Marcellin College

Fa’a Samoa: The Samoan Way

Samoan Food

by Angeline

As in other Pacific countries Samoan people love their food. Food is also considered very significant in the Samoan way of life.

There are a number of Samoan foods that Samoans and people all over the world enjoy. These famous Samoan foods include, pisupo (corned beef), oka (raw fish in coconut cream), sapasui (meat mixed in vermicelli, water, ginger and soy sauce), povi masima (salted beef) and luau (taro leaves, coconut cream and onion).

A famous way of preparing food in Samoa is the umu. An umu is a special way Samoans cook their food. Firstly by starting a fire and then placing smooth stones over it to retain the heat. When the stones are hot different kinds of foods such as luau, breadfruit, and fa'i (bananas) are placed on the umu. An umu is normally cooked for special occasions such as, birthdays, weddings, funerals, appointing new Matai (chiefs), building of new houses and faalavelave.

We took the time to survey the four Samoan students in a year 10 class at Marcellin College hoping to find out what their favourite Samoan foods were.

Name of Students: Samoan Food Preferred by Our Samoan Students:
Noelle taro sapasui oka fa’i
Jayden taro sapasui luau chow mein
Vera taro sapasui oka pisupo
Izzard taro sapasui luau pisupo

In our findings, the four students mentioned some of the most popular Samoan foods. Our survey also showed the influence that the Chinese immigrants who came to Samoa to work have had on the Samoan food culture. The Samoans adopted Chinese chop suey and turned it into sapasui. The Chinese also brought chow mein.

In my family we try to cook Samoan food as many times during the week as possible. In the Samoan culture, Sundays are believed to be a day of family gatherings, prayer, and feasting. So after Sunday church services my family gather for a toana’i. Toana’i is the Samoan term for a feast. My favourite Samoan foods are sapasui, oka and of course my fathers famous faalifu talo (taro in coconut cream). Food has been and will always be a huge part of the Samoan culture. Being a New Zealand born Samoan, I have learnt a great amount about my culture through our traditional Samoan food.