Stories from Fiji: Part III
For David and myself, food is one of the most interesting parts of travel (and life, in general). Eating, talking about eating, thinking about food. It's all great fun. And, it can be so tasty!
Toasted nuts and fresh fruit arrived on our plates every morning. Including, the best papaya I have ever put in my mouth- an event which changed my opinion on the fruit entirely. We also had the opportunity to enjoy (lots of) particularly yummy banana pancakes.
But, Fijian cuisine is not well known. You have to ask around to discover what's most traditional or what Fijians eat at home. We encountered typical ingredients like taro root (dalo) and leaf (rourou), white sweet potatoes (kumala), and Walu fish. Tubers, seafood, fruit, and Indian cuisine dominate the menus. There didn't seem to be a great amount of typical Fijian dishes, but we did get to try Kokoda, Fiji’s version of ceviche made with lime juice and coconut cream.
Concerning beverages, Fiji does have one that is extremely commonplace. It's known throughout the South Pacific, and its name is Kava. It's basically an herbal version of Xanax in beverage form and tastes like pond water. (The murkiness did not help distance itself from this comparison, either.) The drink is made from the kava plant's root which has anesthetic and sedative properties. When asked how kava tasted to us, we just replied, "It's very earthy."
We did find other local drinks that we enjoyed. Our favorite beer was Vanu Pure Lager. And, it wasn’t my favorite just because it had a picture of a turtle on its label. We also tried Bounty Rum- which was perfectly lovely over ice, or in various island-appropriate cocktails. Then, of course, there is the freshly-hacked-open young coconut to replenish your electrolytes.
Before you think that's the end of tasty drinks in Fiji, let me note one more: the water. If I imagined where every drop of water we drank came from, I would have been in a constant state of melted-butter. A tropical rainfall trickling over volcanic rock, seeping deep below the earth's surface into an artesian aquifer... Whew! Think about that next time you're in savasana.