In Samoan culture food is a social event that brings together family and friends to share what bountiful wonders nature has provided.
As the sun rises in the east, young men are paddling their canoes out in the lagoon to catch fish, while others have gone into the plantations to cultivate and harvest what is needed for the daily meals.
The bounty of the ocean provides crayfish, snapper, masimasi, octopus, tuna and more, caught that morning and served that evening.
The plantations of bananas, taro, tropical fruits and vegetables picked that day add to the freshness of the meals.
And with the freshness of all this bounty, it’s the flavours that have your taste buds wondering why it never tastes this good at home.
With this abundance of food, selection becomes the hardest decision to make. Breakfast could be on the beach dining on papaya, picked from the tree nearby or fresh bananas from the bunch dangling from the banana tree – how fresh is that!
If you’re at a hotel or resort the buffets are vast and plentiful leaving you pondering for choice.
If you’re out in the villages dining with a family, you won’t see the microwave and stoves, for out the back is a cooking fale where the umu (earth oven of hot stones) is laid three times a day to cook the meals.
No oils used here, fishing is wrapped in banana leaves with freshly made coconut cream poured over, pork and chickens are cooked whole and tucked in the gaps are taro and green bananas ready for baking and octopus in coconut cream placed in half coconut shells.
Then once the stones are red hot and the food placed on them, banana leaves are placed all over the food to seal in the heat and two hours later the umu is lifted, the piping hot food is served, no artificial flavours and additives used here.
All of the hotel and resorts offer traditional Samoan food, usually at their Fiafia nights, with traditional buffets and entertainment.
Delicacies on the Samoan menu include palusami (young taro leaves baked in coconut cream) and oka, (raw fish in coconut cream), both are must try dishes on any holiday.