The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to Fijian Food
Fiji’s cuisine is quite diverse, since it has been influenced by various groups, including Europeans, Indians, and Melanesians. The five countries with the most similar food to Fiji all have tropical climates. Four of the five were once British colonies before becoming independent. Furthermore, all of these countries have many people with South Asian ancestry, although only in Mauritius are they the majority.
- Suriname is in South America, but it is another country with many people that have South Asian and Austronesian ancestry. In addition, both Fiji and Suriname use an abundance of tropical fruits such as coconut, bananas, and pineapples. In addition, bread and rice are the most consumed staple foods in these nations.
- Malaysia and Fiji both border the Pacific Ocean. They also have many people with South Asian and Austronesian ancestry. Nasi Goreng, the Malaysian fried rice dish is popular in Fiji as well. Furthermore, sambal, a spicy chili paste, is a favorite condiment in both Malaysian and Fijian cuisines.
- Trinidad & Tobago is another island where the British brought many indentured servants from South Asia to work in agriculture. As a result, the food in these countries is somewhat similar. Both countries have a deep love for curries. They also consume a lot of chicken and seafood.
- Mauritius is similar to Trinidad & Tobago, although it is located in the Indian Ocean. Mauritian chicken Briani is like many Fijian curries, featuring a flavorful blend of spices with rice and meat. Flatbreads are also a big part of the cuisine in these countries.
- Guyana is yet another country that is located around the Caribbean Sea on this list, although Fiji is in the South Pacific Ocean. Both cuisines showcase a fusion of culinary traditions with common ingredients such as rice, chicken, and flavorful spices. Furthermore, pepperpot, a hearty meat stew, shares similarities with Fijian stews.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Fijian Food
Due to its diverse culinary influences, relatively few countries have food that is far different from Fiji’s. Nevertheless, the five countries with the least similar food to the country are all located in Africa. In stark contrast to Fiji, four of these countries are landlocked as well. In addition, four were once French colonies.
- South Sudan is a landlocked country in Africa. Cassava accounts for the largest part of the country’s diet, however South Sudanese eat their share of sorghum as well. Beef is the most commonly consumed meat in the South Sudan, while saltwater fish and chicken are more popular in Fiji.
- Chad is another country that borders Sudan. Sorghum and millet are the two most commonly consumed grains there. These crops are well adapted to the Sahel’s harsh climate. Beef is the most popular meat, but lamb meat is also often eaten there. Peanuts and sesame seeds are also commonly parts of their cuisine.
- Central African Republic is located directly to the south of Chad. It is another French-speaking country on this list. Cassava and yam are two of the most commonly eaten staple ingredients in the country. Its food reflects the culinary traditions of various ethnic groups, such as the Baya, Banda, and Sango, among others.
- Niger is located in the Sahel region of Africa. It has an extremely dry climate, in contrast to Fiji. Its two most common staple foods are millet and sorghum, two grains that are rarely consumed in Fiji. Some traditional dishes in Niger include tuwo, a porridge made from millet or sorghum, and dambunama, a dish made from millet, vegetables, and meat.
- Democratic Republic of Congo has a tropical climate, like Fiji. Nevertheless, its food is far different. Cassava is the dominant staple food in the country. One popular dish is saka-saka, a mix of spinach and cassava leaves. The most commonly eaten meat in Congo is freshwater fish, whereas saltwater and chicken are more popular in Fiji.
Fiji’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Chicken, Saltwater Fish
Fruit: Coconut, Banana
Vegetable: Onion, Pea
Starch: Wheat, Potato
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.