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by Rena Fulgencio, staff writer

Talofa! Take your taste buds to the South Pacific. Located east of the international dateline just under the equator, the Samoa archipelago is roughly halfway between Hawai‘i and New Zealand. It consists of two volcanic islands, Upolu and Savai‘i, and several small islets.

Just like Hawai’i, Fa’a Samoa or the “traditional Samoan way” is rich in culture, especially when it comes to food. The Umu, a customary above-the-ground oven heated by lava rocks, is a unique method of cooking Samoan foods. It is usually used only for special Sunday meals or feasts at celebrations.

Samoan cuisine is characterized by coconut milk and cream. Other staples include taro, bananas, breadfruit, pork or chicken, and fresh-caught seafood. You will notice that Samoan dishes are not heavily spiced or seasoned when you try these recipes at home:

Oka I’a (Raw Fish in Coconut Cream)

3 lbs. raw fish
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
1 cup crabmeat
1 cup diced onions
1 cup sliced cucumbers
*salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine and mix all the ingredients, then serve chilled.

Fa’alifu Fa’i (Banana Soup)

2 bunches green bananas
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup diced onions
*use salt to taste

First, peel the bananas. Then, place the peeled bananas in a large pot. Cover with water completely and bring to a boil. Continue cooking until bananas are tender. Drain the water. Then add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil again, stirring occasionally.

Sauce should be thick in consistency when done. Serve hot.

Banana Poi

1 lb. ripe bananas
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup coconut milk
*use lemon zest and sugar to taste

First peel the bananas. Then, mash the bananas in a large bowl until smooth. Next, mix in the coconut milk and vanilla. Then, stir in the lemon zest and sugar. Finally, serve over ice.

Now that you have a little taste of Samoan cuisine, you can actively learn more about Samoa by joining Hawai’i Pacific University’s United Samoan Organization.

For more information contact the club via e-mail: usohpu@yahoo.com or llauvao@hpu.edu (Advisor).




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