I am able to witness “Nauru street food scene”! Ever heard of the Republic of Nauru? Well in case you haven’t, it’s the 3rd smallest country in the world. The world’s smallest republic, least visited country (by tourists), and in the middle of the Pacific. With only two flights per week to get here. So I decided it would be a great place to not only spend New Years Eve. But also 5 blissful days showing tourists around an island of 21 meters squared. They also have Street food.
Most of the Nauru Street Food is Chinese!
If you’re gonna spend any time over a few days traveling in Nauru, it would be safe to say that you should like Nauru street food! So as you may or may not have heard, there are a lot of refugees here that were sent by Australia. What many people do not know is that most are no longer kept in the detention centres. Instead, exist in a kind of limbo where they have residency. They no passports and can thus work or start businesses on the island (which many do). But more about that later!
The Chinese on the other hand, are not only not refugees, but have come here by choice! They make up 8% of the islands population. And run the corner stores and low key restaurants. I never knew speaking Chinese would come in so handy on Nauru! Another fun fact is it’s one the few countries to recognize the Republic of China rather than The People’s Republic. All the Chinese I met were from rural Guangdong province.
Their Chinese food was hardly reinventing the wheel. Largely consisting of cheap shops selling fried noodles, fried rice, and western style dishes like chop suey! Hardly earth shattering stuff.
The best “Chinese” meal we probably had was at the fish and chip restaurant next to Bay View. Where in fact most of us didn’t have Chinese food at all. Weirdly one of the best drink menus though! Honorable mention should also go to the restaurant at the Oki On Hotel, which was fairly decent. Overall, chinese street food in Nauru is awesome!
So what about these refugees you speak of?
Most of the the refugees of Nauru have been on the island for 4-5 years. They are free to work and start businesses which many of them have. Two great places we found were the slightly higher end Iranian Restaurant “Island Cafe”. Which also served decent wine and had internet. But also ……. a Pakistani restaurant which is run by a friend of our guide. Which consisted of one guy cooking and serving all the food. Decent enough, much more of a street food vibe. But not exactly what I expected as a culinary experience in the Pacific.
How about fine dining in Nauru?
On an island of 10k folks, you would hardly expect much of a dining scene. But we had great meals at the Nauru (Menen) Hotel, expertly serviced by the Fijian, and Chinese chef. But without doubt the top restaurant is Bay View, which aside from the great view of the bay (see what I did there). Cooks a mean G&T and has a good western menu, and we are told it serves the best curry on the island.
So what about Nauruian street food?
The interweb had told us tales of street BBQ done by the locals, but it seems they are earning so much from housing refugees, that we did not see any of them out cooking a storm, maybe next time…..
And the drinking scene?
Hardly eclectic, we spent New Years at Menen Hotel, also called Nauru Hotel, which also has a club open 6 days a week. Bay View Restaurant is a great place for a drink, and Jules Bar not only has the best sunset, but also the only “local” bar in Nauru.
So whilst I far from felt I got my street food jollies from Nauru, you will hardly go starving whilst here, and the secret is to find out from the many resident refugees where the latest hot place to dine is.