In Fijian, the word tukuni means “fairytale,” a story that has been passed down through time. At Tukuni, a restaurant located in the foothills of Tuvu Lautoka, Fiji, food tells the island’s story.
On any given day, customers will find locally sourced and traditional Fijian meals like tavu fish, fish cooked on charcoal and wrapped in banana leaves, and kokoda, the country’s ceviche-like national dish made with fish caught that day, coconut milk, red and yellow bell peppers, and lemon. Most of the restaurant’s meals are cooked in a lovo, an underground oven. Windows line all four walls of the restaurant and overlook the ocean, the mountains, and the countryside.
The restaurant, developed through the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development (FRIEND), an NGO, works with five villages in the area. The initiative ensures organic farmers have a market for their produce and supports fishermen that were severely affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston, the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in the Southern Hemisphere on record. Together, local fishermen, farmers, and cooks created Tukini’s menu.
The restaurant’s logo is inspired by taro leaves. Taro, a root vegetable commonly used in Fijian cuisine, signifies Tukuni’s theme—nutritious, traditional, and locally grown.
Know Before You Go
Tukuni’s menu changes frequently. You can call ahead of time to see what’s being prepared in the kitchen that day, or check for specials on their Facebook page.