Buying Meals, Groceries and Food Souvenirs in Tonga
You don’t need us to tell you that food is essential and something you need to think about when staying in a foreign country. What you might take for granted at home, however, might not be so easy to get in Tonga. After all, it’s a country that’s proud to have not a single McDonald’s! So where can you eat out, pick up groceries or even get some foodie souvenirs while you’re in Tonga? Follow our advice and find out where to buy food in Tonga…
Tips for Food Shopping in Tonga
- Make sure your accommodation has cooking facilities if you wish to cook your own meals. Browse self-catering accommodations in our Foodie Accommodation Guides
- You will need cash to pay for almost all food in Tonga, as 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.
Restaurants and Cafes in Tonga
Tonga’s obvious go-to for food are the restaurants, cafes and takeaways – you’re on holiday after all, so why not treat yourself?! Restaurants can be found in Tonga’s main towns, as well as many resorts around the islands.
Restaurants in Tongatapu
Being the island with the largest population, Tongatapu understandably has the largest range of restaurants, most of which are packed into the capital, Nuku’alofa. Other restaurants can be found in resorts that line the northwestern beaches, as well as on some of the outer islands – all of which are open for casual diners. Check out Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu for recommendations.
Restaurants in ‘Eua
Restaurants in ‘Eua are few and far in between. The odd takeaway crops up in villages and the main town, Ohonua, but it’s not a place to rely on restaurants for eating. Even the accommodations here don’t have formal restaurants, but some offer cooked meals on request.
Restaurants in Ha’apai
Ha’apai has one formal restaurant, the Mariner’s Cafe, in the town of Pangai. You can also find restaurants at the resorts on Foa and Lifuka Island, but resorts elsewhere, such as on Uolevu Island, have set meals for guests.
Restaurants in Vava’u
Vava’u’s main centre, Neiafu, has a small but good selection of restaurants, from Italian to Chinese eateries, while many of the resorts across the island group have their own restaurant. Check out Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Vava’u for recommendations.
Grocery Shopping in Tonga
Many of Tonga’s accommodations have self-catering facilities where it’s possible to easily cook up your own meals. For this, you’re going to need groceries, which you can find at supermarkets, fale koloa, roadside stalls and markets.
Opening hours for supermarkets, markets and other food stores in Tonga are typically 8.30am-5pm, Monday to Friday and 8am-12pm on a Saturday. No shops are open on a Sunday.
Supermarkets are only found in the larger towns of Tonga, such as Nuku’alofa and Neiafu. They are stocked with a mix of imported food goods from New Zealand and Australia. Supermarkets are quite small, so you won’t find much variety of each product, but they’ll at least have all of the essentials and more.
Many villages across Tonga have a fale koloa. This is a kind of a convenience store, which has a wire mesh or bars across the window. You simply need to tell the store clerk what you would like to buy, pay the price, and they’ll pass it to you through the window. They stock essential food and bathroom products.
Markets and Roadside Stalls
Fresh produce is typically bought at markets or roadside stalls. There are produce markets in Nuku’alofa, Neiafu and Pangai, while fresh produce will otherwise need to be purchased from stall often set up in convenient places on the roadside of villages.
Learn more about buying groceries and the cost of food in The Guide to Food Shopping in Tonga.
Food Gifts and Souvenirs
If looking for special food items as a gift or souvenir, your best option is to visit some of the gift stores around Tonga. There are gift stores in Tongatapu and Vava’u, which sell Tongan food goods like coffee, craft beer, pure coconut oil, manioke chips and more.
Check out the gift stores we list in Where to Buy the Best Souvenirs in Tonga for recommendations.