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Vinaka, Fiji

Carrie
Posted by Carrie on Jun 13, 2012

On one of the last nights on Vanua Levu, the chef and his staff prepared a traditional Lovo feast where food is wrapped in native leaves, typically banana leaves, buried and cooked in the ground. I had the opportunity to chat with the chef for a few minutes about the ingredients and the all-day process of preparing a few of these dishes. I only wish I had more time so that he could have taught me how to make everything. Two of my favorite dishes were the kokoda and palusami.

Kokoda:
Cubed fish steeped in lemon/lime juice then squeezed and garnished with onions, chillies, shallots, grated carrots, tomatoes and combined with thick coconut cream. Usually served chilled.

Palusami:
A popular dish made from dalo or taro leaves. Thick coconut cream is combined with onions, salt and poured into a cup made from several leaves, wrapped in foil or taro leaves and baked.

There were many other items served for the feast which included a whole Walu, chicken, very flavorful rice and some steamed local ferns (another one of my favorites). All of these scrumptious labors of love had such distinct flavors and a nice earthy, smokiness to them with a ‘melt in your mouth’ tenderness from the slow cooking process.

There was an interesting breakfast buffet during our time in Nadi, Viti Levu. Plenty of tropical fruits, including passion fruit, porridge, muffins, ham, cheeses, steamed vegetables and baked beans. Baked beans for breakfast?!? That’s what Little Chef and I said too. We ate it all while we watched the local birds try to steal our packets of jam and vegemite. No, I did not eat the vegemite.

I opened with a photo I took of the sunrise in my last blog, so for this blog, I will leave you with a photo of the sunset. Vinaka!

Topics: Fiji, coconut, fish, banana leaves, rice, breakfast, taro leaves, beans, vegemite, feast, chicken, palusami, chef