1st March 2017
Fiji’s resort food is undergoing an overhaul. No longer are choices limited to a buffet of soggy vegetables and fried food restocked every 15 minutes. Thanks to Australian-born chef Lance Seeto, Fiji’s resort food has a new reputation for making local produce the hero and for offering more upmarket options, even for simple casual dining. Fine dining at resorts is also making a comeback, offering an improved quality not just in ingredients but also the experience.
Beginning is Fijian culinary journey at Castaway Island, chef Seeto is now working at Mana Island Resort and is leading the charge in upping the ante when it comes to resort dining in Fiji. Instrumental in transforming the way Fijians think about resort food, he aims to make the most of organic local produce rather than importing food. Up until he arrived, most resorts imported a lot of their ingredients, which was a costly process that was reflected on the menu and saw tourists forgoing resort dining and hitting the streets in a quest to find more affordable options.
One of the first things Seeto did when you arrived at Mana was to rejig the menu to feature more local Fijian produce. "It seemed crazy to me, to import fruit and vegetables, when Fiji has all this amazing produce which is naturally organic as they don't use industrialised farming methods," he said.
While the focus is on lifting the quality of food on offer, there are still a variety of dining options to suit all visitors and budgets. There are modern interpretations of Fijian food cooked over a traditional lovo (underground oven) as well as casual snacks by the pool and even a genuine teppanyaki restaurant – practically unheard of in Fiji. The new wave of variety and quality is a welcome departure from typical resort fare, particularly when one of your biggest decisions whilst on holidays is what delicious thing to eat next.