Seafood is a valiant commodity to the Fiji Islands. Fijians, like other Pacific islanders, source most of their food from the vast Pacific Ocean that separates them from the rest of the world. If ever you’re having a market-run and craving some fresh seafood, here are some of the best places to get fresh seafood in the capital and the greater Suva area. We’ll note the best time to get seafood and what type of seafood are available at the market for this month according to the Fiji lunar calendar.
Where to get seafood and the best time to get it?
The Suva area is home to a diversity of Fijians from all over Fiji, most of whom are from the outer islands settled in Suva for work. Seafood is available all throughout the week in Suva’s local municipal market. But to get an array of choices, it is best to come around on Saturdays when most vendors from other coastal parts of Viti Levu and nearby islands come to Suva to sell their catch of the week. Seafood at the Suva market can be found at the back of the market, opposite the Kings wharf’s entrance, and another, located beside the Nubukalou creek, opposite the Village 6 cinema. Seafood is sold either raw or packed precooked in containers ready to be indulged.
Seafood from Namuaimada village in the western province of Ra.
Located close to the mouth of the Samabula river, the Bailey Bridge Market in Nabua is about a minute on your right from Kings road and 11 minutes from Suva municipal market. The freshest of fish are sold here every Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
Another viable option is the Laqere Market located about 5 kilometres from Bailey Bridge, along Ratu Dovi road. When it first operated, the market exclusively sold fish from fishermen that travelled from nearby villages through the Laqere river. The market initially sat beside the kings road, adjacent to the river and had developed to include small-scale farmers selling vegetables. If you know your way well enough around the greater Suva area, then the market is the first big single-story building you see on your left as you enter Ratu Dovi road from Laqere (Kings Rd).
Your final option, if you’re further away from Suva, is the Nausori market. The market, like the town, services three of Fiji’s Viti Levu provinces, so the best and freshest seafood from the coastal provinces of Rewa and Tailevu combined with green veggies from the highlands of Naitasiri offer some of the most delicious food combinations. Like the Suva market, seafood is in abundance on Saturdays at the Nausori market. The market is directly opposite the Nausori bus stand and the market’s seafood section, located to the left of the market.
Saturday scene at the Nausori Fish Market
What to expect at the market?
As for what to expect at the market, we’re sticking with the Fijian lunar calendar (Vula Vaka-viti) for this one. Because we’re transitioning from another season to another- Vula i Kelikeli to Vula i Gasau, here’s a list of what’s actually sold at the market for this season.
- Ivi (Tahitian chestnuts)
- Freshwater mussels (in abundance when temperatures are neither hot nor too cold.
- Sea crabs (Qari), Small Crabs (Kuka) and Mud Lobsters (Mana) are in abundance.
- Smaller sized fish are still available.
- Uvi (yams-Dioscorea alata) are still sold.
- Duruka (Fijian Asparagus) begin to season.
Octopus (pre-cooked) sold at the Suva market
Why are the markets in Fiji the busiest on Saturdays?
This all has to do with traditions that have in turn, become a custom for locals. The market is busiest on Saturdays because not only does it have an abundance of seafood but a large number of Fijians (indigenous) are still practising Christians. Traditionally, a feast is an expected event after worship and Sundays are considered a day of Sabbath. After worship in church Fijians flock home for a scrumptious meal. This is why the market is busy on Saturdays with people buying and preparing for Sunday lunch.
For those immune to large crowds and busy walkways, yes! I’m talking to you, the outgoing extrovert. The crowd at the market, which is crowded and lively, most likely won’t bother you. It is full with people just trying to get the best deals from vendors. If you’re up for it- visit your local market on Saturdays for some fresh Sasalu ni Waitui (delicacies of the sea).
you need in Fiji.