Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Labasa market and other Fiji markets
The Labasa market is really overcrowded and it is long overdue to change location. Because it is near the bus station and the taxi ranks the area is really noisy and polluted. Of course people want to shop then not have to walk far to catch a bus or taxi. Perhaps it should be moved to higher ground the other side of the river. The sellers come from long distances such as Nabuwalu and Savusavu to sell their goods, often by bus, and even from Taveuni Island. Others buy wholesale and resell at the market. One of the women from our Vatuadova village does this. About six years they were thinking about moving the market and the bus shelter but it hasn’t happened yet. Why not?
One day we were strolling along a road in the Tuatua suburb of Labasa and an Indian man called us in to have a cup of tea. His house looked very ordinary from outside but inside he had everything he needed. He was a bean-seller from the market. From little things big things grow - as the song goes.
The markets are usually open six days a week but are busiest on Fridays and Saturdays. Cassava and dalo are getting very expensive these days. Peceli went shopping in Suva market not long ago with his grandson – their task to buy dalo and octopus – both already cooked. The octopus was smoked, the dalo was cooked and sold for $1.50 each which was quite good. Then my daughter-in-law added coconut cream and onions to make the octopus tastier.
Whether in Suva, Sigatoka, Lautoka, Rakiraki or Labasa there is always an outdoor/indoor market where you can find all sorts of vegetables and fruits, fish, crabs, delicacies. A good website of pictures is by a Suva photographer. Start here.
I like to buy vakalolo and bila at the Suva market. Valalolo is made from pounded dalo with sugar and coconut cream and sold wrapped in banana leaves. Bila is fermented scraped cassava, smells bad, but it's chewy. It's sold wrapped in leaves and can easily be identified by the long thin shape. They sell for $1 or $2 dollars each.