Vanuatu food and drink is an integral element of the culture and island way of life. Using plentiful, locally grown fare, traditional cuisine features ingredients like root vegetables, banana and coconuts, and a bounty of freshly caught fish. Local dishes are readily available at markets and in villages, and a must-try is the national dish, laplap. This unique dish is made of breadfruit, taro or yam pound into a dough and baked in an underground oven with coconut cream, meat and spinach leaves. If you’re feeling daring, you can also sample the customary drink kava. Meanwhile, mainstream restaurants in the popular tourist precincts cater to western tastes, with a variety of options including Australian and French-influenced cuisine.
Vanuatu food markets are as much a social occasion as the opportunity to select from a bevy of tropical fruit and fresh vegetables. Port Vila Market is particularly popular, and this is a great destination to try local delights like laplap and tuluk. Tuluk is made of a tapioca dough filled with pork and steamed in banana leaves. This traditional Vanuatu food is baked fresh on the premises, with the tantalising aroma wafting through the open-air venue.
Vanuatu restaurants offer a range of cuisine, destined to satisfy almost every taste. The French influence is evident at numerous upscale eateries, but eastern eats like Korean, Chinese and sushi are also available. Many restaurants cater to the western palate, and there’s a host of picturesque waterfront restaurants and courtyards to enjoy the island ambience.
Port Vila is the major destination to enjoy Vanuatu bars and nightlife, with a selection of options for enjoying the tropical after-dark ambience. Choices include waterfront bars to kick back and relax long after the sunset, and more lively venues that offer live music long into the night. The larger resorts also feature night-time entertainment including Melanesian fire shows.