Street Food Eating Experiences Come To Nadi
In almost every tourist destination in the world there is a food culture called “street food”.
This is found close to resorts and provides an alternative eating place where really interesting local food can be enjoyed in a fun surrounding.
I will never forget my first trip to Singapore and a visit to the famous Car Park Restaurants.
The area is definitely a car park during the day but around dusk all the cars have to leave and a large number of food stalls pop up from nowhere.
There’s little tables everywhere and a wide choice of different foods, each stall having its own speciality.
It’s all delicious, cheap, fun and exciting. It is a common sight around Asia, South America and a lot of Europe.
New eating experience
But for Denarau, until now, all the eating was inside the island or at the end of a long (and sometimes expensive) drag into Nadi Town to get to often not very exciting food options.
But now things have changed.
Just on the mainland side of the bridge that crosses the river to Denarau Island, a new eating experience has appeared.
It is interesting and brand new.
On an area of land right beside Denarau Road and almost at the river, there is a collection of four brightly painted shipping containers.
These have been cut about to provide food service locations, with lots of tables and chairs, large colourful umbrella, plants and shade trees.
It has the appearance of a tropical garden setting complete with palm trees and colourful flowering bushes.
What do they offer?
One container has been converted into a bar with a very good choice of wines, beers and spirits and an interesting cocktail menu.
There is sitting room at the bar or at tables spread around under cover in front of the bar.
Another container has been converted into a kitchen where the Chefs work in clear view of customers.
They provide their own form of entertainment and a third container is used for storage and includes a refrigerated area.
There is a fourth container and the owners have not yet decided what they will do with it, but there is a promise for the future.
They are still in the process of building additional covered areas in several locations in the facility but even now there are lots of nooks and crannies where people can sit and have a high degree of privacy.
There are also large open spaces where people can get together and enjoy the music.
A live band plays Friday and Saturday night and on public holidays.
Idea behind Street Foods
This is “Street Foods”, an attempt by the owners of Sitar, the famous Martintar restaurant, to bring some of the famous international concepts to Fiji.
The whole restaurant has a great, open feeling and a trendy appeal with a bright atmosphere being created by the colours of the containers and the other decorations spread around the area.
By day there are sunny spots and a number of well shaded areas and at night there is a fresh feeling with a breeze blowing through the place.
The food offering is varied.
There are a number of pasta dishes, including some old favourites, a good selection of pizza.
These are priced at $20 for a medium size (there is also a small size available), a variety of Indian and Thai dishes with what sound like some interesting options and a choice of European favourites.
There’s also a snack menu, ideal for a quick lunch along with a nice wine choice or a cold beer.
The owners have plans to expand the menu but, as you would expect from a smart operator like Sitar, they have limited the initial choices so that they can always provide a perfect eating experience.
Also the selection is built on the many years of experience at the main restaurant.
It’s a very simple idea, an adaption of most of the other street food places around the world.
There’s adequate parking for the locals and the Westbus Dollar Bus will take diners from anywhere in Denarau and drop them right at the front entrance for just a dollar each.
Getting back to the hotel is just as simple, but remember the service stops at 10pm.
It is early days yet and too soon to know how well this will work, but to me it certainly looks like a good idea and an interesting addition to the tourist experiences available in Nadi.
It is perfectly placed close to the heart of Fiji’s tourism hub.
The management say that the nights are being well patronised and the customers are a mix of local and tourists.
Lunch is still a developing product but has been growing over the last few weeks.
They have a lot of tourists commending the restaurant on Facebook and Trip Advisor and that is generating significant business.
I certainly hope that it is successful as I think it adds a much needed extension of the food offerings and has a much needed local touch.
nJohn Ross is a Nadi-based marketing and advertising specialist with a long background in tourism. For feedback on this article, please email him: firstname.lastname@example.org