Yellow Pages and your Local Post Office
Supermarkets (Source of Information) – When you are settled, and accustomed to the basic day-to-day routine in Fiji, and you have familiarized yourself with your immediate surroundings, make a quick trip to your local Post Office, and ask for the Yellow Pages, they normally have a whole stack of them behind the counter, you will be asked by one of the assistants to fill out your name and details on a small postcard-sized form, this will only take a few moments, upon completion the golden yellow brick of a book will be slid across the counter. In this book, you will find everything from the nearest schools to the best place to get your plumbing sorted out. We mention this as it provides all the up-to-date information on the different supermarkets and the areas they cover. You can also visit their website for the same details, we use both platforms, as having a printed version is still the most convenient, and the yellow pages have detailed maps of the main areas of Fiji printed in the back.
Promotions and Specials
The Fiji Sun and Fiji Times, the two local newspapers print coupons throughout the week, but especially on the quieter days when there is little news, typically on Monday & Tuesday, several pages of colourful promotions and specials from local supermarkets are printed, deals like buy 2 for 1 or; buy one get one free, they are simply there to attract you into the shop as they are normally a loss leader for the supermarket, my suggestion is to look through the pages, identify the different locations of the supermarkets, and purchase the items listed on the promotions, and then leave, put your blinkers on as you walk to the counter and especially avoid the impulse buys all across the till point. The pennies add up and you can have a nice evening with your friends at the end of the month if you stay prudent.
Top Tip – If you also search via their social media pages you will see all their current promotions and opening times throughout the year.
Main Food Markets | Satellite Markets
When you’re purchasing your fruits and vegetables, there is only one place you should consider, this being the main Fruit and Vegetable Markets in the cities, or their smaller siblings the Satellite Markets dotted all around the outskirts of towns. These market stalls provide a cost-effective way for local farmers and fishermen to sell their wares, and truly support Fijians all across the islands. A wide variety of local fruits and vegetables are available throughout the year, for a seasonal calendar read this article.
Top Tips – Only purchase from the market stalls that have clear pricing, as there are a small minority of vendors who will put up the price when they see you walking towards them, secondly, bring loose change, one or two-dollar coins, or smaller denominations, and avoid anything over 10 dollars, this assists the vendors and can avoid any confusion.
The Fish Market can normally be found to the side of the Fruit and Vegetable market, they are easily recognized by their large often misted-over windows, allowing you to take a quick peek into the tightly packed cold room. It can be daunting when you first enter this surreal environment, with its overpowering salty marine aroma penetrating the lining of your nasal passage, and your eyes slightly watering up, your first observation will be the different fish placed on the wooden tables surrounding the perimeter of the room, and the hardy fijian Fishman you wouldn’t want to meet on a Friday night staring back, as the large door you just entered, closes behind you, but when you are in, you will be guided around the place and shown the different species of fish and if requested fillet it for you.
This is an experience you should not miss, there are occasionally guided tours in Suva to help you through the maze of different tropical fish, they will be listed on the events page when available.
Butcher – The best quality of meat and the widest selection of cuts can only be found in your local butchers with many holding the status of being halal meat, Forget your supermarkets and the frozen aisles of frozen chicken jam-packed into the freezers with the only differing factor being their various sizes ranging from 1.2 to 2.4 kg in size, and we forbid you to purchase a Fijan duck from any supermarket, as all you will take home is bones in a bag. Find your butchers, start a conversation, telling them about yourself and how you found yourself in Fiji, and would like some suggestions. They will be more than willing to help you.
Fijian Made products are starting to be found all across the different supermarket chains, an ever-growing group of local artisans working to create fresh high-quality products, normally found in smaller batches to maintain the quality. We have local honey, sea salts, and bread, we even have our own beef jerky being produced on the islands.
Local Shops (Corner Shops)
Your local corner shop holds the very basic foodstuff, that you suddenly run out of or forgot to purchase when in your main shop for the week, they have the local newspapers, sweets, and soft drinks like any other small establishment, but in addition to this they have bread, sugar, flour, beans, tinned fish, eggs, very similar to a home pantry but for the community. The items are substantially more expensive than the medium-sized and larger supermarkets because the quantity of the items the shop is able to purchase at any one given time is a lot less.
If you can support these shops, we frequent ours once or twice a week to purchase a few items, we would surely miss them if they were not around.
As you will not normally be seeking out these smaller supermarkets, situated away from the place you are staying, it is worth noting that these micro-sized supermarkets are normally located on the main road arteries between towns and cities, or on the suburbs of residential areas. The opening hours are pretty regular, some extending into the early evening. The compromise for convenience, due to their supermarket’s size and location, is the lack of variety of foodstuffs, meaning you might not find a specific brand, you are seeking, and the prices might be several cents higher than their larger counterparts. Just bare this in mind. The benefits we have encountered are that the standard of customer service is normally far superior, and if you shop there regularly you will be remembered.
Larger Supermarkets can be found across the two main islands of Fiji, Viti Levu, and Vanua Levu, with the main cities; Suva, Nadi, and Lautoka hemorrhaging these large rectangular buildings, each having different brightly coloured facades; emblazing their credentials. Once you step inside they are much the same as each other, apart from the different layouts and some establishments holding a few specialty items from abroad to cater to the more international palet. As most of them are air-conditioned they can be an ideal pop-in when the sun is beating down, and you wish to take a breather when transversing the many streets of the cities.
Listed below are the main Supermarkets you will encounter on your travels around Fiji:
|Logo||Supermarket and Descriptions|
|RB Patel - RB Patel is located throughout Fiji. It's actually more of a department store as they also carry kitchenware, plastics, porcelain, drapery and electrical appliances.|
|Morris Hedstrom – MH has been open in Fiji for 150 years. They have several dozen locations throughout Fiji. Similiar to RB Patel, they are more of a department store than a straight supermarket.|
|New World IGA – NEWWORLD - first started operating in 1933, it grew from a small corner shop into the premium chain that it is today. The stores offer a pleasant shopping experience with a wide variety of international products. They boast more of a wider selection than the average supermarket in Fiji.|
|Rajendras FOODTOWN – Rajendra has many locations throughout Fiji. It was established in 1964 by Rajendra Prasad and is known for its competitive prices a family hypermarket in Fiji for over 58 years.|
|Shop n Save - Every town and city has a Shop n Save supermarket, they are renowned for their low prices, and special weekly promotions.|
|Extra Supermarket – Extra Supermarkets have a wide range of products, with wider aisles and plenty of parking, each store is fully air-conditioned stores – giving Fijian families the best products they need for healthy living they can afford. They source top-quality products from across the world and locally. Specials, Head Office and Store Locator, Shop Online|
VAT Zero-Rated Products
Listed below are the items that are VAT.ZERO, they are the basic items, everybody needs to maintain a minimum standard of living. We placed them in the article because they are normal everyday products that should line any person’s home pantry.
|1.||Baby Milk||Includes products such as Lactogen, SMA, S26, Farley's, etc.|
|2.||Canned Fish||All kinds of canned fish such as mackerel, tuna, sardines, salmon, anchovies, etc.|
|3.||Cooking Gas||All cooking gas sold in cylinders|
|4.||Cooking Oil||Includes all edible vegetable oil products such as soya bean oil, canola oil, olive oil, coconut oil, mustard oil and other vegetable oil.|
|5.||Dhal||These also include all types of dhal such as split peas, toor dhal, moong dhal, urdi, etc. It also includes other dried leguminous vegetables such as peas, chickpeas, moong, kidney beans, cow peas, etc. The category excludes dhal/ lentils in powdered form(besan/pea flour) or packaged in a can.|
|6.||Flour||Includes flour made out of wheat only such as normal flour, sharp and whole meal / roti flour and excludes rice flour, corn flour, pea flour, etc.|
|7.||Garlic||Includes only common fresh garlic and excludes all other forms such as dried, powdered, sliced, frozen, processed and packed, etc.|
|9.||Liquid Milk||Includes all types of dairy liquid milk whether full cream or low fat. This category only includes dairy milk and excludes nondairy milk such has almond milk, soy milk and milk from other vegetables|
|10.||Onions and shallots||Includes all types of onion but excludes onion in other forms such as powdered, dried, or processed and packed.|
|11.||Potatoes||Includes all types of potatoes in raw form including baby potatoes and washed potatoes and excludes potatoes in processed form such as French fries, wedges, hash brown, etc.|
|12.||Powdered Milk||Includes all types of powdered milk including full cream and low fat and excludes products such as condensed milk.|
|13.||Rice||Includes all types of rice including basmati, jasmine, long grain rice, brown rice, etc.|
|14.||Salt||Includes normal salt and excludes products such as monosodium glutamate (MSG).|
|15.||Sanitary Pads||Includes all types of sanitary towels (pads), tampons, etc.|
|16.||Soap||All types of bar soaps but doesn’t include liquid hand wash and dishwashing paste.|
|17.||Soap Powder & detergents||Includes all types of detergents in the form of powder, liquid and paste including cleaning detergents.|
|18.||Sugar||Includes only brown/raw sugar and excludes sugar in other forms such as castor, icing sugar, white sugar, cube, candy etc.|
|19.||Tea||Includes tea of all types and packaging and excludes products such as bottled ice tea.|
|20.||Toilet Paper||The category excludes products such as tissues, serviettes, paper towels, etc.|
|21.||Toothpaste||All types of toothpaste in tube form and excludes other products for oral dental hygiene such as mouth wash, floss, etc.|