Pacific

5 Culinary Experiences You Need To Try In Fiji’s Yasawa Islands

By Bridget O'Donohue

A secluded collection of islands stretching across the western side of Fiji, the enchanting Yasawa Islands have a reputation for filling camera rolls with shots of sun-drenched sandy beaches and sparkling turquoise waters. What visitors to the region might not know, is all that beauty, relaxation and adventure can really work up an appetite. Fortunately, the Yasawas offer exquisite culinary experiences that allow foodies to savour all the bounty of the land and sea.

To help you make the most of your food-filled hours in Fiji, we’ve turned to the help of House of Travel to round up the top culinary experiences you can’t miss on a trip to the Yasawa Islands. 

Embrace Your Inner Romantic With A Private Beach Picnic At Yasawa Island Resort And Spa

beach picnic Fiji

For guests of the all-inclusive Yasawa Island Resort And Spa, this secluded retreat features just 18 beachfront bures, each with a thatched cabana and a dreamy outdoor shower. As part of the resort’s lavish offerings, guests get to enjoy all-inclusive gourmet meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages.

And what better way to indulge than a private beach picnic for two—think white sandy beaches, stretches of clear water, ice-cold drinks, a hamper of fresh fruit and baked treats, and the most beautiful vistas you've ever seen. Simply choose from their delicious picnic options, order a bottle of champagne, and you’ll be delivered to one of their 11 private beaches for a decadent feast with your other half. 

Learn To Cook Fijian Favourites At Mantaray Island Resort

Kokoda

One of the biggest (and best) parts of Fijian culture is their incredible food—a fusion of influences from Polynesia, India, China, and the West. When dinner rolls around at your resort of choice, you'll find yourself feasting on freshly caught fish, locally grown fruit and veggies, and a generous side of that familiar Fijian hospitality (and a fresh pineapple pina colada or two). 

If you’re keen for a slice of Fijian life to take home, Mantaray Island Resort offers local cooking classes, where you'll learn to prepare dishes with traditional ingredients like root veggies, fresh fish, coconut cream, and vegetables. Hosted by their executive chef, you might learn to whip up whole coconut fish baked with a golden pastry lid, seared tuna with roasted orange kumala and wasabi dressing, or Kokoda—their traditional raw fish dish—an island favourite that’s marinated in fresh coconut and lemon or lime juice. 

Join A Lovo Night And Kava Ceremony At Oarsman’s Bay Lodge 

Lovo

One of our top picks for both cuisine and culture is Nacula Island, where you’ll find the adults-only Oarsman's Bay Lodge. Situated within the Blue Lagoon region, guests can enjoy stunning reefs for snorkelling and the Neisau peak for a breathtaking sunrise hike. 

At Oarsman’s each Saturday, guests are warmly invited to join a lovo night and kava ceremony. Kava is the national drink of Fiji, made from the root of the pepper tree. The drink is prepared and passed around the circle by the host in coconut shells, and drunk by each guest in one gulp—a special shared moment of serenity for Fijians and visitors alike. 

And no trip to the Yasawa Islands would be complete without a lovo, a traditional cooking method used for celebrations and special occasions. An expansive hole is dug and filled with hot coals—then fresh meats like chicken and seafood are marinated in fresh coconut cream and spices, before being woven with palm and banana leaves and placed underground to slow cook for hours. Don't miss the slow-roasted taro, a starchy potato-like root vegetable that's a favourite in Fijian cooking. After the feasting is done, be sure to witness their goosebump-inducing Meke performance, where storytelling comes alive through the staff's captivating song and dance.

Visit Lo’s Teahouse From Nanuya Lailai Resort

Los' teahouse

When staying in the Yasawas, visiting a local village is a must-do for a glimpse into the realities of island life. Guided tours will take you to nearby islands, immersing you in the warm embrace of genuine Fijian hospitality. If you visit during the ‘winter’ months, you might even have the chance to cheer on a local village rugby game. 

If you're lucky enough to be a guest of Nanuya Island Resort or Blue Lagoon Cruises, take a visit to Lo's Tea House for a slice of cake—island style. When you arrive, Lo will greet you with a bula and a smile, then serve you up a slice of her freshly baked banana cake. It's best paired with a hot mug of kaffir lime and fresh root ginger tea, and a good chat with the teahouse host herself. 

Experience The Culinary Fusion Of Fiji And Japan At Paradise Cove Resort 

fish dinner

Chances are you didn’t plan on finding Japanese fare in the heart of the South Pacific, but this is just one of the surprises awaiting you at Paradise Cove Resort’s outdoor Japanese kitchen, Donu. 

In the evenings, guests are treated to a delectable Omakase dining experience where local Fijian ingredients are skillfully combined with Japanese culinary techniques to craft a series of ‘trust the chef’ plates. Enjoy a front-row seat to the open kitchen as the talented chefs prepare your menu under the night sky. Be sure to raise a toast with their selection of sake, Japanese beer, and a curated cocktail menu.

For more intel on this breathtaking foodie paradise, check out Tourism Fiji. And to lock in your trip, visit House of Travel for exclusive holiday packages and deals.

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Tourism Fiji and House of Travel and proudly endorsed by The Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.

Images: supplied 

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