Fiji - Market Tour and Cooking Class
This was one of those experiences, that will likely be one of the highlights of our trip. I’m not exactly sure how I found these folks, it might have been through TripAdvisor. Flavours of Fiji is the only cooking school in Fiji. It’s has been operating for six years. We were picked up at our hotel by Ajay and Leah for the first part of our day; a trip to the market. It turned out that Deanna and I were the only ones that had signed up for the tour so we had the guides and the cooking instructors to ourselves and got lots of attention.
Unlike yesterday, this market trip was to the main market in Nadi. While the market yesterday was fine, it struck me as a bit sterile. Granted it was in a newly built building but it didn’t really have the feel of what I thought a Fijian market would be like. I couldn’t put my finger on it. The main market didn’t disappoint. It was huge and had more of the feel I was expecting. Our guide mentioned that some of the vendors from the other market come to this market to buy their produce and then resell it at a higher price. This market is where the locals come and many of the hotels and resorts get their produce from these vendors.
We spent the better part of an hour wandering through the stalls, looking at beautiful fruits and vegetables. Some familiar, some we’ve heard about but have never seen and some we’ve never heard about.
In addition to the produce, there is also a fish market that carries freshly caught fish from the area. Many species of fish that we’ve never seen before.
There was also a spice section that smelled amazing.
The prices in the market are very reasonable and the vendors are for the most part, the people that grow and make the products.
From the market, we headed back to the cooking school, which is back on the island of Denarau in a slightly industrial area. The school is on the second floor and is setup for groups up to 26 people. We were treated to some fresh coconut water, served in a coconut shell. I’m generally not a fan of coconut, but this was very sweet and refreshing.
We were then introduced to the process of scraping coconut flesh from the shell. The traditional way uses a sharpened stick that one sits on and scrapes the coconut to remove the edible bits. It works, but needs quite a bit of effort. The modern way involves a wood plank with a metal serrated disk. It works well and doesn’t take a lot of effort. It is time consuming and it’s something that many households do on a daily basis.
We moved into the cooking portion of the class. We’re actually preparing six different dishes. Three traditional Fijian dishes and three Indo-Fijian ones.
- IkaVakalolo (Fish in Coconut Cream)
- RouRou (Dalo leaf like spinach).
TaviokaVakasoso (Cassava in Caramel Sauce)
Murghi & Aalu Curry (Chicken & Potato Curry)
Bhindi Curry - (Okra Curry)
Roti (Indian Flat Bread)
It was a really fun day. We tried some things that we’ve never experienced before, learned a few things and got to make some very tasty meals that we might try back home.