Tonga must be one of the hardest places to travel as a vegetarian. They love their meat. If you’re a vegan, plan to bring your own food. Even if you’re a vegetarian, you’ll probably want to bring your own protein sources to avoid your trip being ruined by low-protein-induced crankiness.
– On some islands it’s impossible to buy fruits and vegetables because of a combination of poor quality soil making them difficult to grow and the culture being so meat and root crop centric. This particularly applies to the Ha’apai group (I am not joking in the case of Ha’apai – the local market doesn’t have fruits and veges most of the time. Luckily I knew this before I went). The locals mainly eat meat, root crops, and junk food that is shipped in. Even fish is not as common as you’d expect for islands.
– There are some small supermarkets and a market in the capital. The market sells lots of whatever is in season and none of anything that is not in season. You’ll get to see what totally local/seasonal eating looks like, and that’s quite cool.
– When you fly in, you’ll notice that returning Tongans are bringing in food for relatives due to the very limited variety available in Tonga. Expect to see someone on your flight bringing KFC!
Shelf stable protein sources you can take.
– Tofu in an aseptic pack (the non-refridgerated carton/boxes such as Muri-Nu tofu).
– Small cartons of soy milk and cereal of some kind.
– Indian packet meals (the cook in the bag kind so all you need is hot water. If you aren’t staying somewhere that usually offers kitchen facilities, just ask them to boil it for you. I took my own pot, so I just handed over my pot with the bag in it).
– Tins of beans and bags of corn chips.
As well as your food, if you’re going to the outer islands (and don’t bother going to Tonga if you’re not going to do this) take your own small pot and a camping stove. It means you can go to a remote a beach for the day, be the only one there, and get some protein/a hot meal. You’ll enjoy the day more/have more energy/be able to stay out and about longer.