It's a Samoan pub.

October 9, 2006: The beginning of my adventure in the Peace Corps. I've been invited to serve as an Information and Communication Techonology volunteer to teach computer skills in Samoa. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are mine and do not in any way reflect the views of the Peace Corps, the US government, or the country of Samoa.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Samoan Food

I want you to keep in mind that if you are willing to pay for it you can get nearly anything you want to eat in Samoa. The stores sell tons of things, like cans of tuna fish, raisin bran, yogurt, granola, microwave popcorn, and M&Ms. There’s even a McDonald’s in Apia if you get the craving (believe me, when we first stepped into the Samoan airport and saw the huge poster advertising McDonald’s we all began to wonder if we were in the right place.) This entry, however, will only discuss the foods commonly consumed in the villages of Samoa.

Let us first talk about our available resources. There are numerous fish that can be found (both in the water and in cans from the store) as well as eels and shell fish. Samoa doesn’t have many land animals. In fact, there are only three species of mammal native to Samoa and all of them are types of bat. However, there are now cows, pigs, and chickens enough to go around (all imported a couple hundred years ago along with Christianity and pants). We have coconuts, of course, which find their way into numerous Samoan culinary creations through coconut cream. After a coconut is husked, using a sharp metal stake, and opened by being struck several times with a rock. The insides are then scraped out. When these scrapings are wrung out, they produce a cream. There are two types of coconut, the ripe coconut (niu) and the mature coconut (popo). The popo is used for making coconut cream and is the type of coconut that can be purchased in the States. The niu has a thinner, softer meat and is completely full of liquid. When this is opened, either a small hole is drilled in or only the very top is broken off so that it can be drunk.

Some other local vegetation used for cooking include mangos, papayas, bananas, breadfruit, and taro. There are also onions, pumpkins, tomatoes and pineapple.

A Few Local Foods (Baked foods are prepared in an umu, a traditional method of cooking. Ovens are rare but there are many camp stoves used for boiling.):

palusami - banana leaves filled with coconut cream and baked
fasipovi – beef
oka – raw fish with coconut cream
sea – sea cucumber
supo fa’i – banana soup
supo moa - chicken soup (sometimes with cabbage and pumpkin)

Taro and bananas are usually baked in coconut cream and breadfruit is just baked. We also have innumerable foreign delicacies like Ramen, turkey tail, mutton, canned corn beef, and special heat-treated milk from Australia that has a very long shelf life (which actually is really weird at first but is easy to get used to).


Anonymous Jomo said...

coconuts... but what about the rum?! let's make sure we remember what's important, now.

8:58 PM GMT-11  

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