There are several restaurants in the main tourist
areas. Seafood exists hugely on hotel and restaurant menus in Port
- Vila and the major towns. The numerous ethnic backgrounds of the
inhabitants of Vanuatu are displayed in different styles of cooking.
French and Chinese influences are the strongest. Food is generally
brilliant everywhere. French cheese, bread, pâtés,
cognac and wine are available in Port - Vila’s 2 major shops.
Local fruit is outstanding.
include Lap Lap, a grated yam, banana or manioc smothered in coconut
cream and cooked in an earth oven, as well as Coconut crab.
One National drink is Kava, a soporific drink made
from the root of a plant related to the pepper tree. Vanuatu kava
is the strongest in the world, and although the drink is non –
alcoholic, it is exhilarating.
Port - Vila has many nightclubs with dancing and
music. There is also a cinema. Evening cruises
are organised with snacks, wine and island music. Traditional music
and dancing take place at a variety of island festivities to which
visitors are welcome, and some hotels put on evening entertainment
and dancing. Details are available from the Vanuatu National Tourism
Special purchases include grass skirts from
Tanna and Futuna, baskets and mats from Futuna and Pentecost, woodwork
from Tongoa and Santo, carved forms and masks from Ambrym and Malekula,
and pig tusks and necklaces made of shells or colourful seeds from
villages near Port - Vila. Duty free shops sell a variety of luxury
General Shopping hours are Monday
to Friday from 7.00 am to 8.00 pm. Some shops open Saturday mornings.
Chinese stores also open Sunday mornings from 8.00 am and in the
evenings. Most shops close from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm (except banks,
restaurants, supermarkets and the Post Office). The market
in the town centre is open every day (except Sunday) for fruit,
flowers, vegetables and handicrafts.
Tipping is not expected or encouraged
in Vanuatu, as it goes against local tradition.