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10 Must-Try Local Foods In Fiji

Posted 19 Apr 2016 Most travellers flock to Fiji for the sun, beaches and snorkelling, but did you know that the South Pacific island country is also a haven for delicious local eats? Heavily inspired by what the ocean has to offer, fish is a hero delicacy in Fiji in addition to root vegetables like sweet potato and taro, and exotic fruits like coconut and bananas. Traditional local cuisine is influenced by Indo-Fijian culture, and so don’t be surprised to see curry dishes on the breakfast menu. If you’re travelling to Fiji for the first time, here are 10 things you should eat and drink. 1. Taro 6. Coconut 2. Kokoda 7. Nama 3. Rourou 8. Noni Juice 4. Duruka 9. Cassava Cake 5. Kava 10. Lovo 1. Taro Taro Taro is a beloved staple for Fijians and has been part of the local diet for centuries – its cultural importance is so significant that there’s even a dedicated holiday in May called Taro Day. You can enjoy taro in various forms, whether it’s steamed (the healthier version) or fried as fritters and potato chips – the latter pairs extremely well with local Fijian beer (Fiji Bitter or Fiji Gold). 2. Kokoda Charred venisan kokoda with sea grapes Kokoda (pronounced as ko-kon-da in Fiji) is a traditional Fijian dish of raw Mahi-Mahi fish marinated in lemon or limejuice, served on a bed of lettuce or with fresh fruit salad. This dish is topped with fresh coconut cream to create a rich creamy flavor, with the addition of tomatoes, spring onion and chilli. Kokoda is commonly referred to as Fiji’s ‘Coconut Ceviche’ and served as a popular entrée to cleanse the taste palate for following courses. At the InterContinental Hotel resort guests can take part in a complimentary Kokoda cooking class to sample this simple but delicious seafood dish. 3. Rourou Rourou is a nutritious meal made from taro leaves soaked in coconut milk and blended with cooked onion, chilli and spices. Similar to spinach, taro leaves are a popular addition to Indo-Fijian curries. You will often find rourou served as a side dish during buffet-styled dinners. If you’re keen to try this out amongst other local Fijian dishes, head to Nadina Authentic Fijian Restaurant in Port Denarau where you can enjoy dinner over sunset. 4. Duruka Raw Daruka Similar in appearance to asparagus and often known as bush asparagus, duruka is a staple vegetable to the Fijian diet and is commonly served with fish that has been soaked in coconut milk. The edible part of the grass-like plant is the enclosed flower, which needs to be stripped and then boiled. For some of the best authentic Fijian food, Laucala Island has five restaurants and grows as much produce on the island as possible. The island also boasts some of the best views in Fiji with all the restaurants looking out to neighbouring islands, the reef and the glorious Pacific Ocean. 5. Kava Fijian Kava Ceremony Kava is a popular local beverage in Fiji, and is also known as a ceremonial drink. Made from the root of the Piper Methysticum, kava is said to induce a numbing effect in the mouth and promote muscle relaxation and drowsiness. An ideal time to drink the beverage would be at night, close to bedtime. Kava ceremonies are offered at most hotels, resorts and during day trips, however keep in mind that there are local customs and etiquette to adhere to. 6. Coconut Coconut Tree If you travel to Fiji, be sure to take advantage of the abundance of coconuts. Coconut is heavily relied upon in Fijian cuisine and is also exported, making it a great source of income for the country. All aspects of the coconut can be consumed; the water of the fruit is especially delicious because it is fresh from the tree. 7. Nama Nama, Sea Grapes Nama is a seagrass that looks like tiny grapes, which bursts in your mouth with an explosion of flavours. Typically harvested in the Yasawa Islands, nama can be found as a complement to food on buffet tables and is often served as a garnish. Be sure to add them to fresh food like salads for a flavoursome boost. 8. Noni Juice Noni Fruit  Touted as a health elixir, noni juice is native to the Pacific Islands and Polynesia, and used as an herbal health tonic. Noni juice is said to help boost the immune system due to its rich antioxidant profile and can also help to cleanse the digestive tract. 9. Cassava Cake Cassava is a woody shrub that is better known as tapioca. There are bitter and sweet varieties of cassava - the root provides the sweetness and is used to make cakes in Fiji. Many resorts will offer this treat at afternoon tea or for desert. 10. Lovo Lovo preparation Lovo is not a food but rather a traditional way of eating that directly translates to ‘feast cooked in earth’. Meat, chicken, fish or vegetables are prepared and wrapped in banana leaves and left to cook in a hot pit underneath the ground. As a result, food that’s prepared in this manner is often infused with a distinct, smokey flavour. Most resorts and hotels in Fiji will offer a Lovo style meal and is typically included in day trips to islands. A notable Lovo experience is at the Shangri La on the main island, which includes an entertaining night of Polynesian dancing and fire displays.
By Jennifer Liu Continue Reading
Tagged: Activities, Culture

5 ways Australian travelers are drawn to Fiji

Posted 29 Dec 2014 It’s no secret that Australians love Fiji. In fact data released by the Fijian Bureau of Statistics reveals the tropical archipelago attracted over 300,000 Australian tourists a year since 2010, making Aussie travellers and families one of Fiji’s main tourism demographics. As two of the Pacific’s leading nations, Australia and Fiji share both a long history and a strong bond. There are is plenty of sporting and cultural ties that ensure Aussies travelling to Fiji feel right at home. Likewise, the tropical island archipelagos and Fiji’s warm hospitality feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of Australia’s sprawling capital cities. For many Australian’s, flying to Fiji is like flying to their second home. If you need a reason to visit Fiji, here are five revealing why Aussies keep coming back: 1. For the luxury hotels and resorts When Australian’s look for a holiday, they often consider the sun, sand and surf beyond their borders and with Fiji being just a few hours’ flight from Brisbane and Sydney, the accessible destination is ideal for both singles and families of all budgets. Visitors can choose to stay in rustic resorts, five-star hotels or everything in between, but those who want to holiday like a celebrity can take inspiration from the stars. Russell Crowe (an honorary Aussie) has reportedly had a break at Namale Resort on Vanua Levu and the private island Wakaya Club Luxury Resort; while Aussie supermodel Elle ‘The Body’ McPherson has stayed at private island Vomo. 2. For the water sports Aussies and Fijians share a great love of the beach, surf and water. Fiji is world-famous for its soft coral reef snorkeling and scuba diving at sites such as Big W and Gotham City and surf fans should head to the Mamanuca islands beaches and the legendary Cloudbreak.  3. To get hitched Thousands of Aussie couples get married or honeymoon in Fiji each year. And who can blame them? With tropical locations and luxurious resorts just a few hours’ flight away, a wedding in Fiji is a great choice for romantic nuptials. No doubt Elle McPherson would agree – she tied the knot with billionaire Jeffery Soffer at Laucala Resort off the coast of Taveuni in 2013. While the Luacala might be out of the price range for many engaged couples, resorts such as Castaway Island have amazing wedding packages for those looking to tie the knot. 4. For the fresh Fijian cuisine Blessed with a warm climate, an abundance of produce and locally harvested seafood, Fiji is a fresh food heaven. Little wonder top Aussie chefs Lance Seeto and Peter Kuruvita have each set up shop in Fiji. Seeto is head chef at Castaway Island, home to Lali Sandbar, which has been awarded Fiji’s Restaurant of the Year with its signature 1808 concept menu. Another famous Aussie chef, Peter Kuruvita, heads up Flying Fish Fiji at the Sheraton on Denarau Island and the newly opened Steakhouse by Peter Kuruvita at The Westin, Denarau Island. 5. To keep active Fijians are mighty athletes, as anyone who has seen Fiji’s rugby and sevens teams clash with Australia’s will know. Luckily things are more relaxed away from the international stage and Yasawa Island Resort’s beaches are a great location for a friendly game of touch rugby or volleyball with the locals. For the more adventurous visitor who wants to get their heart pumping, white water rafting on the Navua River is an exciting alternative. Getting to Fiji for a holiday - Fly to Nadi or Suva with Fiji Airways. Check out our great deals and Special offers with our partners  Organise your Fiji holiday - Flights to Nadi -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Nadi daily from many international ports including flights from Sydney to Nadi, flights from Auckland to Nadi, flights from Los Angeles to Nadi and flights from Hong Kong to Nadi. - Flights to Suva - Fiji Airways also operates flights from Sydney to Suva and Auckland to Suva. Join BulaMail Be the FIRST to receive sale fare alerts and you will also have access to our monthly newsletter – Last Friday Bula! For Last Friday Bula, you will get exclusive, priority-access on the last Friday of every month to: Fiji Airways sales fares Limited time partner offers Inspiring ideas to help plan your holiday Exciting prizes and giveaways Join BulaMail!
By Daniel Hochuli continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Adventure, Culture, Family, Resorts, Leisure, Relaxation

A Perfect Week in Wellington-Part 1

Posted 27 Feb 2015 Make the most of the last summer days with a quick getaway to Wellington, the city dubbed the coolest little capital in the world. It is renowned as a cultural hotbed with some remarkable architecture and numerous art galleries certain to satisfy those with an eye for art or history – and has a massive sporting culture to boot. Take a look at our series on why New Zealand’s capital city is the holiday destination of the moment – starting with its arts and cultural scene… With its timeworn colonial buildings, street art, iconic sculptures and entertainment complexes this picturesque city will sweep you off your feet. Start your trip with the Artists in Action weekend from 28 February – 1 March, where you can visit painters, potters and printmakers in their studios all weekend from 10am to 4pm to see how they create their work, and pick up or commission a piece you’ll love. All year round, you can follow the Arts Trail on the picture-perfect Miramar Peninsula, home to painters, photographers, sculptors and filmmakers. The Arts Trail takes you around Shelly Bay, Maupuia, Strathmore Park, Mora Point, Breaker Bat and Seatoun to galleries and exhibitions where celebrated New Zealand artists such as Jane Blackmore and Juliet Best display their work along the water’s edge. For another cultural hit, discover the beautiful harbor area with The Wellington Writers’ Walk, where the waterfront is randomly dotted with typographical sculptures, quotes on concrete plaques and inlaid metal texts. Follow the path to the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa on Cable Street.  Six floors of exhibitions with cafes and gift shops are dedicated to New Zealand’s culture and environment, free of admission charges. Here you can see Elf Soldier and Elf Lieutenant costumes from Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy films. Te Papa offers a Middle of Middle Earth Costume Trial designed by Weta Workshop, where you can hunt hobbits, dwarves, elves and men to the suburb of Miramar. Weta Cave, the studio behind critically acclaimed films like Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Avatar and King Kong is located here. If you’d rather stay inside Te Papa, innovative and interactive exhibits tell stories of New Zealand’s unique geological, biological, cultural and social history. Continue on your journey of New Zealand’s political and social history with a visit to Parliament. Learn about New Zealand’s parliamentary process on a free one hour guided tour that also covers the history and architecture. Across the road is the largest wooden building in the world, the old Government Buildings. Completed in 1876, the structure resembles an Italian stone palace and is lined with crimson flowering Pohutukawa trees.  It has two grand staircases, eight vaults, 143 rooms, 126 fireplaces, 22 chimneys, 64 toilets, eight verandahs and seven porticos and now houses part of Victoria University of Wellington’s Law Faculty. At Jervois Quay, a late English Classical style building houses Wellington Harbour Board Head Office.  On Queen’s Wharf the Bond Store, designed in French Second Empire style, is where you will find the Museum of Wellington City and Sea. See the world’s largest specimen of the rare colossal squid, captured in Antarctica a few years ago and if you dare, meet Azorg the vilest Orc from Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy films. To round off your cultural vacation, get to the heart of Miramar for the Weta Cave Workshop Tour and be greeted by three trolls in the garden. A one-hour tour provides a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings of the multi-award winning design studio and manufacturing facility that services the world's entertainment and creative industries. Weta’s design and effects work for films includes not only the Lord of the Rings trilogy but also Chronicles of Narnia, District 9, Adventures of Tintin and Elysium amongst others.  Visitors get to try some of the weapons made for the movies.  You can also buy limited edition sculptures hand crafted by artists at Weta and clothing, jewelry and books.  And if a few days of culture isn’t your thing, then stay tuned for our upcoming articles that take a closer look at Wellington’s sports action, golden beaches, picturesque gardens and retail hotspots. Getting to there and away Check out Fiji Airways special offers on flights to Auckland and flights to Wellington Plan your New Zealand holiday - Flights to Auckland - Fiji Airways operates flights to Auckland regularly from many domestic and international ports including flights from Nadi to Auckland, flights from Suva to Auckland, flights from Apia to Auckland, flights from Los Angeles to Auckland and flights from Hong Kong to Auckland. - Flights to Wellington -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Wellington regularly from many international ports including flights from Nadi to Wellington, flights from Suva to Wellington, flights from Apia to Wellington, flights from Los Angeles to Wellington and flights from Hong Kong to Wellington. Join BulaMail Be the FIRST to receive sale fare alerts and you will also have access to our monthly newsletter – Last Friday Bula! For Last Friday Bula, you will get exclusive, priority-access on the last Friday of every month to: Fiji Airways sales fares Limited time partner offers Inspiring ideas to help plan your holiday Exciting prizes and giveaways Join BulaMail!
By Glen Smith continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Culture, Family, , Leisure, Relaxation

Celebrity Chef Robert Oliver best places to eat in New Zealand Part1

Posted 29 Oct 2014 Renowned New Zealand chef, award-winning author and presenter of My Kitchen Rules New Zealand, Robert Oliver, journeys back to the land of the long white cloud and has compiled his selection of fine Kiwi restaurants that embody the best food in New Zealand. Craggy Range, Hawkes Bay Hawkes Bay, known as New Zealand’s fruit basket, is also one of the country’s most awarded wine regions. It is also home to the “Gimblett Gravels”, an area where century-old floods left a heavy bed of river stones that, as it turns out, is the perfect environment for the sunny wines of the region. My family lives here, so I know the area well and love the weekend gatherings at the Hastings Farmers Market. I had a spectacular lunch at Craggy Range, a gorgeous vineyard-based restaurant that makes fine wine and food in outrageously good even proportion. I had two venison dishes. One a carpaccio with candied walnuts and aioli, and the second a roasted deer loin with potato fennel gratin. The venison comes from local producer FirstLight Foods, which, incidentally, produce the world’s only grass-fed wagyu beef. Aptly named “Terroir”, the restaurant is surrounded by the grapes that made the Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Syrah we enjoyed with our food. Craggy Range embodies the Hawkes Bay experience — a place where fine wine culture begets great food culture, and it’s all in plain view, all from the region itself. Ortega Fish Shack, Wellington In Wellington, New Zealand’s San Francisco-esque capital city curled around an impossibly beautiful harbour, we ate at Chef Mark Limacher’s Ortega Fish Shack. First up were fresh-in-season, huge, briny, and creamy bluff oysters — the big and famous ones that come from the bottom-most tip of New Zealand’s South Island. I then had pan-roasted terakihi (a moist white fish, native to New Zealand waters) with ratatouille and crayfish butter, while my niece, Willa, gobbled down twice-baked, three-cheese soufflé doused with butter sauce! Butter on cheese; sinfully, wildly, crazily good! Dessert was lemon posset, a creamy, tangy mousse (New Zealand cream is fabulous) with local Otaki new-season strawberries. Floriditas, Wellington The next morning, still reeling with digestion, Willa and I brunched at Floriditas in Wellington’s outdoor Cuba Street Mall. We had rocket-fuel coffee and porridge with rhubarb, brown sugar and Cointreau. This was followed by organic poached eggs with a smoked mackerel and potato hash. Smart, urban, newspaper-scanning Wellingtonians packed the joint, downing equally smart, urban food. The ambience was warm and unhurried. “Floridita” has a terrific cookbook that’s worth picking up. The Boat Shed Café, Nelson The Boat Shed Café in Nelson at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island juts out over the water, and here, watching the most spectacular sunset, I dined on seared “sea run” salmon carpaccio. The dish is created using New Zealand’s king salmon, sea-farmed locally and as gaspingly good as the morning views. It is topped with fetta, pine nuts, raisins and tangy local olive oil, all served with delicious whitebait fritters with arugula and soft white bread and butter. For dessert, I had a rhubarb and raspberry eton mess: crispy crushed meringue, dense whipped cream with tangy rhubarb and summer berries. Lots of Nelson names peppered the menu: Neudorf Olive Oil, Whitestone Highland Blue Cheese, and more; even the wine, which was a Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2010. I saw this everywhere I went: New Zealand restaurants supplied by local regional producers giving rise to regional cuisine varietals. Good inspiring stuff. Bravo Chef Dan Monopoli. This is why I travel! To be continued...  Getting there and away Looking to samples some of New Zealand’s mouth-watering dishes? Check out Fiji Airways special offers on flights to Auckland and flights to Wellington Organise your New Zealand Foodie Holiday - Flights to Auckland - Fiji Airways operates flights to Auckland regularly from many domestic and international ports including flights from Nadi to Auckland, flights from Suva to Auckland, flights from Apia to Auckland, flights from Los Angeles to Auckland and flights from Hong Kong to Auckland. - Flights to Wellington -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Wellington regularly from many international ports including flights from Nadi to Wellington, flights from Suva to Wellington, flights from Apia to Wellington, flights from Los Angeles to Wellington and flights from Hong Kong to Wellington.
By Naziah Ali continue reading
Tagged: Culture, Leisure

Celebrity Chef Robert Oliver's best places to eat in New Zealand Part2

Posted 2 Nov 2014 Click here to read part one. The Best Café, Dunedin Fish and chips are part of New Zealand’s food culture. It’s our nostalgia food, what we eat on a family Sunday after a day at the beach. Everyone has their local favourite fish and chip shop, but few towns still have venues that you can dine in. The Best Café in Dunedin, New Zealand’s fourth city near the bottom of the South Island, is one. Blaring neon lights and fluoro green linoleum floor, this is the real deal. It’s not a relic; it’s part of our narrative, and they serve some of the best fish and chips I have ever had after years of being a fried fish junkie. The chefs here really know what they are doing: to turn such basic fare into something memorable. That’s magic. The menu offered a choice of many types of local fish, and Zoe, the lovely server, was well informed on even what the fish ate: did you know that elephant fish eats other fish and shellfish? I had batter fried blue cod with hand-cut chips and white bread with butter (and yes, I put hot chips into the bread and slurped it all down before the butter all melted in what is surely a nutritionist’s nightmare), all with a bracing cup of tea. A personal plea to The Best Café in Dunedin: please don’t ever modernise, in fact, don’t ever change at all! Botswana Butchery, Queenstown Everyone knows about Queenstown. It’s the lake and mountain region most served up in New Zealand’s tourism imagery. Oddly, I, a New Zealander, had never been here. It’s clear why its iconic vistas have been so bandied: Queenstown is awe-inspiringly beautiful. Botswana Butchery is housed in a colourful cottage on the lake and serves up great hearty food with big flavours. Meals are shared and generous, and the emphasis is on meats. Like cave men, we ripped apart a silkily tender slow-roasted leg of lamb, served on the bone. I loved the summer pea risotto with local wild rabbit and heirloom carrots, and Southland lambs fry (liver) with bacon, potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, mustard and port wine glaze. Botswana Butchery serves up the “roast dinner” that you wished you had at home! Big portions fittingly in proportion to the big views of Queenstown right outside. Mamak, Auckland Mamak? Why would I include a Malaysian restaurant in a New Zealand restaurant round up? Simply put, Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, has grown up. Newcomers from Asia - China, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, and more -- have put their colourful stamp on this beautiful city and the restaurant life reflects this. And what a dazzling change it has bought to town. All manner of Asian eateries abound, with the whole neighbourhood of Balmoral housing a restaurant row that runs from Cambodia to Shanghai. Jeffrey Sing, a name that goes well with his gorgeously sing-song Malaysian accent, is the owner and personality at Mamak in the central city area. It’s my first stop when I come to town: inexpensive, authentic Malaysian fare in a cobbled courtyard right downtown. Terrific, freshly homemade roti canai, roti tissue, satays, mamak mee goreng, laksas all bounce with flavours, and Jeffrey’s personal warmth makes the world feel good. Federal and Wolfe, Auckland Auckland’s CBD, formerly forlorn, is bursting with restaurant life. I love the big breakfast at Federal and Wolfe, on a quiet corner about two blocks back from the waterfront. It’s a funky, urban cafe with a wooden communal table and a staff who clearly are good friends, and that camaraderie extends to customers. The coffee is great, as is the whole menu. Corn fritters with haloumi and arugula, and organic beef burger with beet relish are good picks for lunch, but don’t miss breakfast here -- really great eggs dishes and brioche with New Zealand Pohutukawa honey and buffalo ricotta. I love that the menu proudly lists the names of the farmers that supply them. None of these restaurants are out to impress, rather they focus on delivering good food, really good food. What all of these have in common is that they are all overtly connected to the point of supply. Profoundly good ingredients, as we can now softly say, are leading New Zealand cuisine. Potatoes that give you new rounds of flavour with each bite, spinach that sings, old fashioned apple varietals that make you think you’ve never eaten apples before. My father was recently on a cruise and he lamented being away from home and the “ingredients that speak for themselves”. Flavour is the asset, not food intellect. When I visit home, my mother only buys mushrooms from the mushroom farmer, and he only farms mushrooms, so he has the best mushrooms. This detail, this type of excellence, is at the core of New Zealand cuisine. Even the service reflected these same values. Zoe at The Best Café, Jeffrey at Mamak and Kate at Federal and Wolfe all served with warmth and humour, rather than with impersonal slickness and style. The unfussed loveliness of New Zealanders is what you get here. I felt like I was visiting them in their homes. Getting there and away Looking to samples some of New Zealand’s mouth-watering dishes? Check out Fiji Airways special offers on flights to Auckland and flights to Wellington Organise your New Zealand Foodie Holiday - Flights to Auckland - Fiji Airways operates flights to Auckland regularly from many domestic and international ports including flights from Nadi to Auckland, flights from Suva to Auckland, flights from Apia to Auckland, flights from Los Angeles to Auckland and flights from Hong Kong to Auckland. - Flights to Wellington -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Samoa regularly from many international ports including flights from Nadi to Wellington, flights from Suva to Wellington, flights from Apia to Wellington, flights from Los Angeles to Wellington and flights from Hong Kong to Wellington.
By Naziah Ali continue reading
Tagged: Culture, Leisure
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