Vegetarian in Tonga - advice please!
Posted by al_nz
Are there any vegos out there who have spent time in Tonga/Samoa/Cook islands etc?
I'm going to Tonga for 2 weeks, specifically to Vava'u, which is an isolated group of islands in the north.
Does anyone have some advice for being vegetarian while I am there? I know the south pacific islands diet is based heavily on seafood, and also sometimes chicken and pork. They also have plenty of coconuts, papaya, plaintain, bananas, sweet potatos.
I want to have a healthy diet while I am there (and not just eat potatoes!), so any advice on recipes, or tips on what to take (bearing in mind I have a 20kg luggage limit) would be much appreciated.
My dad has been to Samoa a bunch of times for work, and he says people buy buckets full of corned beef there! I do know that breadfruit is a staple of the pacific islands, including Tonga, and that can be very tasty if prepared well. You might want to take a bag of nuts with you in case you get stuck, and maybe some dry instant vegan meals that you can prepare and mix with rice and whatever veggies are available. Are you going to be staying at a hotel or with the locals? A hotel restaurant should be able to work with you.
Tonga ranks #4 in obesity around the world (even higher than the US at #9)! In fact, Pacific Island nations comprise of the entire top 7. This is partly due to the fact that so much meat is eaten there (and often heavily processed meat--the worst kind). At least they do have year-round fresh fruits and vegetables. While I haven't been to Tonga, I have been to Fiji and had a vegetarian meal there that was actually cooked the way that the indigenous people would eat it (things like plantains, cooked taro greens, yams, etc.).
Fiji has a large Indian population, which makes vegetarian food more readily available at least in the city. I don't think Tonga does though, especially in the outer islands.
Hi al nz, good luck. I think you might be able to find at least a few restaurants that cater to tourists or even local ones that will make a veggie dish for you with what they have in their kitchen. From my travel experience to islands like Rota and Yap (Micronesia), island people are generally very friendly and will try to help.
Jeffrey--yep, that's true! There are quite a lot of Indians and a decent number of Indian restaurants in Fiji--though not necessarily vegetarian since Indians in Fiji are more likely to eat meat than Indians in India (similar to Indians in the West Indies). Anyway, that one meal I had with the indigenous people was not Indian, it was true Polynesian (just without the meat).
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