Iconic Vanuatu’s Cuisine

Vanuatu’s most iconic dish is the starchy ‘lap-lap’. It is made by grating cassava, yam, sweet potato or plantain and then wrapping it up with coconut milk in banana leaves for roasting below some hot stones. The flavor of this lap-lap is enhanced by the inclusion of beef, pork or chicken. Adventurous eaters can experiment with local specialties like snails, ground pigeon, and flying fox.

A typical meal ends with some fresh juicy and sweet tropical fruit, of which there is an abundance in the lush, fertile lands of Vanuatu. The national drink Kava is usually consumed before dinner and has a mild narcotic effect, though it is non-alcoholic.

You can never go wrong with ordering seafood in Vanuatu. An abundance of fish makes it a regular feature in homes around the region and most restaurants will serve up seafood cooked well. Order the crab cooked up with a choice of a simple but flavorsome garlic or chili flavor, or opt for a soupier coconut or curry sauce. The tangy Tahitian style Poisson cru or raw fish salad is another favorite.

Good international cuisine can be found in Port Vila and nearby, with French, Japanese and Italian eateries getting top billing. Eating steak at a market stall in Luganville is unmissable.