It is time to put that old “you don’t go to Fiji for the food” chestnut to bed. If you get out and about there is oodles of great Fijian food to be had...
Chef Priya Darshani (Executive Sous Chef at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort) made this tea for us to drink while she was giving a cooking lesson on Indian-Fijian dishes. Priya uses bush lemon leaves which are milder than our lemon leaves, so I have substituted kaffir lime leaves. Makes 4 cups
1 L cold water
12 whole blackpeppercorns
6 kaffir lime leaves (double leaves)
5 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughlychopped
2 Tbsp runny honey
Bring the water, peppercorns, lime leaves and ginger to the boil in a saucepan. Lower the heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and strain into a heatproof jug. Stir in the honey. Serve in tea cups or warmed glasses.
A truly simple and very tasty vegetable curry recipe from Shailesh Naidu, Executive Chef at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort. Get the recipe
Nadi Bay Herb Farm grows basil in abundance. It is their main export crop, with plenty coming over to New Zealand to be made into pesto. The herb farm supplies local food businesses, hotels and resorts with their daily need for fresh herbs. Coconut basil pesto is delicious with barbecued or pan-fried fish. Get the recipe
Ota or river fern is sold at the Sigatoka market (and other markets all over Fiji), where local Fijian produce is found in abundance. I have substituted with baby spinach. Mix up the seafood here — you can use fish fillets, prawns, mussels, octopus or crayfish. Get the recipe
Fijian river prawns are lovely and sweet and definitely worth seeking out when visiting Fiji. Serve this dish on a very hot summer’s evening or as part of a long lazy lunch. Have plenty of napkins and water bowls for messy fingers. Get the recipe
Eating around Nadi
Cafe O, Eden Plaza, Martintar, Nadi and The Palms, Denarau (directly opposite the Port Denarau carpark). Both serve Fiji coffee and Pacific cuisine.
Mamasake Restaurant Wailoaloa Beach Rd, Nadi. Known for their sushi, especially their hand-rolls. I loved the cassava fries with togarashi and addictive spicy mayonnaise. There are share plates, including fresh and interesting salads using local ingredients.
Taste Fiji Kitchen Lot 1 Cawa Rd, off Queens Rd, Martintar, Nadi. Owned by Lee and Louise Acreman, who are passionate about local raw ingredients and training and using local talent.