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Nuku'alofa is blessed with a few restaurants that serve Continental cuisine of remarkably high quality for such a small and unsophisticated town. Expatriates, especially from Germany and Italy, operate most of them.

Dine Like a Tongan

Like all Polynesians, the Tongans in the old days cooked their food over hot rocks in a pit -- an umu -- for several hours. Today they roast whole suckling pigs on a spit over coals for several hours (larger pigs still go into the umu). The dishes that emerge from the umu are similar to those found elsewhere in Polynesia: pig, chicken, lobster, fish, octopus, taro, taro leaves cooked with meat and onions, breadfruit, bananas, and a sweet breadfruit pudding known as faikakai-lolo, all of it cooked with ample amounts of coconut cream. Served on the side are ota ika (fish) and vasuva (clams), both marinated in lime juice.

The best place to sample Tongan food is during the evening buffets and dance shows at the Tongan National Cultural Centre (tel. 23-022). Others are the International Dateline Hotel (tel. 23-411) and the Good Samaritan Inn (tel. 41-022).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.