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Local Cuisine in Vanuatu

Every time you go out to eat during your Vanuatu holiday, you’ll be served up a slice of culture and history. The local cuisine in Vanuatu tells part of the country’s story and reflects the many cultural influences of the islands.

The local restaurants serve up an eclectic range of cooking styles that reflect thousands of years of immigration by combining influences from Europe, Asia and Melanesia. The diverse multicultural flavours mean you’ll be spoilt for choice when eating in Vanuatu, even the fussiest of eaters.

At its heart, Vanuatu’s cuisine is simple and wholesome, with plenty of fresh produce and organic meat. The international influences are tempered by the island lifestyle, so you can look forward to lots of coconut cream, rice and tropical fruit.

The array of fresh and colourful fruit is bound to excite the kids during their Vanuatu family holiday, especially when you purchase it straight from the markets – they’ll have no trouble getting their nutrition!


The core ingredients of much of Vanuatu’s cuisine are taro, yam, banana, coconut and seafood. Most people in Vanuatu grow their own food, so you will see gardens overflowing with mangoes, papayas, plantains, and sweet potatoes, with a few chickens or pigs strutting around in between.

Markets are a great place to explore the fresh, local produce in Vanuatu. You can shop for juicy tropical fruits to snack on, or stop by the food stalls to try home-cooked dishes and eat alongside ni-Vanuatu. This is one of the most cost-effective ways to get a proper taste of local Vanuatu cuisine.

Santo beef

You may not have known of this previously, but Vanuatu’s Santo beef is a widely regarded high-quality cut of meat. Raised on Espiritu Santo, the cows in Vanuatu enjoy a diet rich in nutrients and natural vitamins, and the beef that comes from them carries those flavours, garnering it a well-deserved reputation.

You can’t leave Vanuatu without finding out for yourself why the lean and tender meat is starting to gain international recognition! For a fine dining experience, you can sample Santo beef at Mangoes restaurant in Port Vila, or for a less gourmet version you can seek out a steak at an eatery in downtown Port Vila.