The Guide to Food in Samoa

Most people do not usually think of Samoa as a foodie destination. Samoa is a land of hearty food and hearty people. Most of the food is grown or raised locally which means in order to really experience the cuisine, you need to eat with locals. This is easiest done by staying in a family run fale. So what are some of the things you can expect?

Breadfruit

Breadfruit is a common food on the islands of the South Pacific. It is a large roundish fruit which is incredibly starchy. If you are thinking it will be “fruity”, well you will be in for a surprise. The breadfruit has a similar texture and flavour to potato, and like the potato is in Northern cultures, the breadfruit is a staple food in Samoa.

Breadfruit was often served on the side of dishes, with a light coconut cream drizzled over top.

Breadfruit is commonly served as a side dish
Breadfruit is commonly served as a side dish

Fresh Coconut

Nothing beats fresh drinking coconuts. They were available everywhere and for pennies. One of the first things that was handed to me when I arrived at a new accommodation was a fresh coconut. The water is delicious, and a great hydrator…  which is prefect since my North American self does not deal well with tropical climates. And once you are done drinking the water, you can break open the coconut and eat the soft delicious flesh inside.

Most of the fale’s have an endless supply of coconuts for guests, but if you are staying in Apia you can still get a hold of this delicious drink. The central market always has coconut sellers where you can chose your coconut, and they will cut a hole in it and give you a straw to enjoy.

Taro

Taro is another starchy food common in the Pacific Islands. However, instead of a fruit this is a root vegetable.

Umu

Umu isn’t a type of food – it’s a type of cooking. Umu cooking is a type of oven in the ground. I was lucky enough to experience an authentic Umu while in Samoa. The best way to experience an Umu is to meet a local family (the best way to meet locals is at church, Samoans are very religious people), although some resorts do offer Umu’s to guests and non guests when you book ahead.

food in samoa umu

Oka

This is a type of traditional fish salad. The fish can be any type of fish, but it needs to be as fresh as possible. The fish is served raw, but the lime juice in the recipe actually cooks the fish in a way. The rest of the salad focuses on coconut milk and diced vegetables. This is a must have while in Samoa. I am not a great lover of fish, but I loved Oka.

14 thoughts on “The Guide to Food in Samoa

  1. Fresh Coconut juice is always my favourite tropical drink especially those sunny afternoons. Most of the foods that you have mentioned I have never heard of them but I would love to try them.

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  2. I’ve just eaten breakfast but this has got me licking my lips as if I could eat a whole extra meal.

    To be honest I’d never considered what the Samoan kitchen might be like, but I’m pleasantly surprised.

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  3. Very interesting – breadfruit sounds particularly appealing.

    I’m in Thailand right now and having as much young coconut as I can – it’s delicious, healthy, cheap and so refreshing! It has nothing to do with the “coconut juice” you can buy elsewhere in the world!

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