Nauru cuisine/ Nauru food will not be winning any awards soon, but they are a sovereign nation! Therefore they do have a cuisine (of sorts). Having now been to Nauru 4 times I consider myself quite the expert on all things Nauru. This is the Nauru food guide.
The Nauru Food Scene
Dining in Nauru? What is the Nauru food scene? What is it like to dine in Nauru? Suffice to say, you do not visit Nauru for its cuisine.
When one writes a blog that primarily focuses on street food and travel, it would be fair to say that I like to try and sample street food whenever I travel (do you see the trend?). When I was due to visit the least visited country in the world – the Republic of Nauru – I did a bit of research and discovered that it was home to the world’s most obese population. Doing some quick logic, I deduced fat people = great food. Sadly, as I was to discover, this was not to be the case. So, what is the Nauru food scene? This is the Nauru food guide!
Nauru Food is basically Chinese food
When I first moved to China 13 years ago I initially had (a) no intention of staying and (b) no real desire to learn the language. Alas, 13 years on and I not only still call China “home”, but am fairly adept at Mandarin. About 1/10th of Nauru nationals or permanent residents are non-integrated Chinese-Chinese who run all the corner stores and, more importantly, the restaurants. Chinese food here is very uninspiring and obviously amended to suit the palate. Think ‘bad Chinese food’ and that is what you will get at 99% of the restaurants of Nauru.
The best Chinese Restaurant in Nauru?
Chinese restaurants are absolutely everywhere. Basically all bar 2 restaurants on the island are Chinese, and one of those still serves Chinese food. This does not mean there is good Chinese food though. This is Nauru food/Chinese Nauru fusion food. Cooked to suit the local palate. I did though find 3 Nauru Restaurants serving Chinese food that I kind of liked.
- Anabare Resaturant, opposite the bay where everyone swims, has bootleg liquor and great sashimi. I would go as far as sating this is not completely a Chinese restaurant as they also offer some great western dishes too. One of the best restaurants in Nauru.
- The restaurant at the Od’n Aiwo Hotel, which has beer whatever the weather; also great Nauru style sushi and beef and potato.
- J’s restaurant, which has fresh sashimi and good chips. Yes you probably should not judge a Chinese restaurant by its chips, but hey I am British.
The food in every other Chinese restaurant seems to come off a conveyor belt. That being said when it comes to Nauru food, go try as much Chinese as possible!
The refugees have gone…
For a while there was a borderline popup scene where the refugees of Nauru started restaurants to support their life here: Iranian, Pakistani, Bengali etc etc. The refugees got to move on, and so did the food. Great for them, but not so great for the cuisine of the Republic of Nauru.
There’s one kinda fine-dining joint in Nauru
Bayview restaurant in Anabare has western food, good cocktails, real Indian curries and a great sunset. It’s also kinda a bar, and the best place to eat and drink in Nauru. This is also probably the best place to meet the many expats who live on the island. They truly are an interesting bunch!
Nauru Cuisine Sashimi sashimi everywhere!
Pretty much every restaurant has really good tuna sashimi. Nauru is next to the sea, so the tuna is fresh, cut well and good. Wasabi, on the other hand, is imported. It seems the local way to take your tuna as it is: raw and unseasoned. Although I have had raw tuna with Chinese hot sauce, which was pretty good.
You can read my ultimate guide to raw tuna here!
And Nauru Cuisine?
When it comes to Nauru food is there anything resembling Nauru cuisine? I’ve been here 3 tomes and I’ve looked a lot – and I mean a lot – but I’m yet to find something truly local. Unless badly cooked Chinese food in Nauru is considered local, in which case I hit the motherlode! I am as of now still on search of the elusive cuisine of Nauru.
In conclusion on Nauru food
Nauru cuisine is a victim of its circumstances, and you have to respect that. Like other Pacific Island nations they have a love of spam and corned beef. Somewhere along the line traditional methods of cooking were lost and well the Chinese filled that void. And to give them their credit they are surviving as a nation.
The food of Nauru might not win any Michelin stars, but hey, it’s the least-visited country in the world in the middle of an ocean, and the food isn’t bad at all. It’s also not that good, but it truly isn’t bad either, and you won’t go hungry when you travel to Nauru.