To Food With Love

To Food With Love

I must confess that my food curiosity began during my international assignments and it was only during the pandemic and border closures that I started truly appreciating and exploring our local cuisines in Fiji. For most of us Fijians, local food delicacies.

I got my appetite for delicious food from my travels around the world with Fiji Airways. A whole world of delicious opportunities opened up as I got a taste of escargot in Paris, chili crabs in Singapore, sushi in Tokyo, poke in Honolulu, fish and chips in London, tortillas in Los Angeles to roast goose in Hong Kong. And I was inspired to scout for more.

Sundays is also when our kitchens become most alive with wonderful aromas, combination of flavours, scents of exotic spices, and displays of colourfully plated food. Our melting pot of cultures provides us with an array of flavoursome meals to choose from beyond our own ethnic cuisines. nd for many Fijians like myself, Saturday morning routines often involve a trip to the local fish market for fresh seafood.

Growing up in the Tailevu province and residing just a song away from our Nausori market is perhaps one of the highlights of living in the Delta town.

Packs of freshly cooked seafood reign as the main fare on the lunch table and is of the usual tasty baked sea clams (kovu Kaikoso), steamed octopus, sea grapes (Nama), sea weed cake (Lumi), ceviche (Kokoda), fresh water mussels (kai), and a selection of steamed root crops.

Growing up, I was lucky enough to be immersed around indo-fijian culture – this introduced me to the enjoyable tastes of curries that led me to my ongoing love affair with the various versions of our FijiIndian curry.

My curry cravings are often satisfied at the best curry house in Fiji’s capital city, Zamzam. This almost ‘hole in the wall’ eatery is locally famous for their homemade spices and addictive flavours.

You are always guaranteed a tasty curry from their selections of duck, lamb, chicken, fish, fresh water mussels (kai), lobsters, prawns, and a variety of vegetarian options.

Fiji’s Chinese community, who first arrived in Fiji in the mid 1800s during the Fiji gold rush and sandalwood trade, brought with them a fresh cuisine from the mainland, which has over the years has evolved to fuse local vegetables and spices.

This unique fusion of mainland Chinese gastronomy with a Fijian twist includes chicken fried rice, chowmein, chopsuey and have truly been embraced by the entire Fijian community.

For rice dishes, LC’S restaurant in Nadi is famed for their smoky coated fried rice selections.

The chicken option is a popular favourite and is usually enjoyed with a side of chili soy sauce.

And through the month of December, we stock our fridges with meats and seafood catch for the big feast over the Christmas holiday period.

Most Fijians will prepare a lovo (earth oven) along with curries, chop suey dishes, roasts, seafood varieties and baked treats for dessert.

Food for me is to enjoy and if tasked to prepare a meal, my favourite, Hainan Chicken sits atop my list.

The exposure and travels to the international food mecca’s, influence of Youtube food videos and reality food shows adds fuel to my desires for tasty and good food.

Fiji’s gastronomy scene has been going through a renaissance in recent years and with the rise in more restaurants, eateries and food stalls opening up post pandemic, our food choices are extending far and wide.

As tastefully vocalised by Bethenny Frankel, “our diet is like our bank account. Good food choices are good investment”, and with the extensive selections of food options available, Fijians are surely bound to be making some palatable decisions.

(*Bethenny Frankel is a popular US television personality)

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