Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Lovo Night at "Bula Re" in Savusavu

Vanua Levu - Fiji. (A Night for the Tourists)

Once a week, on a Wednesday night, Savusavu's German-owned tourist restaurant, Bula Re, has a Lovo night with a set menu at a set price.
photograph picture of the German owner of Bula Re outside of her restaurant in Savusavu, Fiji
If you want to sit at one of the coveted terrace tables overlooking the garden and the harbour be sure to book in advance and be prepared to share your table with other diners if necessary.
photograph picture from the terrace of Bula Re restaurant in Savusavu, Fiji
Arrive at 6pm, just before the sun sets, if you want to get a good look at the underground oven, know in Fiji as a lovo, before it gets dark.
photograph picture of the lovo at
Underneath this smoking pile of earth, stones and banana leaves, our dinner has been cooking for several hours.
photograph picture of the lovo being opened up at
Once darkness has fallen, it is time to open up the lovo. The earth is removed and the leaves are revealed.
photograph picture of the lovo at
And, once the leaves are unwrapped, at last, we arrive at the food.
photograph picture of the food inside the lovo at
Guests are allowed to choose three items from the lovo. I picked lamb, prawns with pumpkin and fish. Additionally there were a lot of cassavas being baked in the lovo. For my liking, too many of those dull root vegetables ended up on my plate.
photograph picture of a plateful of lovo food from
I didn't really care much for the food from the lovo. The fish, in particular, was unfortunately overcooked (like most of the fish I tried in Fiji). The very best part of the meal was actually the rourou leaves with coconut, otherwise known as palusami which I want to try and recreate at home, perhaps with spinach or some other suitable leaf.
photograph picture of Vudi Vakasoso from
Dessert was really good too. It didn't look much, but the Vudi Vakasoso, plantain with coconut milk, was surprisingly delicious.

Bula Re
is certainly a Westernized restaurant. You will see more tourists than locals dining here. The food is slow arriving after you have ordered, but this won't matter if you are vacationing because you are going to be on Fiji-time anyway. It is worth the wait because all of the food at Bula Re is freshly prepared for you, from scratch. To drink, beer and wine is available but the choice is limited. On Lovo night they offer pricey cocktails and free tastings of the local brew, Kava too.

Restaurant Café Bula Re
Main Street Savusavu
Tel/fax: (679) 885-0307
open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. (closed Sunday)

Archive Alert! It may seem like a distant memory, but this time last year the USA was in the midst of an election and the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants were buying your vote.

| | | | | |

Lovo Night at "Bula Re" in Savusavu


  • At 25/10/05 10:26, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Any idea what kind of leaves those are in the fifth picture? (I'm becoming a leaf nut.) The ones on the ground in the previous photos look like banana leaves, but the steamed ones don't.
    Also, rourou is apparently taro leaves, and if you can get them, oh, they're good.

  • At 25/10/05 10:50, Blogger Sam said…

    could they be dalu? Or maybe palm from th coconut?
    I was suffering from leaf confusion. I thought the rourou were dalu, but the restaurant owner insisted they were simply rourou.
    I am all muddled up with which plant is which. Maybe taro or other interesting suitable leaves can be gotten at the Alemany Farmers Market?

  • At 25/10/05 13:36, Blogger Sara said…

    just a note on your archive alert - last year my husband and i were in san francisco on election day and everywhere we went we saw people (mainly men) wearing buttons from bars saying they had voted and received free alcohol. i had never heard of that before!

  • At 25/10/05 17:21, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Sam: I Googled rourou today, to see if it was the same as taro, and dalu kept popping up, so I think those are all three names for the same thing. And I looked at some images, and golly, maybe that's what they are in the lovo!

  • At 25/10/05 21:37, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've always been excited at the prospect of pit-cooked slow food but have heard many a story of it being dry and overcooked. Still it sounds like you had a memorable meal and the dessert does look delicious.

  • At 25/10/05 22:18, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Aw, I read this wrong and thought it said "Love Night."

    (Eyebrow waggle.)

    I continue to love your blog, Sam.

  • At 26/10/05 02:36, Blogger Monkey Gland said…

    From my limited experience of such tings (mostly bbq's in buried shopping trolleys as a student) you need to be doing whole animals.

  • At 26/10/05 07:55, Blogger Sam said…

    Sara - I don't know quite what that says about San Franciscans?

    Cookiecrumb - we will get to the bottom of this!

    Augustus - well I am glad it wasn't just me. I was wondering what all the fuss was about.

    Tana - hmm Love huh? The place was full of 'yachties' and they are not my type.

    Mr Monkey - sounds like something we will have to try at home, or rather someone elses home, as I don't think I can dig a pit on the deck. Could carry a shopping trolley up there, tho', I s'pose..?

  • At 26/10/05 11:44, Blogger Ed said…

    I love the romantic idea of these things. I've had the Mauri version – a hangi. Not only was the food overdone but it was full of sand. Yuk. In Vanuatu they cooked in banana leaves. There wasn't any sand in it but it was plenty bland and made the kava taste good. Sam, you are right the whole of the Pacific is full of yachties. I was just on Espirito Santo (Vanuatu) and they would land on our deserted beach and bore us with talk of anti-fouling paint. On the plus side, our cook went out in his canoe and caught us fresh lobster. And I regret I to say we accidently ate an endangerd coconut crab. Both were superb but I won't encourage you to eat the latter. Have they tried to feed you fruit bat yet?

  • At 27/10/05 07:28, Blogger Sam said…

    Jennifer - yes - what has happened to our indian summer, huh? Guessing Novato is just as bad when those pwoplw over the bridge always try and kis us they are having it better up there.

    Ed - no fruit bat yet. How is it?

  • At 27/10/05 17:20, Blogger Ed said…

    If I was on Survivor and had to I'd eat it. It was gamey but not that great. A tourist gimmick perhaps.

  • At 28/10/05 09:24, Blogger Sam said…

    in no rush for the fruit bat tasting then !

  • At 30/10/05 01:55, Blogger Reid said…


    Sorry, it's been a while since I last popped in, but I saw that you liked palusami. Here palusami is cooked using taro leaves (lu'au), coconut milk and onions and it's actually a Samoan specialty. If you want a recipe, let me know.

  • At 30/10/05 16:38, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In case you're interested in recreating the palusami you tried in Fiji: you can go to one of the Oriental markets in SF (or even a Samoan market) and locate some taro leaves. It's a hard dish to make, for sure (the Samoan way is complicated, anyway) - but oh my god, it's so fattening, and so worth the wait. :)

    Rats. Now I want some. lol

  • At 9/10/07 10:37, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Taro and dalo leaves are one and the same which are the green leafy part of the taro/dalo root crop found throughout the South Pacific region. "Rourou" is the name of a dish prepared by cooking these leaves along with coconut milk, onions a bit of garlic if you like and seasoned with salt. Here in the U.S you are most likely to find these leaves available for purchase from ethnic Indian and Hispanic stores that have a fresh produce section. Hope this was of some help to you all.


Post a Comment

<< Home