So, you’re planning an incredible sailing adventure in Fiji – you know the route you’ll take and have a list of places you can’t wait to explore. But now it’s time to think about provisioning your yacht for the voyage.
Provisioning a yacht can seem like a complicated job – one to be avoided for as long as possible. But let’s not procrastinate any longer.
Today we’ll demystify the process. Learn what to bring along, what to buy locally and where to find the freshest food in Fiji. Learn the insider tips locals use to eat beautiful meals. And finally, we’ll introduce you to some must-try local Fijian ingredients. You may not have heard of them before but they’re pretty amazing. Taste the real Fiji!
What to bring with you
Generally, you can bring most commercially prepared and packaged pantry staples made in Australia and New Zealand to Fiji (find a comprehensive list of items allowed to be imported to Fiji). While you’ll be able to find most regular pantry items on the shelves here, prices and quality may vary from what you can source back home. If you have a speciality item or favourite snack, and storage facilities allow for it, go ahead and bring it with you.
You can also bring some of your own meat, the importation of pork of any type is not allowed. Many travellers choose to do so because historically quality has been an issue in Fiji, although this is changing. There are now top-shelf options available locally. So the same applies here. If you have a speciality item made in Australia or New Zealand and have the freezer space then go ahead and bring it with you. Our top tip is to bring lamb and chicken with you and buy pork and steak products locally.
So, here’s what you definitely can’t bring – pork products, rice, honey and fresh fruits or vegetables. It’s always best to check for the most up-to-date regulations, though. The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji lists current restrictions on its website. For the most up-to-date list of approved items for importation, check here for plant products, and here for which animal products you can bring into Fiji.
All items must be professionally packaged, so please don’t get disappointed by bringing homemade products like your mum’s favourite jam, because they will be confiscated upon arrival. And do remember to declare all good items on arrival into Fiji.
Here’s how to make the most of your pre-trip provisioning:
- Be organised. Prepare a list of things you need to shop for before leaving. Remember, superyachts will have much more space for storage and refrigeration than smaller crusing boats. Plan for your available facilities and space.
- Reach out to yacht provisioning companies before your departure, we recommend Yacht Help. This will give you an idea of the types of services they provide and goods they stock.
- Bring your own wine and alcohol if you want to guarantee supply of your preferred tipple. Duties on all alcohol was reduced in 2020 so purchasing alcohol domestically is far more reasonable now.
- If you have something extra special that you can’t live without, as long as it fits within the biosecurity rules then bring it with you – think Marmite, Vegemite or a particular chocolate brand. Some of these items aren’t available in Fiji and if they are, they’re usually quite expensive.
- And if you forget something but have family joining you later, ask if they can bring it along!
What to buy in Fiji
You can get most supplies in Fiji, although the brands may be unfamiliar. In some cases, the quality may be different, too.
You’ll have to buy your perishables locally. There are some fantastic suppliers, so here’s where to go:
- New World stores are located in a variety of locations throughout Fiji. The New World store in Savusavu, although not the largest of the New World stores, is extremely well-stocked, with better variety than some of their larger stores.
- Sea Lovers Wines & Spirits deli carries a more sophisticated though limited range, and a good choice of imported wines and beers located on the main street across the street from the Copra Shed in Savusavu +679 885 3888
- Fresh Choice in Port Denarau. This new supermarket is well-stocked and has a good selection of perishables, including meat supplied by the South Pacific Butcher Company, which is super convenient.
- Yees in Port Denarau is the closest to the Port Denarau Marina and has the most reasonably priced diary products.
- Extra in Lautoka has a wide variety of grocery lines, is very competitively priced compared with other more touristy locations and you’ll often find items here you won’t find anywhere else.
- There are a number of small independent bakeries throughout Fiji in addition to the Hot Bread Kitchen which is Fiji’s popular bakery chain.
- Lees Bread & Cake House opposite the Savusavu fruit and vegetable market on Lesiaceva Road has a very good reputation for their wholemeal bread and other pastries.
- For something a special to celebrate a birthday or anniversary Sweet Treats along the Hibiscus Highway just less than a kilometre on the main road out of Savusavu town can create something tailored for the occasion.
Fruit & Vegetables
- The Savusavu market is delightful and has fantastic fresh produce and very close to the dock.
- The Ba Markets give Lautoka a run for their money in terms of size, Ba is known for awesome produce.
- The Lautoka markets are one of the largest with the lots variety in the western region and are quite close to the Lautoka dock.
- The Namaka markets. Well worth a visit for the variety of delicious fresh produce, though are further from any marina
- The Nadi Town market. It can get very busy but has good fresh produce.
- Farm Boy Nadi – 100% locally owned company,
- Jetset Express offers a wide range of both local and imported fruit and vegetables. Email: email@example.com Ph +679 672 4500 / +679 995 9211
- South Pacific Butchering Co, Lot 7 Denarau Rd Narema, Nadi Ph: 670 3900, email your order to firstname.lastname@example.org and the team will have it ready for pickup.
- Golden Prime Butcher, 53 Gounder Rd, Martintar, Nadi ph: 6727216 / 8009335 – just up from Diakoko, email your order to email@example.com and they’ll have it ready for collection.
- The Vuda Pork Shop, Vuda Back Road Junction, Queens Road, Lautoka – on the road between Nadi and Vuda, you’ll see the big sign “The Pork Shop”
- The Gourmet Cheese Fiji is a little known secret but you’ll need to be organised for this one. Orders are placed directly with the company and delivers are made on certain days for particular locations.
Here’s how to make the most of your local shopping trips:
- For all of the suppliers listed above with a listed email, if you email them they’ll reply with their current pricelist, from there you can place an order.
- Fresh produce in Fiji is VERY seasonal. You’re unlikely to find fruit and vegetables out of season. If you do, the prices will be much higher than usual. For instance, tomatoes grow all year in Fiji, but August is by far the cheapest month. And we all look forward to mango season (November – January)!
- Market prices change frequently. This is based on supply and demand, not to take advantage of people.
- Get the freshest fruit and vegetables on Friday and Saturday morning at the market.
- Local produce has a short lifespan. The heat and humidity take their toll, and produce have never been sprayed to extend its life. Buy ingredients as you need them. You’ll need to eat your tomatoes within three days!
- Wash your produce as soon as you bring it on board. Use a weak vinegar-water mixture to kill any bugs. This will prevent stowaways.
- Put out a line and catch your own fresh fish. If you catch more than you can eat or store, don’t be afraid to take your catch along to the village to trade for fresh produce. Remember to ask for permission to visit and take a gift along – kava, fish or excess supplies are usually appreciated.
Try something new
Let’s be honest. One of the most enriching experiences you can have when you travel is to experience life like the locals. So, take yourself on a Fijian culinary journey. Be brave and try some traditional ingredients.
Ask a friendly local to take you for a walk in the market, introducing you to the local fruits and vegetables. This will also be helpful in terms of learning the cost of items for your next solo trip.
Here is a couple we highly recommend.
Ota – A local delicacy, this wild fern can be used to create the most delicate, impressive dishes with a local flavour. For a quick meal, add it to a salad or stir fry with coconut milk.
Nama – Otherwise known as Fijian sea grapes, this seaweed can be used to flavour pastas, salads or in dishes with coconut milk.
Rourou – Taro leaves make a fantastic, creamy side dish when cooked in coconut milk.
Moca – A Fijian alternative to Baby Spinach, Moca has a more earthy flavour but makes an excellent alternative and a bunch that you’ll barely be able to get through will set you back approx $2 FJD.
Finally, don’t be put off by the unusual appearance of Fijian fresh ingredients. Rather, embrace the opportunity to experiment with the unique flavours of the South Pacific. This will enrich your Fijian experience. Ask the stallholders to give you some cooking tips, they’ll be thrilled you’re trying Fiji produce.
Sailing in Fiji offers you the opportunity to embrace new adventures, cultures and culinary discoveries.
You can bring most of the familiar pantry staples and those special must-have items. Add fresh local produce and sprinkle with a bit of Fijian flavour – best served fresh!