Located in the South Pacific, Samoa is a tropical paradise that is known for its pristine beaches, lush jungles, and friendly people. But if you’re a foodie, you’ll want to know about Samoa’s incredible cuisine, which is a unique blend of Polynesian, Asian, and European influences. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the island’s tastiest dishes, as well as the best places to find them.
Traditional Samoan Cuisine
Traditional Samoan cuisine is heavily influenced by the islands’ history and geography. Before European colonization, Samoans relied heavily on fishing, farming, and gathering wild fruits and vegetables for their sustenance. Today, these traditional foods are still popular and can be found in many restaurants and markets around the island.
Poke (pronounced poh-keh) is a raw fish salad that is popular in many Pacific Island cultures, including Samoa. It typically consists of diced pieces of raw fish (usually tuna or salmon) that are marinated in a flavorful sauce made with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and green onions. Some variations may also include seaweed, cucumber, and avocado. Poke is a delicious and healthy dish that can be found in many restaurants and markets throughout Samoa.
Palusami is a traditional Samoan dish that consists of taro leaves that are filled with coconut cream and baked in an umu (an underground oven). The resulting dish is rich, creamy, and savory, with a texture similar to spinach or collard greens. Palusami is often served as a side dish with other Samoan dishes, but it can also be eaten on its own.
Oka is a raw fish dish that is popular in many Pacific Island cultures, including Samoa. It typically consists of diced pieces of raw fish (usually tuna or salmon) that are marinated in lemon or lime juice, coconut cream, and onions. Some variations may also include diced tomatoes, cucumber, and chili peppers. Oka is a refreshing and flavorful dish that is perfect for hot days in Samoa.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’re in luck in Samoa. The island has a variety of delicious desserts that are sure to satisfy any craving.
Pani popo is a sweet, coconut milk bread that is popular in Samoa. The bread is typically baked in an umu (an underground oven) and is then soaked in a sweet coconut milk sauce. The resulting dish is sweet, creamy, and absolutely delicious. Pani popo can be found in many bakeries and markets throughout Samoa.
Fa’ausi is a sweet, sticky dessert made from taro and coconut cream. The taro is cooked until it is soft and then mashed together with coconut cream and sugar. The resulting mixture is then wrapped in banana leaves and cooked until it is sticky and sweet. Fa’ausi is a rich and indulgent dessert that is perfect for special occasions.
No meal is complete without a refreshing beverage to wash it down. Fortunately, Samoa has a variety of delicious drinks to choose from.
Koko Samoa is a traditional Samoan drink made from roasted cocoa beans. The beans are ground into a powder, mixed with hot water and sugar, and then strained to create a rich, chocolatey drink. Koko Samoa is often served during special occasions, such as weddings or funerals, and is also a popular breakfast drink.
Taro milkshakes are a popular drink in Samoa, especially during the hot summer months. The drink is made from cooked tartaro, coconut milk, and ice, blended together until smooth and creamy. Some versions may also include vanilla extract or honey for added sweetness. Taro milkshakes are a refreshing and indulgent treat that can be found in many restaurants and cafes throughout Samoa.
Best Places to Try Samoan Cuisine
If you’re looking to experience the best of Samoan cuisine, here are some of the top places to check out:
Paddles Restaurant & Bar
Located in the capital city of Apia, Paddles Restaurant & Bar is known for its delicious seafood dishes and stunning ocean views. Some of the must-try dishes include the oka (raw fish salad), fish and chips, and palusami (taro leaves stuffed with coconut cream). They also have a great selection of cocktails and mocktails to complement your meal.
Tanoa Tusitala Hotel
The Tanoa Tusitala Hotel is a beautiful resort that is located just a short distance from Apia’s city center. Their restaurant, Mailelani’s Kitchen, offers a variety of Samoan and international dishes, including some of the island’s best oka and palusami. They also have a great selection of vegetarian and vegan options.
Amanaki Hotel is a boutique hotel that is located in the heart of Apia. Their restaurant, Tu’utu’uileloloto, serves up some of the best Samoan cuisine on the island, including oka, palusami, and taro fries. They also have a great selection of tropical cocktails and mocktails to enjoy.
Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Bungalows
Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Bungalows is a historic hotel that has been welcoming guests to Samoa since the early 1900s. Their restaurant, Aggie Grey’s Bistro, offers a wide range of Samoan and international dishes, including some of the island’s best seafood. They also have a great selection of cocktails and mocktails to enjoy.
Samoa Cultural Village
For a truly authentic Samoan experience, be sure to visit the Samoa Cultural Village in Apia. Here, you can learn about Samoan culture and history, as well as try some of the island’s traditional dishes, including oka, palusami, and fa’ausi.
In conclusion, Samoa’s cuisine is a delicious blend of traditional Pacific Island flavors and modern culinary techniques. From raw fish salads to coconut milk bread and taro milkshakes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So be sure to try some of these tasty dishes and visit some of the island’s top restaurants to experience the best of Samoan cuisine.