Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting the Nasautoka Village’s Eco-Tourism Project, where the village youth welcomed various travelers from around the world by introducing them to their Fijian culture. The experience allowed visitors to partake in a traditional welcome ceremony, ride on a bilibili (raft) down the river which is their main food source, participate in meal preparation, and even stay overnight in a bure or traditional Fijian house if they so choose. I was very pleased to have been able to witness this village’s vision come to life after working so hard towards achieving their goal; and even after being in a Fijian community for a year and a half, I still found it to be a fascinating cultural, learning experience. In fact, I had the opportunity to see how villages in the interior of Fiji used to cook, due to the lack of access to materials.
Bamboo steaming – This is considered an ancient, Fijian style of cooking in which food is placed in a young bamboo shoot and cooked in its’ natural juices. While meals are hardly prepared this way now, this kind of cooking was often done in the interior regions with little access to materials, as it needed no oil, utensils, or dishes.
Nowadays, it is much more common for feasts to be prepared “lovo style”– This is a traditional style of cooking in which food is placed on top of heated rocks inside an “earth oven”, covered by coconut leaves. Lovos are often put together by men for celebrations of various types in Fijian, and other South Pacific countries.