A GUIDE TO EATING VEGAN IN FIJI
By Renee Buckingham
If you are like me and love tasty, wholesome food (who doesn’t), then eating right is important to you. Within reason of course because... cassava chips.
On my recent trip to Fiji I discovered a range of delicious food. Most restaurants and cafes were happy to accommodate for vegans. Worst case you can just opt for the cassava chips and pina coladas (check for cream, of course).
We flew into Nadi and stayed on Denarau Island. On booking we advised the hotel that we were vegan, which I would 100% recommend doing so. On arrival we were greeted at the Westin by the head chef at the resort who spoke to us about what options were available, but also that he would let all the restaurants at the resort know that people were staying who are on a vegan diet. This was a great help and made the stay a whole lot easier.
Here is a quick guide of where to go, what to order, and any other tips and tricks in navigating the options available around Nadi and Denarau:
FLYING FISH: Located at the Sheraton Resort. The chefs do their best to ensure vegans are looked after, even better if you can give them notice. We ended up with gnocchi, a heap of vegetable sides and tempura vegetables. It is far from cheap, but after all you are on holidays. Go on, treat yourself.
HABIBI: A cute, middle eastern gem hidden on the entrance to Nadi. The space is exactly what you’d be looking for after a busy day on the water, or exploring the Nadi hillside with an adorable fit out of floor and table seating. There is a white walled courtyard for some fresh air, and of course sheishas everywhere! Take your shoes off and take a seat on the comfortable cushions with great company to share in a delicious range of traditional delicacies. We picked their falafels, a fresh salad, bread with babaganoush and crowd favourite - hummus. They could also offer us the vego pizza minus cheese. Definitely one to check out.
MAMACISTAS: The favourite meal of the trip. This place is all over trip advisor and we soon found out why. As with most Mexican food, it is easy to make it vegan by simply removing the cheese from veggie dishes. We ordered the fajitas and macho nacho’s without cheese. The staff were all over it and the food came out incredibly fresh and fast. Located in the Wyndham Resort.
LULU’S: Located at Port Denarau, this cafe is a great place to soak up the view, enjoy a drink and some freshly prepared lunch. We ordered the Buddha sushi roll, tempura veggies and a local dish pulusami (one to check out).
KITCHEN GRILL: Located at the Westin, this is the perfect place for nights where you can’t be bothered to leave the resort (we don’t blame you). The bar on the edge of the water has a 4-6pm happy hour (Bula Hour!), and when you’re done with your fair share of mojitos, eat at the Kitchen Grill. We ordered the quinoa salad with a side of grilled corn and Fijian chips (a mix of cassava, taro, dahlo).
Another time we ate there we asked the waiter to make a vegan version of the pork tacos on the menu and ordered a garden salad to go along with it. As you’re paying $22 AUD for two relatively small tacos, don’t be afraid to ask for a larger serving. We did!
ZING: If you like a bit of spice, then be sure to visit Zing, also located at the Westin Hotel. The breakfast buffet turns into a spicy asian restaurant at night. We enjoyed a noodle stir fry, homemade dumplings and steamed greens. Again, nothing specifically vegan but easy to just ask for no fish or oyster sauce.
MALAMALA BEACH CLUB: No trip to Fiji is complete without a visit to one of the islands.. at the very least for the 'gram. Suprsingly the food was tasty, with a few alterations to the menu they can prepare you some tasty meals. We enjoyed the soba noodle salad, mixed root vegetable chips and veggie samosas... which by the way, were delicious!
BULLACINO: Located near the Sheraton, Bullacino’s is a quiet but expensive cafe. They have falafel plates, wraps and smoothies. We got two acai smoothie bowls and to be honest, they weren’t the best. But when ya craving them smoothies, you got to do what you got to do.
If you are after fresh organic veggies, snacks and co-yo there’s a small grocer next to Lulu’s on the port that offers these.
The food isn’t cheap and you always have to add 25% tax on top of what you order. However, if you do your research and send some messages around to restaurants in advance of visiting you should be able to eat comfortably without having to make a scene on arrival.