The islands of the South Pacific may be famed for their utopian white beaches, but there’s more to destinations like Fiji, Tahiti and Vanuatu than just sun, sea and sand. Step away from the regular tourist haunts, and you’ll discover a wealth of indigenous experiences that give the South Pacific islands such timeless appeal.
But today on the Cruise1st Australia blog, we aren’t here to drum up appreciation for the innumerable attractions afforded by these paradise isles. No, today we’ll be looking at one facet of the South Pacific that’s criminally under-featured in visitor guides on the region — and that’s the food.
Combining indigenous delicacies with those introduced by foreign visitors, the food of the South Pacific is colourful, balanced and incredibly tasty. Here, we look at some of the classic dishes to be enjoyed during your visit to the South Pacific.
For those fortunate enough to be visiting Fiji during their next cruise, a trove of culinary treats awaits. Fijian food is, for the most part, based on a simple range of ingredients, including sweet potatoes, cassava, rice, taro and fish. Many staple dishes also include tropical fruits such as bananas and coconuts, either diced and added as is, or mashed and pulsed to form a sauce. As well as the traditional delicacies of Kokoda, Lovo and Duruka, Fijian islanders also incorporate elements of Indian cuisine into their gastronomic offering, thanks to the Fijuan-Indo culture that still exists on the island.
Arguably the world’s most coveted honeymoon destination, Tahiti is also home to a number of exceptional regional dishes, the majority of which contain fish. Fresh seafood is a staple of Tahitian diet, particularly tuna, grouper and bonito, which can all be found in the turquoise waters surrounding the island. Thanks to Tahiti’s deep love for all things fishy, it’s also possible to sample other, more exotic seafood dishes during your time ashore, from river prawns and parrotfrish, to octopus, sea urchin and barracuda.
Of all the regional culinary offerings of the South Pacific, Vanuatu’s is perhaps the most exotic. During your visit, be sure to seek out the island’s national dish, lap lap. This colourful dish contains mashed yams or taros, fresh coconut cream, spinach and flying fox meat, and is traditionally cooked in an underground oven. If flying fox sounds a little too out there for your palette, the dish is often served with chicken, pork or beef instead. After your meal, why not wash it down with a refreshing glass of Kava? Brewed using Piper methysticum leaves, this herbal drink is popular throughout Vanuatu, and is celebrated for its mild narcotic effects.
Thanks to its French colonial heritage, Lifou has cultivated a colourful and exotic culinary palette, and one dominated, like many Pacific islands, by seafood. Lifou’s best loved seafood dishes include lobster, crab and turtle, while there is also a growing market for goat, pig and chicken dishes. Fresh vegetables and fruits, including taro, yam, vanilla and sweet potato, complement each of these foodstuffs. Lifou Islanders also share a deep love and appreciation for a good cup of coffee, no doubt all thanks to their French ancestors.
Whether you wish to visit for the beaches or the food, the South Pacific is the ideal destination for a relaxing cruise break. To browse a complete range of South Pacific cruises, visit the Cruise1st Australia homepage or call us today on 1300 857 345.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Jennifer, kyle post, Duncan Rawlinson, Katia de la Luz, qasic