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Coconut Fish

I’d done my research.  I already knew the answer.  So, when I asked one of my local hosts what dish I needed to eat while in Nauru, I wasn’t surprised when she said coconut fish.  Yep, tuna in coconut milk sounded like a winner.

So for my very first meal on the island, we headed to J’s Restaurant for coconut fish.  And, you can guess what was not on the menu that day.  I still ordered it - four times.  When one of the diners asked for a take-away box, I asked for some coconut fish in a box as well.  They got the hint.  They promised coconut fish the next day.

Some things do not live up to the hype.

I ate my coconut fish because I had to experience it.  It wasn’t what I expected and I really wasn’t impressed with what I was served.  I hoped for cooked tuna.  I’ve had it fresh off the grill on the beaches of Zanzibar.  I know, it’s hard to top that.  I sort of expected it “cooked” in lime juice or vinegar, which really isn’t cooked in my book.  My tuna wasn’t cooked or “cooked”.  It was raw, with a squirt of lime juice.  If you share my disappointment, or horror, I’d happily eat tuna in your home.

Coconut Fish
One of the national specialties of Nauru
  ½ cup fresh tuna per person    diced onion for garnish
  1 squeeze of lemon per bowl    1 cup fresh miti

Okay, if I still haven’t convinced you, and you just need to know, slice up your fresh – completely uncooked – tuna very finely.  Squeeze a dash of lemon over your serving of delicious tuna that should really be cooked and enjoyed but isn’t.  Garnish with the diced onion.  Mine didn’t have tomatoes or green peppers, but I was told that was a possibility.  Place it in a bowl and pour over a cup of miti over it.  Huh?

The one good thing about this dish is that I learned a little more about coconut milk.  If it is fresh out of the coconut (or can) it’s called “miti” in Fiji.  If it’s heated up, that’s “lolo”.  All of my dishes in Fiji had lolo.
I also learned there is a Fijian dish for actual cooked tuna that was very similar to Coconut Fish in Nauru.  It would be served with those extra mentioned vegetables as garnishes.  Place it in a bowl and pour over your cold miti. 

Serve any of these varieties with rice, or go get a tuna sandwich.

Copyright 2016 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.