斐濟美食報導Delicacy Stories


張貼者:2013年1月21日 晚上9:20未知的使用者   [ 已更新 2013年1月21日 晚上9:20 ]


Mouthwatering seafood

Anare Ravula
Sunday, January 20, 2013

THERE'S no better way to experience island seafood and its beautiful scenery on Totoya island than to join the sea divers and a night out under the tall coconut palms on an empty beach at Daku.

It was during a visit to Totoya island while waiting for the inter-island vessel to be ferried back to Suva, the Gone Turaga na Roko Sau, Roko Josefa Cinavilakeba, the district's head chief, who is the community and government relations co-ordinator for the NGO Pacific Blue Foundation, invited us out to the sea and have a taste of seafood.

We were accompanied by Cinavilakeba himself with his guests Joanacani Dabea, Akariva Ragogo and I including three of the villagers and headed towards the island's sacred passage, "Daveta Tabu".

We were safely driven out to the sea on an aluminium boat captained by boat owner and turaga ni koro (village headman), Mosese Bulu.

Well, in my mind I couldn't erase from my imagination the taste of a vasua (big clam) or a ika tavu (fish cooked over charcoal fire).

We all, those seated in the boat, looked forward to the catch of those who were spear diving.

Alas! It was within an hour as Cinavilakeba said we should take the boat closer to the divers to pick them up as it was a little after midday and also the scorching sun frfom above was taking its toll on us

We starred in wonder with the catch of the three divers.

The catch caused a jab in the stomach aching for a bite given the amount of fresh fish and not forgetting the number of vasua.

"Let's head for Daku," Cinavilakeba said.

Daku is an empty spot with a white sandy beach and tall coconut trees.

All along I though the catch was for the meal at the village, but instead the Roko Sau had other ideas for his guests.

As we advanced onto dry land I then saw a makeshift shed to which Cinavilakeba said this was the spot he usually came to unwind whenever he visited his home island.

"This is the place I usually come to and relax when I'm at home.

It's quiet and away from the busy city life," he said.

The fire was lit, as Bulu began preparing the food, what they are well known for, the Totoya treat of fresh fish and kokoda vasua.

He had brought along the tavioka, lemon and not forgetting the red chillies.

As he placed the fish on a piece of corrugated roofing iron that had been laid across the burning fire, one could hear the hissing sound as it was dried fried or tavu.

I had to keep on talking and joking with the others in order to hide my hunger especially with the tempting delicious smell of the fish which had started an endless rumble in my empty stomach.

With a container on hand filled with seawater, freshly squeezed lemon was added. To give it some bite, the hot chillies were chopped up and dropped in.

Then the ika tavu was place inside the container.

"If ever you've heard or you haven't, this is called the wai tanutanu dish," Bulu said.

Ahhh, its aroma made the mouth water.

Banana leaves were cut and laid on the ground to be our table cloth.

It was pure island style treat!

I for one just couldn't hold back my hunger any longer as I asked Bulu if I could start straight away with the wai tanutanu and also the kokoda vasua.

"Sure my tau, what's the problem?

"Go ahead," he said.

Well, with the nice sea breeze fanning us from the sea, it certainly provided me some cool air that I needed especially with the tavu fish flesh being dipped into the ever-tasty wai tanutanu.

It was ika tavu and vasua all going at the same time into the concoction of wai tanutanu.

That I can confirm is the best dish I have ever had especially with an empty stomach — the Totoya wai tanutanu dish!

After two days I visited the same spot again but for a two day night out at Daku.

It was with same group again with Cinavilakeba, Dr Cara Miller, Ragogo, Dabea, Bulu, Elenoa their daughter Uni and grandchildren and I.

With our numbers I was wondering where could we all lay our heads for the night. The makeshift shed wouldn't accommodate us all, but on the other hand little did I know that a sizeable canvas (tarpaulin) was being prepared for us.

With that we managed to build a makeshift tent enough to accommodate the Roko Sau, Dabea, Ragogo and I.

It was an experience for me as it was a first time to be camping out on beach far away from the village and especially from home.

I was a bit hesitant at first with its environment especially about freshwater and other conveniences one is used to when in the city

But little did I known that everything were already prepared, otherwise it's every man for himself in order to survive especially on an island far away from any development.

The first night we were under the bright full moon and twinkling stars high above. With the camera in hand, Cinavilakeba, Dr Cara and I all tried to take


張貼者:2013年1月15日 晚上7:01未知的使用者   [ 已更新 2013年1月15日 晚上7:01 ]

餐廳Vale ni kana(restaurant)

張貼者:2013年1月15日 下午6:38未知的使用者   [ 已更新 2013年1月15日 下午6:39 ]

餐廳Vale ni kana(restaurant)

Tara Morgan (Sunday, April 10, 2011)

Within a split second of stepping out of the taxi my nose tells me I'm not at any Suva restaurant; rather, I've just arrived at mealtime at a Fijian village by the sea. Yet my nose confuses my sense of reason as I know I am on the fringe of the city in the sleepy, quiet area of Toorak high on a hill. Next I see the sign: Takayawa's Vale Ni Kana, fully convinced that I was where I had intended to be.

I was taken to this restaurant several years ago and wanted to return to find out if it was still as popular a venue for lunch as it was then. Although when I turned up this time, it was a little too early in the day for lunch. I would have not thought to find any diners. I was certainly wrong about that one. Several tables were occupied where eating was well under way. I developed an instant appetite for Fijian delicacies and wanted to sit down at anyone of these tables and share in the pleasure of the dishes.

I knew I couldn't do that. I was on a mission. I wanted to find out the full story of this interesting establishment and I was not going to achieve anything by succumbing to my hunger pangs.

I headed to the kitchen; there was no mistaking where that was. I noticed a man who had made several trips there already with dalo and leafy vegetables. I thought he'd just paid a visit to the Suva market but no, as I found out later. All the produce had come straight from the farm in Tailevu. Now that's what I call eating fresh.

As I popped my head in, I caught two women by surprise as they had been so focused on their duties. One was preparing the vegetables; the other stirring one large steaming pot with something boiling in it and checking on another at the same time. They were working in a full spirited way. As I stood at the door I could feel the passion for cooking emanating from it. This room was where all those delicious food were prepared. And these women were using everything they learnt from their mothers. They prepare and cook tradition Fijian dishes that have endured both time and place.

The restaurant had been a dream of the late Mr Tevita Takayawa who was nothing less than a legend in the country. He rose to fame as much for his talents and dedication to the sport of judo as for his security company. It had humble beginnings from a premises just down the road from the restaurant in High Street and from the same location judo is taught today. Takayawa Senior built an empire which manifested in a multi-level office building in the shadow of which is situated the Takayawa restaurant. Today the restaurant is run by Mr Takayawa's wife, Alisi and one of their famous judo son's, Nemani. He describes himself as the quiet but not so serious brother; comparing himself with Nacanieli. When asked did he, as a boy, learn any good tips on cooking from his mother, he promptly responded with '"She learnt everything from me!"

There was no question about which dish he loved his mother to cook most of all; they immediately looked at each other, than to me, and at the same time replied with boiled fish. It is this dish that wins the hearts of all those who dine there. I commented that surely it is referred to by a more attractive name but no, simply by what it is: 'boiled fish'.

Alisi and Nemani don't feel any need to dress up their dishes as what is offered has an established reputation for taste and authenticity. They maintain nothing more than this is required to attract customers who not just come from town but far beyond to enjoy a meal at the restaurant.

Time for kana, I decided. The range of dishes was extensive. Here's what was offered that day: there was exotic seafood: mana (crab), kaikoso (clams), kai (fresh water mussel) and vasua (spikey sea urchin). What was referred to simply as 'sui' was another popular and flavoursome dish made from slow boiling of beef bones. There was a plate of popular fish head; and the boiled fish that day was kawakawa.

To add to the variety, curry chicken was also offered and the only non-authentic dish on the menu. To accompany these 'mains' were side dishes of nama and miti and of course the essential 'can't live without' dalo and cassava. Nemani prefers the yellow 'champion' variety of dalo as he considers it the most tasty of all.

It was lovely to hear mother and son talk with such passion about the joy they gain from preparing and serving Fijian cuisine. Their closeness and their love somehow made its way into the food I saw being relished that day.

Takayawa's Vale Ni Kana is located at the corner of High and Augustus Streets, Toorak and is open for lunch Monday to Saturday and on the occasional Sunday when a lovo is prepared.

*Tara Morgan is a freelance writer who is passionate about Fijian delicacies

1-3 of 3