New Zealand’s cuisine is largely driven by local ingredients and seasonal variations. An island nation with a primarily agricultural economy, New Zealand yields produce from land and sea. Similar to the cuisine of Australia, the cuisine of New Zealand is a diverse British-based cuisine, with Mediterranean and Pacific Rim influences as the country becomes more cosmopolitan.
When the indigenousMāori arrived in New Zealand from tropical Polynesia they had a number of food plants, including kūmara (sweet potato), taro and tī. The plants grew well only in the north of the North Island. Native New Zealand plants such as fernroot became a more important part of the diet, along with insects such as the huhu grub. Problems with horticulture were made up for by an abundance of bird and marine life. The large flightless moa were soon hunted to extinction.Rāhui (resource restrictions) included forbidding the hunting of certain species in particular places or at certain times of year, so that the numbers could regenerate.
Preparation of a modern hāngi for tourists at Mitai Maori Village, Rotorua.
Like other Polynesian people, Māori cooked food in earth ovens, known in New Zealand as hāngi, although the word umu is also used as in other Pacific languages. Stones are heated by fire and food packed in leaves are placed on top. The packs are further covered with foliage and cloth, or, wet sacks, then earth. Other cooking methods included roasting and, in geothermal areas, boiling or steaming using natural hot springs and pools. Occasionally food would be boiled in non-geothermal areas by putting hot stones into a bowl with water and the food; and some food was also cooked over the open fire. Some foods were preserved using smoke, air-drying, or layers of fat—particularly muttonbirds. Māori were one of the few people to have no form of alcoholic beverage.
9 Polynesian Foods to Eat at the Polynesian Cultural Center
By Mark Wiens
Nothing goes with culture better than food.
When we were in Hawaii, my wife Ying and I were invited to the Polynesian Cultural Center to explore the different Polynesian villages, and to experience Polynesian food.
I got to try some of the popular snacks and foods from some of the major Polynesian islands, and I’m about to share everything we ate with you in this blog post.
Right after we put thepig to rest in the imu, we walked around the Polynesian Cultural Center for a Taste of Polynesia.
What is the Polynesian Cultural Center?
ThePolynesian Cultural Centeris a cultural center in the small town of Laie, towards the north shore of the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
The center is set up as a place to preserve and to learn about the major cultures and countries of Polynesia, and they do a great job of making it a fun and entertaining experience.
The countries represented include Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and Aotearoa (New Zealand).
For each country there’s a traditional home and village setup, each showing a glimpse into the local life on that island.
Each country has a show schedule, where employees, typically from the country they are representing, dance or sing or perform a show from their country.
Taste of Polynesia
There are a number of snack bars located throughout the villages, and along with serving a small selection of typical refreshments, there’s also the “Taste of Polynesia,” where a few local snacks or light meals are served from the country represented.
When we visited the Polynesian Cultural Center it was our mission to move from village to village and sample all 9 Polynesian foods on the Taste of Polynesia menu.
Let’s get started…
Our first stop was at the village of Samoa.
By the way, if you have time to attend the Samoa village show, it was pretty entertaining. They showed all the uses in the Samoan culture for the coconut, from eating the meat, to using the husk to start a fire, and even using a coconut to play rugby.
The snack bar had a number of typical snacks like chips and sodas, but I went straight for the Taste of Polynesia menu and ordered one of everything they offered.
1. Sausage and gravy – Samoa
The first thing we tried was sausage and gravy, similar tobangers and mash, but with rice instead of mashed potatoes.
Due to the strong British influence throughout the history of Samoa, there are many similarities and influences in the local modern cuisine.
The sausage was cut into large bite sized pieces, and cooked in thick brown gravy.
It was nice and meaty, not too fatty, with a good texture and flavor – overall I thought the sausage was very good quality. The gravy enhanced it even more, and went well with the rice as well.
2. Panipopo – Samoa
Next up was panipopo, something I had never seen or tried before.
As soon as I ordered it, she added a fresh and still warm roll to a paper plate, then topped it with a few spoons of thick coconut creamy gravy.
The roll wasn’t sweet on its own, it was almost like a white bun, very fluffy and airy, with a wonderful lightness to it.
The sweetness came from the coconut cream, which was thick like gravy, and lightly sweetened.
The combination of bread and coconut cream made the panipopo kind of like cake and frosting, except lighter and not as sweet.
I’m not a big sweets eater, but I thought the panipopo was pretty good, and my wife especially really enjoyed it.
3. Half-Moon pineapple pie – Samoa
Our last Polynesian snack at the Samoan village at Polynesian Cultural Center was a Half-Moon pineapple pie, which came shaped like anempanada.
The pie was filled with a pineapple flavored creamy inside that was custardy and silky smooth. The outside dough wrapper was nice and crumbly.
If you like pastries, this was pretty good, but I enjoyed the panipopo better.
Moving on, we meandered our way over to the village of Tonga, where there was just one thing on the Taste of Polynesia menu: ‘Otai.
4. ‘Otai – Tonga
Made with seasonal fresh fruit, ‘otai is a milky fruity beverage found throughout parts of western Polynesia, especially in Tonga.
During the season we went, they were offering it with lychee, peach, and green apple, but they change the fruits throughout the year, so it will depend on when you visit.
It was sort of a cross between a milky beverage and a pudding, but it was liquid enough to drink without needing a spoon. The fruit was in small pieces and partly pureed, but it was still nice and pulpy.
The ‘otai was almost like a milk fruit salad.
For me it was a bit too sweet, but it was nice and refreshing while walking around on a hot day.
While eating through the Polynesian Cultural Center we passed through all the villages, enjoying some of the shows along the way.
At 2:30 pm each day is the canoe pageant, where each of the countries performs a dance on a boat while gliding through the river that runs through the middle of the center.
The show was very good, very entertaining, and what I really liked was the traditional clothing and outfits of each of the countries, and the differences, yet similarities, between the islands.
Proceeding on our Polynesian food adventure, we made our way to the next snack bar, this time for a couple more sweet desserts from Hawaii and Tahiti.
5. Koelepalau – Hawaii
Though I’ve been to Hawaii many times, this was my first time to try koelepalau, a purple sweet potato coconut pudding.
The koelepalau had the texture of mashed potatoes, but it was more sticky and glue-like, almost like a cross between mashed potatoes and peanut butter – it sort of stuck to the roof of my mouth, but in a good way.
It wasn’t too sweet, mostly naturally sweet from the sweet potato and the coconut milk.
I thought the koelepalau was very good, and this was one of my wife’s favorite things we ate during the day.
6. Po’e – Tahiti
Next up was a Tahitian po’e, this version prepared with bananas, and made into something like a fruit cake or pudding, then baked, and covered in coconut cream.
What I loved about the Tahitian po’e was that, as they told us, the recipe didn’t use any sugar, but rather just relied on the sweetness of the bananas.
The bananas were extremely ripe, then baked with a bit of tapioca starch so they turned pudding like and slightly gelatinous, and finally topped with coconut cream that wasn’t sweetened either.
It think this was my favorite dessert of our Polynesian food tour, great flavor, rich from the coconut milk, and not too sweet.
Our last stop on the Taste of Polynesia food tour was halfway in-between Fiji andAotearoa(New Zealand).
Since I had eaten a few sweet dishes already, I was more than ready for something salty, and at this next stop all three items were.
7. Fijian curry – Fiji
Any type of curry, from India to Thailand, has always been one of my favorite genres of foods in the world, so I was happy to see Fijian curry on the menu.
Fiji has a large population of Indians with a strong Indian influence in the culture and cuisine.
This Fijian curry, which was cooked with chicken, was made from a family recipe from one of the Fijian staff at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Without doubt, the Fijian curry was my favorite dish of our food tour.
The chicken, carrots, and potatoes were all tender, and the sauce was nicely flavored with curry powder, the cumin and turmeric coming through nicely.
Along with hot steamed rice, it was my style of comfort food. The Fijian curry was the best dish for me.
I’ve never been to New Zealand (although I would love to visit), but under the influence of Britain again, meat pies are extremely common and loved.
This meat pie was filled with minced beef and cheese, wrapped in dough, and baked.
The meat pie was also very good, and it included a good amount of minced beef topped with cheese, and a nice ratio of insides to dough.
The bottom of the dough was slightly gooey and soft, while the top was flaky and crispy.
For meat pie lovers, this is a satisfying snack option when you’re walking around the Polynesian Cultural Center.
9. Egg, bacon & cheese quiche – Aotearoa
The egg, bacon & cheese quiche was pretty tasty as well, a little puff of pasty dough, filled with egg, cheese, and bacon stuffed into the middle.
Price– $2.50 each or 2 for $4.5
It was served out of a hot box, so it stayed warm when I ordered and ate it. The pastry was flaky and buttery, and the inside was like a fluffy omelet.
This final snack hit the spot, a salty and crunchy snack.
The Polynesian Cultural Center is an attraction in Hawaii that highlights the major island nations of Polynesia in a series of villages, performances, cultural displays, and a few snacks bars that serve a variety of Polynesian foods.
M wife and I had a great day exploring the center and we managed to eat all 9 foods from the Taste of Polynesia menu while walking around.
Food has always been the reason I love to travel, so in my opinion there’s no better way to learn about the islands of Polynesia than by tasting them.
Of everything I ate, the Fijian curry was my favorite!
NOTE: I was sponsored for the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, so I got free entrance and food, but I wasn’t paid to write this blog post, and as always, all opinions throughout this blog, thoughts, photos, and videos are my own.
Tahiti has plenty of action beyond the beach, as Lucy Gillmore discovered.
ft;margin-right:6px;”>By Lucy Gillmore.
Hilton resort, Moorea
‘Bora is boring.” With a Gallic shrug, Thibault, the manager of the chic new gourmet restaurant on Moorea, Le Coco’s, dismissed the island that has been enticing honeymooners to its reef-wrapped sands since the first resort was built in 1961.
Bora Bora, a byword for a Garden of Eden tropical paradise, has style in spades, but no substance, apparently. Within its ring of coral reef-fringed resorts time seems to have a dream-like quality as visitors gaze soulfully into each other’s eyes, wander across silken sand, paddle a turquoise sea – and not much else, or at least that was the gist.
Not that I would know. I was bypassing Bora Bora’s romantic torpor for an adventure-packed, culture-laced trip to three other French Polynesian islands: Moorea, Taha’a and that other bucket-list fantasy, Tahiti. French Polynesia’s 118 islands are sprinkled like confetti across an area the size of Europe – 5.5 million square kilometres of ocean – and clustered into five archipelagos: the Society, Tuamotu, Gambier, Marquesas and Austral islands.
Tahiti, Moorea and Taha’a are part of the 14-strong Society archipelago, named by Captain Cook in the 18th century. Now, as then, they tick all the traditional paradise boxes: palm trees, white sand, turquoise water, Finding Nemo on a loop beneath the surface. After crossing half the globe rather more swiftly than Cook, I was greeted at Tahiti airport with a garland of intoxicatingly heady tiare flowers. This is the place that seduced the likes of Paul Gauguin and, more recently, the late Marlon Brando, who bought an atoll, Tetiaroa, after filming Mutiny on the Bounty there in the 1960s. Last year, it opened to guests as The Brando resort.
Tahiti itself, however, is often just the jumping-off point for misty-eyed honeymooners. But, those who bypass it are missing a trick. The rugged, volcanic interior is straight out of Jurassic Park. You can climb to the top of Fautau’a waterfall, cascading 135 metres through a series of basins, or scale Mount Aora’I, a full-day trek around eight hours – or two days if you bed down in the mountain shelter.
I started gently, with a half-day hike through the verdant Orofero Valley. My guide, Herve Maraetaata, was armed with a machete, a bandana on his head, his body covered with intricate tattoos – the story of his life etched across his skin.
Tattoos were banned in 1819, along with dancing, music and the worship of Polynesian gods – those missionaries and settlers were a liberal bunch – however, many of the traditional customs have since been revived.
With his machete, Herve cut walking sticks to help me ford rivers as we tramped and slithered through this isolated valley, the slopes a tangle of thick vegetation, waterfalls rippling through the greenery. Hacking at sugar cane stalks for me to suck, he pointed out coffee bushes, once farmed here, as well as tomatoes, oranges, pineapples and chillis, before digging up a ginger root for me to taste. If you got lost here you could easily survive on fruit – although you might be attacked by wild boar, whose tracks Herve pointed out in the earth.
Hiking in the forest
As I scrabbled through the undergrowth he wove tales about his ancestors – the first settlers who arrived here from South-east Asia in large canoes, his grandmother who could diagnose and treat sickness using nature’s pharmacy.
He pointed out the giant roots of a Tree of Life (the banyan tree, or tumu ora in Tahitian) among which mummified bodies were once buried, and the kava plant, the roots of which, when chewed and mixed with saliva, produces a drink with a hallucinogenic effect that was once used in traditional rites. This is a Tahiti, not seen by the cruise ships docking in the capital, Papeete. They come for a whistlestop tour of the island’s colonial heritage and a grass-skirted, cocktail-laced show, ticking off the home of Mutiny on the Bounty author, James Norman Hall, before sailing on.
Hall’s low slung, green wooden house just outside Papeete, is worth a detour, however. Tahiti cast its spell over Hall, who, arriving here in the 1920s to write travel articles, fell in love with, and married a Tahitian woman. They went on to have three children, one of whom was Conrad Hall, the cinematographer who won Oscars for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, American Beauty and Road to Perdition and was nominated for six more. Both men are buried on the hillside behind the house looking out towards Point Venus and Matavai Bay, where Captain Cook observed the Transit of Venus in 1769 and the Bounty memorial marks the place where Captain Bligh dropped anchor in 1788.
Next stop was Moorea, a wind-whipped catamaran ride from Tahiti. Its jagged, mountainous interior delivers another adventure playground, with thundering waterfalls and cliffs to clamber. The island is less developed than Tahiti and home to just 18,000 people; a single road skirts its coast. I was staying at the Hilton Moorea, a string of thatched over-water bungalows spidering out over the lagoon, blacktip sharks circling each night below the walkways attracted by the lights of the resort. Happily, they skulk back beyond the reef during the day, leaving me to snorkel in the lagoon with a Disney-style array of tropical fish, try stand-up paddle-boarding, and helmet diving – walking along the sea bed among sting rays.
Back up on dry land, I made a beeline for Le Coco’s. The island’s first restaurant when it opened 30 years ago, it is now a local legend. In spring this year, the outpost on Moorea was launched, sleek and stone-clad and dishing up owners’ Thiery and Benedict Sauvage’s take on bistronomie – bistro style but with gastronomic flavours – and overseen by Thibault, the Frenchman with a low opinion of Bora Bora, but a high opinion of vanilla from Taha’a.
He recalled that when working at the Mandarin Oriental in Paris, he was once asked to make a pannacotta. The kitchen had Madagascan, Tahitian and Taha’an vanilla. He inhaled the scent from each before choosing – and using all of – the vanilla from Taha’a. The head chef almost fainted – it is the most expensive in the world, costing around €300 (£220) per kilo.
From Moorea, it’s a quick flight to Raiatea, 210km from Tahiti, and then a short boat trip across to Taha’a or “vanilla island” – a mere three kilometres away and the island with which it shares a lagoon. My base was Le Taha’a resort, on a tiny motu (islet). Arriving as the sun set, I sped towards an angry red sky, Bora Bora looming jagged and black on the horizon.
Le Taha’a is the only five-star resort outside Bora Bora other than The Brando. It’s very different in style, however, from Bora Bora’s honeymoon havens. It’s a wild, rather than polished, Polynesian resort.
I wanted to get a taste of the island’s prized produce and headed off to a vanilla plantation. There are just 6,000 people on Taha’a and 500 vanilla farms. The vanilla here has 14 notes – the strongest aroma is aniseed – because it is allowed to dry naturally for up to two weeks before being spread in the sun for a couple of hours and then in a sauna-style box to sweat. By contrast, vanilla from Madagascar has just nine notes.
The vanilla farm is more of a rustic smallholding, the vanilla laid out to dry on tables in a shed in a clearing surrounded by dense vegetation and other crops such as grapefruit and bananas. Handling the long black pods I could smell the heady sweetness. “It’s the second most expensive spice in the world after saffron,” said my guide as I handed over 3,500 Polynesian Francs (around £20) for a mere 100g. “Put a pod in an airtight container with a little rum or vodka in the bottom” was his parting tip.
Taha’s other claim to fame is black pearls. At the farm I visited, I was given a masterclass in cultured pearls (a small piece of grit or shell is placed in a black lip oyster to form the nucleus, then the oyster secretes nacre on the irritant, creating a lustrous pearl).
Jumping back on the boat, with a bag of vanilla pods and pearls, I motored home to my wild, thatched resort and an afternoon of beachcombing, snorkelling in the tepid turquoise water and lazing beneath a palm tree – anything but boring.
Makali, is seemingly an obscure artist who sings this duo with Beix. In Makali’s musical associations are 4 main references: Mark Tau, music, PNG, One Blood. Makali could be from Hawaii, New Guinea, Samoa or some other part of the Pacific Islands/South Pacific Islands. What a beautiful twist their island voices give to this nostalgic Country song in an English and Island dialect duo.
The song was written in 1967 and had been recorded more than two dozen times. The song had achieved modest success in versions by various performers; the original version byDuane Deereached #44 on the Billboard country chart in early 1968, andLinda Martellsent her version to #33 in early 1970.Jerry Lee Lewisrecorded a version of the song on his 1969 album,Another Place Another Time.
In 1974, record producerHuey P. Meauxapproached Fender about overdubbing vocals for an instrumental track. Fender agreed, performing the song bilingual style — singing the first half of the song in English, then repeating that portion in Spanish.
“The recording only took a few minutes,” Fender once told an interviewer. “I was glad to get it over with and I thought that would be the last of it.”
However, “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” immediately took off in popularity when released to country radio in January 1975. The song ascended to #1 on theBillboardHot Country Singleschart in March, spending two weeks atop the chart.Thereafter, the song caught on just as strongly atTop 40radio stations and it was not long before Fender had a #1BillboardHot 100hit as well.Billboardranked it as the No. 4 song for1975.
The song is about a man’s undaunted determination to save his heart for the just-departed object of his deep (butunrequited) love, and sincere hope that should the woman’s new relationship not work out, she will remember his love and return to him. As originally composed, it is inthirty-two bar form(Fender’s bilingual recording stretches the piece to 48 bars).
A showcase of Fender’stenorand Meaux’s Tex-Mex musical styling, “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” jump-started his career. (Fender’s career had stalled in 1960 after his arrest on drug charges.) In the months and years that followed, Fender recorded several bilingual standards which became major hits, most notably “Secret Love”.
BMI Songwriter Sterling Blythe claimed authorship and recalled having sold the rights to a portfolio of songs, among them “Before the Next Teardrop Falls”, for $4,500 to settle debts when he left Nashville for the West Coast prior to Fender’s recording.
Fender also has recorded a version fully in Spanish, entitled “Estare contigo cuando triste estas”(literally “I will be with you when you are sad”). The Spanish-language second verse in the English version, is the first verse of the fully Spanish version.
DJ Maretimo is a German Lounge & Chillhouse DJ and is spinning his turntables for more than 25 years. He plays the best of chillout, lounge and house music.
Known for its major hits within the electronic scene, DJ Maretimo’s own Record Label “Manifold Records” is not only the perfect place for himself but also for DJ’s around the world. Founded in 1989, the Label can look back on a successful time. The album “Island Of Chill” is over 10 years almost seamlessly in the iTunes Top 100 of all electronic releases and one of the most successful releases of all time.
The Chillout and House tracks selected by DJ Maretimo can be found on hundreds of compilations – the best known example is definitely the series “Cafe del Mar” of the famous Ibiza Chillout Cafe.
AND ALSO TRY THESE (also Pacific Islands) TAHITIAN RECIPES:
SWEET AND TANGY CHICKEN TAHITIAN
15 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce
one (20 oz.) can Dole Pineapple Chunks in Pineapple Juice
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon Kikkoman Sriracha Sauce
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon water
1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
2 Tablespoons sliced green onions (optional)
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Stir until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the soy sauce, pineapple chunks with their juice, brown sugar, onion flakes, sriracha sauce and worcestershire sauce. Bring mixture to a boil Reduce heat to low and add the cornstarch and water mixture. Stir. Cook for 2 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Arrange the chicken breasts in a 7 x 11 baking dish. Pour the sauce over and place in a 350 degree oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Serve over Minute Rice and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.
*Strained baby food peaches are fine, but you can also puree drained, canned peaches in a blender, strainer attachement or Ninja
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil (for easy clean up).
Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Cut ribs into serving portions, single ribs for regular spare ribs and 2 ribs for baby backs. Lay ribs in a single layer in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, drain all liquid from the pan and reduce oven temp to 350 degrees F.Pour sauce over ribs and cover pan with foil. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 1½ hours, basting with sauce every 30 minutes. Remove foil cover during last 30 minutes of baking time.Coat ribs with thickened sauce in the bottom of the pan and serve immediately.SLOW COOKERPlace all ingredients in slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low. Sauce may be reduced in a saucepan on the stovetop if desired.