Buying Food and Drink in Tonga
Travellers wanting to experience a slice of life in Tonga or perhaps opt for spending less of your travel budget on food than eating out can buy their own food in Tonga. Small supermarkets, roadside stalls, produce markets and “fale koloa” can be found across the Kingdom to tend to your grocery shopping needs. Understand where you can shop for food, typical food prices and more in the guide to food shopping in Tonga.
For more advice on each type of grocery store or market in Tonga, take a look at Where to Buy Food in Tonga.
Tips for Food Shopping in Tonga
- Make sure your accommodation has a kitchen if you wish to cook your own meals. Browse self-catering accommodations in our Foodie Accommodation Guides
- You will need cash to pay for food in Tonga. Only some supermarkets accept credit card in Tonga
- Supermarkets are often stocked with imports from New Zealand and Australia but are only marginally more expensive than in NZ and Oz
- Bargaining is not typically practised in Tonga. If the seller is asking for a high price, just try somewhere else
- Be sure to try some of the local cuisines too! Check out our Restaurant Guides and Cheap Eats in our Food Category.
Buying Food from Supermarkets in Tonga
Found in Tonga’s main towns, such as Nuku’alofa, Neiafu and Pangai, Supermarkets are stocked with a mix of local food and drinks, as well as overseas imports particularly from New Zealand and Australia. Supermarkets are smaller than what you would find in more developed countries, with small supermarkets typically run by locals or Chinese. Be aware that although the most common food items are available in Tonga, you will not find much variety.
Opening hours for supermarkets in Tonga are typically 8.30am-5pm, Monday to Friday and 8am-12pm on a Saturday. No shops are open on a Sunday.
Food Prices in Tonga Supermarkets
Budget for your supermarket shopping in Tonga using this list of typical food prices. Note that prices are approximate.
- 1.5l (50 fluid ounces) box of milk: TOP$3.80
- 30 tray eggs: TOP$16
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of rice: TOP$2.90
- 500g (1.1 pounds) pasta: TOP$2.10
- A loaf of sliced bread: TOP$1.80
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) cheese: TOP$16-$17
- 100g (3 ounces) dry freeze coffee: TOP$8
- Bag of chips: TOP$5.80
- Can of coke: TOP$2.50
- Box of cereal: TOP$13-14
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of chicken: TOP$4.50
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of beef mince: TOP$10
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of pork: TOP$10
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of mutton: TOP$13-$14
- Bag of fish (6-8 fish): TOP$40-$50
- 300g (12 ounces) of corned beef: TOP$10.30
For more about food prices, see What is the Cost of Food in Tonga?
Buying Food from Convenience Stores (Fale Koloa)
Convenience stores, typically found on the roadside of villages, are locally known as “fale koloa”. They are usually small one-room buildings with a wire grate at the window. Customers talk to the store clerk through the window and ask for the items they want to buy. The clerk will say the price of the item for you to pay. When you pay, the clerk might take the money into the back of the shop to get change. Then they will hand over the change and the item/s you have purchased.
The price of goods here will be similar to the supermarket prices stated above. Note that the variety of goods will be much smaller than a supermarket, but you can typically pick up a few essentials.
Fale koloa have more varying opening hours, typically opening around 9am and closing sometime after dark. They are closed on a Sunday.
Buying Food from Produce Markets and Stalls
The centre of Tonga’s largest communities is the local town market, which is the place to buy fruit and vegetables in Tonga. Alternatively, roadside stalls can be found in villages and towns throughout Tonga.
Small fruit and vegetables are typically sold by the pile or the bunch, while some larger produce is sold separately. Markets in Tonga are typically open from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday-Saturday. Roadside stalls have varying opening hours but are typically open 24 hours Monday-Saturday.
Fruit and Vegetable Prices in Tonga
If you plan on trying fresh tropical produce, these are the general prices to expect. Note that prices are approximate and may change according to the season.
- 4 apples: TOP$5
- Bunch of bananas: TOP$5-$10
- 4 tomatoes: TOP$3-$4
- 3 persimmons: TOP$10
- 3 cucumbers: TOP$3
- Pile of chillis: TOP$3-$4
- Basket of coconuts: TOP$10
- 1 cabbage: TOP$2
- Bag of onions: TOP$3
For more typical costs in Tonga, see What is the Cost of Travelling in Tonga?