; it is available in nearly every Fiji marketplace. That’s a good thing because if you ever want to visit a Fijian village, you need to bring a gift of kava root to the chief.
The traditional way of preparing kava was to have young virgins chew the kava root into a pulpy mass, spit it into a bowl, and mix it with water. These days, they usually skip the chewing and use a mortar and pestle to pound the root – but you never can be too sure if you don’t see the actual process, right?
This beverage acts as a mild analgesic, stress reliever, and diuretic. Upon drinking it, you will feel lethargic; your head will be fuzzy and your tongue tingly.
No wonder the Fijians love it so much. If you can manage to ignore how it was made, you’ll probably love it too.
The duruka is a popular Fijian vegetable that is similar to asparagus and is in season during the months of April and May. It can be boiled, but it is best prepared using coconut cream. It can also be added to coconut fish soup.
Duruka, when combined with coconut fish soup, tastes really awesome. Apart from duruka and thick coconut cream, the soup uses chili, lemon juice, lemon slices, green onions, salt, and pepper. The fish can be a snapper, cod, or anything similar.
Cassava is considered a staple food ingredient in Fiji. The cassava can be grated, boiled, or baked and can also be included into other dishes.
It is often used to make a cake. Apart from cassava itself, the recipe calls for coconut milk, brown sugar, and butter.
To make a cassava cake, locals first grate the cassava into fine pieces. They also grate the coconut to squeeze the milk out. (Sometimes they use commercially packaged coconut milk.) They then mix the grated cassava with sugar and coconut milk to create a thick mixture.
The mixture is placed on a greased dish and is baked for about 45 minutes. What comes out is a firm cassava cake, with a thin outer layer and a moist and soft inner layer.
Cassava cake is usually served during breakfast or eaten with an afternoon tea.