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Samoa Travel Guide

Samoan Food

Try palusami—thick coconut cream, onions, canned corned beef (pisupo), and young taro leaves wrapped in a breadfruit leaf, then baked on hot stones and served on slices of baked taro—a very tasty dish when well prepared.

Other traditional Samoan specialties include taofolo (kneaded breadfruit and sweet coconut cream wrapped in taro leaves and baked), fa'ausi (grated taro and coconut cream pudding), lua'u (taro leaves cooked in coconut cream), suafa'i (ripe bananas with coconut cream), faia'ife'e (octopus in coconut cream), faiaipusi (sea eel in coconut cream), and oka (marinated raw fish).

If you spend a night in a village or fale resort, notice how almost everything you eat is locally grown. Taro and breadfruit are the staples, but there's also pork, fish, chicken, ta'amu (a large root vegetable like taro), and bananas. If you're a strict vegetarian, mention it at the outset, although this concept is often not understood in Samoa.

In the villages, food is normally eaten with the hands (no cutlery). After a meal with a family, linger a while; it's considered rude for a guest to get up and abruptly leave. Don't continue to occupy the table if others are awaiting their turn to eat, however. Samoans are big people. Most of us eat till we're full, but the Samoans eat till they're tired.

Vailima Lager

Samoa's Vailima beer may be the South Pacific's top beer with more life, sparkle, and bite than any other lager you'll taste around this ocean. Since 1978 it's been brewed at Vaitele between Apia and Faleolo Airport by Samoa Breweries Ltd., presently owned by Fiji's Carlton Brewery, part of the Fosters group. The current brewmaster learned his craft in Bavaria.

Vailima Lager

The version of Vailima sold in Samoa is 4.9 percent alcohol, but if you cross to American Samoa you should reduce your intake slightly because Vailima Export is 6.7 percent. Back in Apia, the same brewery's Eku Bavaria beer is 5.3 percent and excellent (brewed under license from Erste Kulmbacher Aktien-brauerei).

In 1990, 1992, 1995, and 1998, Vailima was awarded the Grand Gold Medal at the Le Monde Selection in Brussels, Belgium, and as you sit in front of a cold one at the RSA Club, On The Rocks, or any one of a dozen atmospheric Apia bars, you'll swear Samoa is paradise, and in this regard you will be right.