Elizabeth the Island Enthusiast

a celebration of unconventional adventures

Tag: Fijian supermarket

Fiji Food Highlights

It’s probably apparent by now that food is not the focus of my blog.

But, while going through the photos from the past two months in Fiji, I did find some pictures of food here and there, mostly taken when I was either REALLY ravenous or particularly amused with its display. Or perhaps to savor the fond memory.

So, without further ado, here are the food highlights (or at least the photographed ones) from my time in Fiji!

Classic Fijian Sunday Brunch in Labasa – Fresh Fish with Coconut ‘Miti’


Sunday is traditionally a day of rest in Fiji (pretty much all shops and restaurants in town are closed), so many families gather together for a nice big relaxing lunch.

The first Sunday I spent in Labasa, my host family prepared a DELICIOUS classic Fijian meal referred to as ‘miti,’ consisting of fresh fish (likely caught very close by in the plentiful fishing waters off Vanua Levu), taro, potatoes, onions and other veggies, drizzled in hot, freshly-made coconut milk (yes, they made the coconut milk fresh out of raw coconut while the fish cooked!).


The finished masterpiece

The final masterpiece

Stumbling Upon a Kumquat Tree


When I was in Taveuni, I noticed kumquat trees EVERYWHERE – they seemed ripe, so one day I picked a few from the tree growing right next to my bure. Wasn’t bad!


Random Cake


Evidently it was some kid’s birthday at the resort I stayed at on Taveuni Island, and because it was an ENORMOUS cake the resort had prepared for approximately three people, everyone at the restaurant got some! I think it was orange-flavored, and the frosting tasted amazing…

The Breakfasts


Anyone who knows me well knows breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. That’s probably why I have so many breakfast and coffee photos (it also doesn’t hurt when the breakfast setting is absolutely GORGEOUS – who wouldn’t want to photograph their coffee and French press with a luscious tropical rainforest in the background?).


The Smiling Mochas


I encountered these cheerful beverages in Savusavu, Vanua Levu at the Copra Shed Captain’s Café, where I enjoyed a few meals on the water at the marina (can’t beat the views!!).

Mochas are my typical go-to coffee drink (for some reason they always seem to taste better while traveling), but the grinning foam at Captain’s Café was just a lovely whimsical bonus!


Even if it didn’t have a smile, I noticed mochas and hot coffee drinks in Fiji frequently come with a complimentary cookie of some sort… Below is the rich chocolatey mocha I savored at Blue Ginger Café in Lautoka, Viti Levu, complete with miniature heart cookie:


Fiji’s Take on a ‘Hawaiian’ Pizza


It did have ham and pineapple, but please note the dollops of ketchup (more commonly referred to as simply ‘tomato sauce’ down here) in the center of each pineapple ring, along with the neat tomato-lined crust… I’ll give that presentation an 8 out of 10.

My Bus Lunch En Route to Suva


There’s really nothing special about this meal. It’s just a cheese-and-Tabasco sandwich I whipped together before stumbling out of the house that morning before catching the 6:40 am express bus from Lautoka to Suva. But, it’s a good example of a lot of food I had during my stay in Fiji (especially the food I had to prepare myself – I am NOT a chef in the slightest).

And honestly, I was just shocked Sigatoka, Viti Levu had a geo-filter on Snapchat (where the bus was currently stopped when I decided to have my lunch)… Had to take a photo of something!

Exploring Labasa

After spending an afternoon exploring downtown Labasa on Fiji’s Vanua Levu island earlier this week, I can determine one thing for certain: Labasa is not accustomed to visitors.


It took me approximately 15 minutes to stroll the entirety of Labasa’s main street down and back, encountering more kava shops than sit-down eateries along the way.

This includes the time spent picking up some Powerade and tropical-strength bug spray at one of the local chemists, as well as getting the sandal I broke in Taveuni repaired at a tiny roadside kiosk (the guy sewed it back together in about three minutes and only charged FJD $1.50 – impressive, considering that’s a fraction of what I paid for those Jack Rogers!!).


Labasa's official Coconut Industry Development Authority office

Labasa’s official Coconut Industry Development Authority office!

Fairly positive I was one of three caucasians in all of Labasa that day, apart from two very confused-looking backpackers I spotted waiting in line at the ATM.

I’d been warned beforehand I might ‘stick out’ among the crowd in Labasa, so I expected strange looks. I was even prepared to tell each and every strange man who approached me yes, I am in fact married (*wink*), to none other than a very sturdy Scandinavian rugby player who is waiting patiently back at the house, war club in hand, ready to beat the living daylight out of any intruders or otherwise sketchy individuals possessing the slightest intent to harass me…

Luckily, everyone seemed to mind their own business for the most part, with the exception of some enthusiastic kids waving and cheering from school buses passing by.

That, and one odd encounter with a man who took the liberty to stop his truck right next to where I was walking along the side of the road, where he proceeded to ask if he could take a picture with me.

My response? “No, I don’t do that.

Had it been a situation where we’d had a nice conversation and then he wanted a photo taken, sure, okay. Or, let’s say if I were somehow famous enough for him to have read my work and want a picture with me simply out of starstruck awe, then that’s cool, I guess. Or even if he’d just snapped a candid picture of me walking by, that’s fine. Whatever. But no, I’m not going to pose for a random photo solely because I look different. I’m not an animal at the zoo. I’m not going to pretend to be anyone’s phony blonde girlfriend.

Although I sensed no hard feelings as I traipsed forward, I couldn’t help but feel weird about the whole situation. Did I really appear that out of place?


The biggest challenge in Labasa was finding a place to just sit and relax with a drink for a few minutes – I really wasn’t in the mood for a billiards club in the middle of a Monday afternoon, nor a dimly-lit Chinese buffet with darkened windows covered in rusted padlocks. Finally, I saw a sign for an establishment called the ‘Anchor Bar,’ optimistically pointing down an alleyway off the main road behind the Royale Wine Shop.

Its nize… en a gud plaze 2 relax” touts Anchor Bar’s top review on Facebook, which was all I needed to know before giddily prancing into the back alley, not realizing that review was actually from 2014.

I circled the building and surveyed the dusty alleyway four or five times (with many strange looks) until I concluded, much to my chagrin, Anchor Bar was completely boarded up and not at all in operation.

By this point I was starving, so I opted for the next most appealing-looking restaurant, the Banana Leaf Café, located up a desolate tiled stairway on the second floor of one of Labasa’s main street buildings. Apparently everything in Labasa closes at 4:00 pm sharp, so I only had about 40 minutes to enjoy my piece of fried chicken with chips and Fiji Bitter stubby before the owners kicked me out.


Afterwards, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself… All the shops were now closed; I’d already perused the major MH grocery store twice, visited all the town pharmacies, and browsed the big Labasa market adjacent to the bus station (origin of the Indian sweets I’m pretty sure gave me food poisoning later that night…).


I decided to wander behind the marketplace over to the scenic Labasa River, where I noticed several large, colorful hibiscus plants blooming down by the banks. The flowers’ bright reflection in the smooth water was absolutely fixating.

It suddenly didn’t matter the rest of my day in Labasa had been so bizarre and imperfect; this little bit of serenity was all I needed.


Perusing the Lautoka Market

While I really don’t consider myself a ‘foodie,’ I do thoroughly enjoy exploring international grocery stores and local markets while traveling. I always discover something I’ve never seen before!

Today’s jaunt to the massive produce market in downtown Lautoka did not disappoint – from exotic flowers, spices and freshly caught seafood to itty bitty, deceptively potent peppers practically guaranteed to erode the lining of one’s esophagus if consumed improperly, the Lautoka Market is a colorful experience for all senses.

LautokaFijiMarket LautokaMarketFlowers LautokaMarketPineapples

Fortunately, no one seemed to mind all my picture-taking. One woman laughed hysterically when I told her I thought her peppers were beautiful… They were!

LautokaFijiPeppers LautokaPepperWomanLautokaPeppers

I’m far from a seafood expert, considering I come from an extremely landlocked place. But, I do know fresh clams are absolutely scrumptious boiled in coconut milk… We’ll see if I get brave enough to try preparing some for myself while here!


PLENTY more pictures and stories to come!!

Get excited.



8 Strange & Entertaining Things I Encountered in Fiji

This past summer, I went on an exhilarating solo trip to Fiji. It was my first time traveling down to that part of the world, and even though I was only there a week, those days were filled with enough crazy, awesome experiences to make the long 11-hour flight between LA and Nadi all worthwhile.

Here are the 8 of my favorite bizarre things I encountered during my trip to Fiji, starting from right when I got off the flight…

1. The Fascinating Fijian Money

I wish all $50 bills looked like this one!

I wish all $50 bills looked like this one!

Pretty much all ground transportation I took in Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island, was paid for in cash, so one of the first things I had to do upon arrival was hit the ATM. I found the design of their currency beyond charming, and this is only one example!


Fiji’s Nadi International Airport, just after sunrise the morning of my arrival


The bus stop at Nadi International Airport, where you can catch transport all over Viti Levu

2. The Amusingly Wild Interior of this Fijian Bus

Fiji_Bus Fiji_Bus2

How whimsical is the inside of the bus I took from the airport up Viti Levu to my hostel on Fiji’s gorgeous Coral Coast!?

Some incredible scenery from the drive:
Fiji_BusView1 Fiji_BusView3 Fiji_BusView4Fiji_BusView5

3. Odd Fijian Snacks

Because my flight to Nadi landed so early in the morning, I got kinda hungry on the 100-kilometer bus trek to my final destination. The ride departed a little after 6 am and I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet! So, during one of the longer stops along the journey, I ventured out off the bus to find some food.

Much to my dismay, Lucky Kiosk was not in operation

Much to my dismay, Lucky Kiosk was not in operation

Because it was Sunday, almost all businesses were closed, as is the norm across Fiji. Luckily, there was one lone convenience store open right across the street from the bus stop. This is what I found:

Chicken poulet "Twisties" and burger UFOs, or "Unusually Flavoured Objects"...

Chicken poulet “Twisties” and burger UFOs, or “Unusually Flavoured Objects”…

4. Fiji’s Hilarious Marketing Techniques

Below are some shots taken around Viti Levu’s vivacious Port Denarau area:


I couldn’t help but find these just delightful…

5. The Mutton Aisle

The day before my departure, I took some time perusing a very large supermarket in the outskirts of Nadi. Overall it was pretty typical and had most basic features you’d expect in an average grocery store, with the exception of a moderately-sized clothing section, genuine shoe department, and a very impressive, not to mention intimidating selection of visibly potent local chili peppers.

I meandered along past another wall of miscellaneous trinkets until just around the corner, something caught my eye:


Perfectly aware canned meats are a common food item in the South Pacific, it came as no surprise to see a wide assortment of canned beef stews, corned beef and other shudder-inducing meat products, but I did not anticipate so much mutton!Fiji_MuttonAisle2Fiji_MuttonAisle3

I love tasting new foods and experiencing new things, but given my grievous stomach issues at the time, trying mutton was unfortunately way out of the question. More on that whole situation later.

6. Bush Fire!

One afternoon while hanging out at the beach, my eyes started burning and watering uncontrollably from a sudden haze of dense smoky air. I noticed embers flying through the air, and sincerely hoped none would land in my hair. Several others took notice as well and were just as confused as I, until someone pointed out a very active bush fire occurring on a hill not too far away.

Shouldn’t someone do something about that…?

Well how about that... There's a legit full-blown bush fire going on over there!

Well how about that… There’s a legit full-blown bush fire going on over there!

We were told the fire wasn’t a big deal; evidently bush fires like the one currently blazing the hell out of that hillside happen all the time, and this one wasn’t even serious.

Just as the locals said, the fire eventually went away on its own, leaving nothing more than a fading gray streak in the air and a patch of missing greenery.

7. An Octopus Get Stabbed

It’s no secret the octopus is my favorite silly sea creature, so needless to say I was less than pleased when I watched one of these highly intelligent creatures get HARPOONED!

Fiji_Octopus1 Fiji_Octopus2Fiji_Octopus4

Even though I was sad for a moment, I knew the poor octopus’ time had to come… Octopi are regularly captured for food in parts of Fiji – in some villages, whatever you catch that day determines dinner!

8. Dead Humpback Whale

One day while out on a snorkeling trip, our guide alerted us that a dead humpback whale had been spotted washed up on a sandbar not too far away. Yes, absolutely, we were going to check it out.


Approaching the deceased humpback whale


Getting up close and personal with the poor dead whale

It was eerie to say the least.

After a few minutes of observing this magnificent deceased sea-dwelling mammal, one bold passenger requested if he might be able to stand upon the whale.

With total concession from all aboard the boy, a French college student living abroad in New Zealand and in Fiji on school break, leaped readily from the boat onto the whale with a solid, albeit jiggly landing.

Fiji_DeadWhale9 Fiji_DeadWhale10

He did say it was an exhilarating experience.

Before long, I too took my turn standing on the dead whale. Not to worry – they said the whale died of natural causes, and we did our best to pay our best respects to the whale… But more on all that later. ☺