Where to Eat Coconut Crab in Niue
Uga, otherwise known as coconut crab, is a South Pacific delicacy and nowhere has quite the populations of this prized crab species than the island of Niue. That’s why locals will proudly display uga at markets, race them at village show days, and take you on tours to hold them, hunt them or both. With so much emphasis on the uga, however, many visitors are surprised to find that uga is hardly on the menu in Niue! While this is not so much a bad thing, as conservation efforts aim to keep a sustainable population of uga in Niue, it just means that visitors have to try a little harder to get a taste of uga for themselves. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the very few places where you can try uga as a visitor.
Before we get into our guide on where to try uga in Niue, be sure to bookmark The Guide to the Niuean Culture for Travellers for even more advice on the local customs and cultural experiences.
Ways to See Uga in Niue
There are a lot more ways to see uga in Niue than there are to eat them. Uga are an inherent part of culture tours due to their historic significance as one of the main sources of protein on the island. Some of the ways to see uga in Niue include:
- Taue Uga Tours
- Matapa Guest House
- Misa’s Nature Tour
- A5 Rainforest & Plantation Tour
- Scenic Matavai Resort
- Niue Market
- Village show days
- While driving at night…
Find out more about each of these points in our full article, 8 Ways See Uga (Coconut Crabs) in Niue.
Taue Uga Tours
Get the hands-on approach to trying uga in Niue by hunting it yourself! Taue Uga Tours teaches you about the Niuean tradition of uga hunting while you get to learn about these fascinating arthropods.
There are two tours available: one during the day and one at night when the crabs are at their most active. The day tour has you setting up coconut baits to attract the uga with a good chance of seeing some uga along the way. The night tour typically starts at 8pm where you’ll see if your baits are successful. Nighttime is the best time to see a lot of uga. You’ll learn how to pick up these huge crabs that can weigh up to 4kg (8.8lbs) and see how locals select the only the largest ones to take home for eating.
As part of these tours, you are offered the chance to have uga cooked for you to try after the tour if you choose.
Get the details on where and when to take this tour in The Best Guided Tours in Niue.
Niue’s Cultural Events
Another way to try uga, where the crab can be already cooked and prepared for you, is at one of Niue’s events. The most likely events where uga is available to sample is at the village show days.
Village Show Days
There are 14 villages in Niue, each hosting its own show day once a year. Show days are the perfect opportunity to try traditional local food, including uga, which usually take centre stage for village events. Learn more about when to catch a village show day and what to expect in What are the Village Show Days in Niue?
Niue Arts & Culture Festival
Another event worth timing your visit for if you’re super eager to try uga is the Arts & Culture Festival. The week-long event celebrates all things Niuean including its cuisine! The festival is bi-annual, typically happening around Easter. See if it is happening this year on the Niue Tourism events page.
If you want to have a go at cooking fresh uga yourself, then there is often one or two uga for sale at the Niue Market. Located in Alofi next to the Niue Tourism Visitor Information Centre, the Niue Market is a hive of activity every Monday (5am to 8am), Wednesday (8am to 12pm) and Friday (5am to 8am). Get there early to stand the best chance of picking up an uga. You will also be able to purchase other seasonal ingredients to cook your crab with.
Learn more about the Niue Market in The Guide to Food Shopping in Niue.