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Cook Islands Food & Drinks

  • Barbecued fish
  • Breadfruit
  • A farmers market on the island
  • Tropical food of grilled fish fruits and vegetables
  • Tropical fruit


There is a wide range of international restaurants located around the islands featuring Continental, Indian, Chinese, Italian and Polynesian cuisine. In the capital Rarotonga, there are twelve licensed bars and restaurants that usually offer live entertainment in the evenings.

Traditional dishes from the Cook Islands rely heavily on local produce as well as fresh seafood (most restaurants even have a daily arrangement with fishing boats that supply the freshest fish available).

Popular traditional dishes include:

Rori: This sea cucumber can be eaten either raw or cooked and is usually served with butter, garlic and spice.

Ika: This dish is made up of raw fish that has been marinated in lemon juice (or a mix of vinegar, oil and salt) and is served with onion and coconut cream.

Rukau: Coconut cream, salt and onions are mixed together with mashed taro leaves.

Umukai: This is a traditional feast held on special occasions. Umukai literally means “food from the oven” and as such, the meal is cooked in an oven that has been dug out of the earth called an umu. The oven is filled with firewood and basalt rocks and a grill made of banana wood is placed over the hot stones. Meat, ika and vegetables are then wrapped in banana leaves and placed in a sack and put in the oven. The oven is covered and is left to cook for around three hours. This method of cooking is very elaborate and time-consuming, but well worth the wait.



Coconut water is a popular drink in the islands because they are grown all year round. Tropical fruit juices and cocktails are also well-liked and readily available.

Bush Beer: This beer is brewed from oranges, bananas, pawpaws or hop. When missionaries arrived on the islands, they tried to prevent drinking kava and enforced prohibition. This only encouraged Cook Islanders to go further into the bush and brew their own beer - however, today the practice is only available on the island of Atui.

Cooks Lager Brewery: Located in Rarotonga, this brewery produces three different types of beer - Cooks Premium Lager, Cooks Original Blonde and Cooks Cheeky Darkie.

Matutu Brewing Company: Also located in Rarotonga, this brewery produces two different types of beer - Mai which is a lager, and Kiva which is a pale ale.


Things to know:

Tradition in the Cook Islands states that when a gift is given, something is required in return, as a result of this, tipping is not required.

Drinking age:




Cook Islands Travel Information

At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to the Cook Islands. 

Learn about the history and culture of the Cook Islands, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about the Cook Islands' nature and wildlife, weather and geography, and 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering the Cook Islands for yourself. Start exploring...book one of our Cook Island vacations today!


Extend Your Stay

Consider an additional stopover after or before your Cook island vacation at one of Goway's other South Pacific destinations. You can choose from our selection of Australian vacationsNew Zealand vacation packages, Tahiti vacation packages or perhaps one of our Fiji resorts.



Book your Cook Islands Vacation with Goway!

With a wide choice of Cook Islands vacations and experiences, Goway’s Downunder wizards can offer you many ways to explore and enjoy the Cook Islands. Relax with a romantic tropical island stay, escape winter on a Snowbird long stay, enjoy an air-land getaway and more. We want to be your first choice when next you go globetrotting to the Cook Islands.

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