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The travel ABCs of Samoa: S is for Samoan food

Lick your lips and tempt your taste buds, because it's time for the most delicious travel ABCs of Samoa article to date. Here we talk about authentic Samoan food to try on your holiday, as well as a simple recipe budding chefs can create before you fly over. 

First things first, learn the lingo

Ota: fresh fish salad 

Puligi: pudding

Suamasi: cracker soup

Alaisa fa'apopo: coconut rice 

Fa'alifu: savoury coconut sauce (see below for recipe!)

Keke Fa'i: banana cake

Palusami: baby taro leaves doused in coconut cream and baked 

Oka: raw fish served in coconut cream 

Umu: food baked inside an oven-pit. No oil is used in this cooking process, making it super healthy, because fish and meat are wrapped in banana leaves before being placed within the oven's heat. A delicacy is octopus cooked in an umu using coconut cream, then served to you inside a coconut shell. Yum!

All of these are must-taste dishes during your stay in Samoa. Often, many of these delicacies will be served as part of a banquet feast offered during Fiafia night celebrations in most resorts. 

Fa'alifu recipe by Panipopos for Samoa Food 


  • One medium onion
  • One can (400ml) coconut milk
  • Half or one teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • Choose a starchy root crop, such as taro, yams or potatoes. Locals use staple fruits such as ulu (breadfruit) or fa'i mata (green bananas)


  1. Peel and wash your chosen root or fruit. Cut if you desire. 
  2. Put in a saucepan, add water, bring to a boil.
  3. Let simmer until tender enough to pierce with a fork
  4. Drain them and set aside, covered in tinfoil 
  5. Chop or dice the onion 

Cooking instructions for sauce 

  1. Mix the coconut milk, chopped onions and salt in the saucepan 
  2. Simmer for three to five minutes, or until onions are cooked through
  3. For a thicker sauce, add 80ml of water mixed with two teaspoons of flour to the sauce

Voila! Pour your sauce generously over the chosen root or fruit and dig in.