The South Pacific Region is home to amazingly fresh seafood and tropical fruits and vegetables. Each of the island nations has their own cuisine and traditional dishes. The country of Samoa is the perfect spot to immerse in the local culture and its favourite food.
Every day locals board their boats or canoes or use their traps, nets and hand fishing lines to ensure that their families and communities, and in extension yourself as a valued guest, have access to the freshest seafood there is. Their bounty consists of crayfish, snapper, masimasi, octopus, tuna and more, usually caught in the morning and served on the same day.
When in Apia try the amazing the “Poke”, a dish of marinated raw tuna, at Amanaki Restaurant or taste their sashimi with a side of sea grapes (also known as “green caviar” as these shiny pearls “pop” almost like a frond of roe). The owners of Amanaki have their own boats, so fresh seafood is guaranteed. Or visit Paddles Restaurant, very close to Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey's Hotel & Bungalows. They offer, amongst other dishes, delicious seafood and cocktails. Why not try a seared tuna steak?
A lot of the resorts and hotels in Samoa offer a high-standard food quality and almost all of them will serve their version of “Oka”, which is raw fish in coconut cream, often with lemon or lime juice and vegetables like cucumber, onions and/or tomato.
Fruits & Vegetables
Samoa boasts plantations of bananas, taro, tropical fruits and vegetables and makes the farm-to-table concept very simple. In a lot of hotels the fresh fruit you enjoy for breakfast or in your dessert comes directly from their gardens or plantations nearby.
A fantastic delicacy that can’t be missed is “Palusami” - young taro leaves baked in coconut cream. Another dish to try is “Sua Fa’i”, a local banana soup or for the sweet teeth amongst you, the Masi Samoa, a kind of coconut shortbread.
Umu - The Earth Oven
Like their neighbours, Samoans also use an earth oven to cook a lot of their traditional meals. Out in the villages you usually won’t see microwaves or stoves, because the real Samoan food is cooked in the so-called “Umu” with hot stones.
Here they use no oils, fish is usually wrapped in banana leaves with freshly made coconut cream, and meat and poultry like pork and chicken can be cooked whole. The gaps are used to bake taro and green bananas in. Sometimes even an octopus is placed in half coconut shells to cook in the umu. Once the stones are sufficiently hot and all food is placed inside, banana leaves are placed on top to keep in the heat. Within a couple of hours the feast is ready to be enjoyed.
A lot of hotels and resorts like the Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort or Aga Reef Resort for example, offer you the opportunity to try some traditional food during their FiaFia Nights. These colourful displays are a celebration of Samoan culture and usually boast a traditional buffet and entertainment featuring beautiful songs, graceful dances and the spectacular fire knife dance.
Make sure to visit the Fugalei Fresh Produce Market in Apia for a local experience and delicious fruits, vegetables and some cooked Samoan favourites to nibble on. The market is open 7 days a week and also sells trinkets and souvenirs.
The local Samoan beer, like Taula or Vailima, is very refreshing on a hot and humid day, while a delicious cocktail served in a coconut makes for the ultimate island-holiday accessory. Or you can simply drink the coconut water and then eat the tasty coconut meat after you have quenched your thirst. There are also some fantastic mocktails, milkshakes, or freshly squeezed juices that you can try. A more traditional drink and very important to the local culture is the 'ava (sometimes known as kava). This is a drink made from the ground root of the pepper plant and is often reserved for visiting royalty and dignitaries.