You probably wouldn’t go looking for asparagus in the swampy areas of Fiji, a nation comprised of hundreds of islands in the South Pacific. But it’s there. At least “Fiji asparagus” is, though you might not find it at first. Secreted inside the long, grassy stems of the Saccharum edule plant is duruka. Shucked from their green sheaths, they do slightly resemble the head of a white asparagus spear, but the similarity ends there. Duruka is the crumbly flower of the sugarcane-like plant, and it is indeed sweet, with a flavor that some liken to corn.
Cultivated for its tastiness, duruka is sold still-bundled in the sheath at the Suva Market on the island of Viti Levu. It often ends up roasted, cooked in coconut milk, or mixed into curries. After all, around 40 percent of the Fijian population is of Indian descent. In the late 19th century, sugar plantations brought indentured Indian laborers to the islands, and their cooking had a definite impact on local cuisine, resulting in dishes such as duruka curry.
Need to Know
Duruka is in season in April and May. It can be purchased on the roadside, in markets, and at certain restaurants.
Where to Try It
Suva MarketHarris Road, Suva , Fiji
Huge bundles of saccharum edule are tied together and sold at Suva Market.