FOR SUZANNE

mailife - - Art -

By JOHN MITCHELL Pho­tos by MELA KATONIVUALIKU

SUZANNE Howard of North-East Eng­land could not be­lieve her for­tune when she re­cently sat down to the sort of feast that ex­isted years be­fore west­ern­i­sa­tion im­pinged on Fiji’s shores. As a first time visi­tor to Fiji, she bravely took her first bite of fresh­wa­ter fish that had been sealed in a length of bam­boo, an an­cient cook­ing style used in Fiji for mil­len­nia. “This is un­be­liev­able. It tastes so lovely,” Howard said. “I’ve drunk fresh co­conuts, soaked up a bit of sun and watched fire danc­ing but this is dif­fer­ent. This is such a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence.” Nasautoka vil­lager, Josefa Roko­rai­voka, said cook­ing in bam­boo stems, drolea, im­proved the flavour and cap­tured the nat­u­ral taste of food. “Raw fish, prawns, taro leaves and root crops are stuffed into young bam­boo stems with a lit­tle bit of wa­ter and broiled in the open fire. Leaves are used to seal the bam­boo to keep the mois­ture within,” he said. “This method of cook­ing was prac­ticed by our an­ces­tors. Demon­strat­ing it helps us re­vive our age old tra­di­tions and en­cour­ages our young peo­ple too.” Suzanne Howard is a learn­ing sup­port as­sis­tant in an English main­stream school where some stu­dents have autism or ADHD (At­ten­tion Deficit Hy­per­ac­tive Dis­or­der). She helps them with math­e­mat­ics and other sub­jects. She had never been on a raft like a bili­bili be­fore… “you have to be really bal­anced and it’s lovely feel­ing the wa­ter be­neath.” “It’s been won­der­ful be­ing in­vited into the vil­lage and get ac­cepted through a kava drink­ing cer­e­mony.” The Si­ga­cadra En­ter­tain­ment Group, a part of Nasautoka

Suzanne en­joys a ride on the bili­bili

Broiled food is trans­ferred to split bam­boo stems for serv­ing

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