Once again my adventures in scuba diving have not only led me to a great experience but once again it has led me to an excellent meal, think back to my post Cheeseburger in Paradise. This time the diving wasn’t in Mexico and the meal wasn’t a cheeseburger but it was crab (as the title may suggest) in Fiji and I honestly think it was the best crab I have ever had… even though I had to work hard to eat it.
After a day of diving with Aqua-Trek out of Pacific Harbor on the main island of Fiji my friend Nick and I decided we would grab lunch before heading back to Suva where Nick currently lives and where my hotel was. Aqua-Trek operates out of Club Oceanus which is a small little resort with a small little restaurant featuring a rather large dish filled with very big flavors… the dish was Captain Joma’s Cajun Crab Gumbo.
Being in Fiji which is 6,925.4 miles (11,145.3 KM) from New Orleans (http://www.happyzebra.com/distance-calculator/New%20Orleans-to-Suva.php) the last thing I expected to find was a Cajun dish, and I never would have expected to find one that was this good.
The dish was served by Captain Joma himself, with a big grin on his face and came in a massive deep bowl, as the Captain handed me the dish he said “Someone is in for a big treat” and I only had to look down into the depths of the bowl to confirm I was in dead in for a treat.
The dish was packed full of flavor with celery, onion, pepper, garlic, zucchini, curry powder, and a verity of other spices not to mention the whole crab partially buried among the melody of ingredients that is gumbo. The curry powder is not an ingredient normally found in gumbo and it lends a nice exotic flavor to the dish making it just that much more enjoyable. All of this was piled high on a mountain of rice which was just soaking up all the juices and flavor of the dish. As Captain Joma set this beautifully crafted dish in front of me he started explaining how to eat it. “We don’t have any crackers so you just have to put your claw on the plate and whack it with the back of your spoon” He told me that everything in the crab was edible but not being a big fan of the lungs and other organs I set those aside and just went after the succulent white crab meat that can be found in the body and the delicious leg and claw meat.
I dug right in, taking out pieces of crab, cracking them open to get to the treasured meat found inside. Alternating between pieces of crab and piles of the gumbo I worked my way through the dish to find that it was way more than I could eat. I managed to finish off all of the crab, a god portion of the gumbo and about half of the rice before I could eat no more. I think that if the Captain had added in a second crab this could have easily been a dish for two.
If you find yourself in Fiji head out to Pacific Harbor (about 40 minutes out of Suva) and find Oceanus, now I can’t guarantee that you will be able to get the crab gumbo as it is a special and since they make it with fresh caught local crab it may not always be available.
I was so intent on getting at every last tasty morsel of crab that I hardly noticed Nick snapping the above picture of me. I am exhausted from a day of diving, covered in salt from the waters of Baqa Lagoon and thoroughly enjoying my crab.
I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed eating it, though I am guessing that is not possible…