If you are planning a trip to Fiji and want to keep up your plant/based diet, you have come to the right place! My boyfriend and I are currently staying at a resort on Denarau Island just outside of Nadi. We are both vegan and try to stick to a whole-food diet with most of our food (but not all) being raw. We planned ahead as best as we could but found very little information in the web. I would like to share with you our finds and hopefully this will make your travels easier.
When preparing for our trip, we were very careful to book a resort that has a full kitchen. We found one with WorldMark by Wyndham in Denarau Island. It is a beautiful, clean resort with a full kitchen and a full set of cookware, and a blender. We brought a suitcase with unopened bags of raw brazil nuts, cashews, chia seeds, organic peanut butter, maca root powder, Vitamineral Greens, rice pasta, quinoa and adzuki beans. When we arrived in Fiji, we declared that we had these items and the security officer said that all of our items were fine and that we could bring them in. Fiji will not let you bring in fruit, or vegetables. They are very conscious of keeping their eco-system pure, and bringing in a seemingly innocent looking orange or apple can introduce trouble such as fruit fly larva.
On our first day, we took the “yellow bus” into Nadi. This bus is only one Fiji dollar (fifty cents USD) and takes approximately 20 minutes to get into town. The bus will pull into a bus station that happens to be right next to the Fruit Market. Here you will find an amazing variety of fruits and veggies. Some of the produce is different than what you are used to at home. The spinach is very stemmy and strong tasting, the limes are yellow and the lemons are green, the apples are very tiny. We bought stuff to make salads, greens for our smoothies, bananas, apples and pineapples, and veggies like okra and bok choy to cook with our quinoa and beans. They also sell a variety of lentils and spices.
We could not find any good nut milks or soy milk. The soy milk that is available has many additives such as canola oil. There seems to be a lot of preservatives and food coloring used in all pre-packaged food, however I did find a store called “Marina Deli” at the Port in Denarau. This place had many health food items but at a high cost. I did purchase some sprouts, more organic peanut butter and sea salt from them. They are the only health food store that I found. They also sell a lot of gluten free items.
Eating out is a challenge. So far I found Mamacita’s at The WorldMark by Wyndham has a vegetarian fajita dish that can be made vegan by eliminating the cheese and sour cream. The chef assured me that their beans and rice are vegan. It was a very delicious meal but made with a lot of oil. It is also very plentiful and can be shared by two. Mamacita’s also has fresh squeezed juice made to order.
At the Port in Denarau, there is a restaurant called Hulu and they have a beautiful house salad, a vegan buddha roll (nori roll with tofu) and a traditional Fijian dish called Palusami. They make it with delicious leaves and coconut milk. The root of the plant from which the leaves were derived is called dalo and they serve it like french fries.
There is an excursion that you can take to South Seas Island where you can swim, snorkel, and take a short trip in a glass bottom boat. Lunch is included in this island getaway and if you tell them that you are vegan they will make sure that there are items that are suitable for you. We had a beautiful salad, fried rice with vegetables and watermelon and apples.
I found that when traveling anywhere outside of the US, the word “vegan” is not always understood. Many people use the phrase “pure vegetarian” or “strict vegetarian.”
Kava is the traditional drink of Fiji and is completely vegan. It is made from the roots of a pepper plant. There is a customary way of drinking kava that will be explained in a welcoming ceremony that you may attend at the craft market or perhaps on an excursion. Everyone drinks from the same bowl and it is important that you drink it all at once so not to offend anyone. It tastes like muddy water and they know this so it’s okay to joke around about that. Believed to be good for stress, it is said to have a calming effect. It can cause a numbing effect on the tongue and forehead.
I hope that this makes a vegan’s trip to Fiji a little easier and enjoyable. When I get home from my travels in May I will add some pictures of the market and the food.