If you're planning a relaxing trip to the beautiful island nation of Fiji, you probably pictured yourself indulging in tropical fruit, freshly caught fish and maybe a colourful cocktail. But did you know that you'll also probably come across Fiji's excellent Indian food? Read on to learn more about how Indian food came to Fiji and what exactly you can expect.
The Indo-Fijian people
Evidently, Indian food didn't just suddenly arrive and become a hit in Fiji. Instead it was brought over from Indian people who came to the country in the 19th century as indentured labourers on British colonial sugar plantations. These Indian migrants were often poor peasants and upon their arrival in Fiji, they usually left behind caste systems and, due to the lack of Indian females, intermarried despite differences in religion. Free Indian migrants, most notably Gujaratis and Punjabis, also arrived in Fiji as merchants and tended to keep their ties to India more than the indentured migrants.
The Indo-Fijian people have developed their own subculture within Fiji and in 2007 represented 313,798 out of the total population of 837,271. Fijian Hindi is a separate dialect from Indian Hindi and was given national language status, along with English and Fijian, in the 1997 Fijian constitution.
When you arrive in Fiji, you'll likely see Indian food everywhere you look. Indian restaurants are aplenty in Nadi and even if you're at a luxurious resort, they're likely to have Indian fusion dishes on the menu. So what sorts of creative Indo-Fijian dishes can you look forward to trying?
Indo-Fijian food bears a strong resemblance to classic Indian food with staples such as unleavened bread such as roti, chapati and naan, as well as rice and curry. You'll notice that traditional Fijian food and Indo-Fijian food have borrowed from each other over the years, with Fijian food incorporating Indian spices and chilli peppers, and Indian food using ingredients such as cassava and goat meat.
If you only try one Indian dish during your trip to Fiji, make it a fish curry. You can't do better than a curry made from fish that was caught that day, cooked in a beautifully spiced sauce - especially when you get to enjoy it while looking out on a stunning Fijian sunset with a cold drink in hand.
Ready to experience Fiji's unique culture and beautiful beaches? Hoot Holidays offers plenty of options for your perfect Fijian getaway.