Traditional Samoan umu food overlay
Coconut shell baked fish, palusami & roast talo

Samoan Food

Being an island nation, seafood features widely across Samoan dishes, complemented by delicious tropical fruit and vegetables.

Traditionally, meals cooked in the umu, or stone earth oven, include root vegetables found in the tropics such as taro (talo), and breadfruit (ulu).

Fruit is plentiful, including bananas, mangos, papaya, star fruit and pineapple.

Coconut is used widely through a variety of dishes, while meat used in Samoan meals is normally chicken (moa) and pork.

Popular dishes with locals and visitors alike include palusami, young taro leaves baked in coconut cream - which is very rich - and oka, raw fish in coconut cream.

Foods of Samoa

Samoan cuisine is based around fresh tropical fruit and vegetables, locally grown meats and - of course - plentiful seafood straight from the ocean.

Traditional island food includes root vegetables such as taro (talo) and breadfruit (ulu), which is prepared using quintessentially Polynesian flavours such as coconut cream. 

Favourite dishes

A favourite dish with visitors to Samoa and locals alike is palusami: baked coconut cream cooked inside coconut leaves in the umu (earth oven). Another local staple is oka, or raw fish marinated in coconut cream, lemon juice, chilli and onions.

Samoa dishes often include pork, chicken (moa) and fish (i’a).

Of course, being an island nation, seafood features widely on any Samoan menu. Sample freshly caught crayfish, octopus, snapper, tuna or whatever else happens to be the catch of the day, often served with locally grown tropical fruits such as papayas, mangos, pineapples star fruit and bananas.

The perfect pairing

Enjoy a true Samoan feast paired with locally brewed beer to experience the real and unforgettable flavours of the Pacific.


Fishing has been central to Samoan life for thousands of years, with the sea traditionally providing the family’s daily meals.

Today fish (i’a) such as snapper and tuna along with other seafood such as crayfish, masimasi, and octopus, are still caught every day and form an important part of modern Samoan culture.

Visitors will find fresh seafood on most restaurant or cafe menus or find the mornings’ catch at Apia’s fish market. The bounty of the ocean provides crayfish, snapper, masimasi, octopus, eel, tuna and much more.

Be sure to ask for the Samoan delicacy of palolo.