Where to Try Uga in Niue© NiuePocketGuide.com
Where to Try Uga in Niue

5 Places to Try Uga in Niue (Where to Eat Coconut Crab)

© NiuePocketGuide.com

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.

1. 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 of these giant crabs along the way. The night tour typically starts at 8 pm 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 4 kg (8.8 lbs) and see how locals select only the largest ones to take home for eating.

As part of these tours, you have the option to take an uga back to your accommodation with instructions on how to cook it. Get further details on where and when to take this tour in The Best Guided Tours in Niue.

Location: Meet at the cenotaph in Avatele village, southwest coast of Niue.

Where to Try Uga in Niue© NiuePocketGuide.com

2. Lilo’s Restaurant

If you didn’t come to Niue with self-catering in mind, then one of the very limited ways to try uga already cooked is at Lilo’s Restaurant.

Only open once a fortnight, make sure you book early for this highly popular event in the village of Hakupu. The limited opening hours are understandable once you see the breadth of cuisine hunted and gathered by your local hosts, Adora and Sione, to supply this impressive umu feast. Those who do manage to get a table will be treated to Lilo’s Restaurant‘s ensemble of Niuean delicacies including uga, crayfish, lupe (Pacific pigeon), peka (flying fox), spitroast pork, takihi, taro, ota ika and oh so much more!

Location: Look out for the lights and marque at the northern entrance to Hakupu village, southeast coast of Niue.

Where to Try Uga in Niue© NiuePocketGuide.com

3. Niue Market

Back to cooking fresh uga yourself, 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 Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (see the 5 Best Markets in Niue for the usual schedule). 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.

Location: Along the main road next to the Visitor Information Centre, Alofi town centre, central west coast of Niue.

Where to Try Uga in Niue© NiuePocketGuide.com

4. Niue’s Cultural Events – Village Show Days

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 are at the 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 takes 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?

Location: All over Niue!

Where to Try Uga in Niue© Niue Tourism

5. Niue Arts & Culture Festival

Another event worth timing your visit for if you’re super eager to try uga is the Niue Arts & Culture Festival. The week-long event celebrates all things Niuean including its cuisine! The festival is bi-annual, typically happening around Easter. Learn more about the event in The Top Events & Festivals in Niue and see if it is happening this year on the Niue Tourism events page.

Location: Typically the Alofi Commercial Centre but see the link above for the upcoming event location.

Where to Try Uga in Niue© Niue Tourism

More About Uga and Traditional Food in Niue

That’s it for our guide on where to try uga to eat in Niue. For more about sampling traditional cuisine, take a look at the following guides:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Guide to Food in Niue: Where to Eat, Food Tours & More.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Niue Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. He is also consulting regularly with Niue Tourism to ensure content accuracy. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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