Recipe: Coconut Watermelon Refresher | ‘Otai

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Sun. Sweat. Waves. If lemonade is the go-to poolside drink in the United States, 'Otai is the go-to ocean-side drink of Tonga. Our recipe for 'Otai takes us way out into the southwest Pacific, where the tropical days lull a person into putting away their smartphone. Can you imagine? Oh, please, someone take my cellphone from me!! My heart is there already. I promise you won't need your phone to enjoy this drink. What you do need? A watermelon, a can of coconut milk, and some … [Read more...]

Recipe: Sweet Potatoes in Coconut Caramel Sauce

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I love necklaces. The bright stones add a splash of color and fun to my generally plain-Jane outfits. Seeing as I don't general have time to put on makeup, necklaces are the one and only way to brighten up my look. To make it look like I tried. Well, today, we're getting a taste of how the islanders in Tonga dress up dinner. In short? Sweet potatoes meet coconut caramel sauce - a vivid display of orange, white, and golden brown. Sweet potatoes and coconut grow easily in the Pacific, … [Read more...]

Menu: Tonga

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Apparently the fine people of Tonga have quite the sweet tooth. Whether it's the coconut caramel sauce (which they put on everything from boiled taro to dumplings), or the watermelon chiller, Tonga serves up sweetness in all they do. I for one can appreciate the natural sweetness, especially in the drink. Try the sweet potatoes as a snack or on the side of grilled meats. The drink is great any time of day, but is a perfect alternative to punch or lemonade at your next gathering.  Oh, and, yay … [Read more...]

About the food of Tonga

Royal Sunset Island Resort at 'Atata Island, 30 min boat ride from Tongatapu. Photo by Haanofonua.

If you'd like to make some friends, you might want to head over to the "Friendly Islands," a.k.a. Tonga. There are 170 of these islands to choose from, all dotted through the Southwest Pacific, in Oceania. They got their nickname because they were so kind to Captain Cook when he came there to visit in 1773. Even with all these islands, the CIA World Factbook claims its total area is just four times that of Washington D.C. In this scattered tropical country, vanilla, banana, coconut, … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Togo

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httpv://youtu.be/7TpCwmBinuQ "How many bites do I have to take?" "Do they have to be big bites?"  "Does this count as a big bite?" The questions kept coming from Miss Emma, one of the most picky eaters to grace our Global Table. She showed us her spoon, topped with Djenkoume (a.k.a. cornmeal cakes). This is what her big bite looked like: Thus far. Emma has spent the majority of her childhood "losing her lunch" when faced with new textures and flavors.  She couldn't keep … [Read more...]

Recipe: Grilled Togo Chicken

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  What brings a smile to your face? The sunshine? The taste of the ocean? What about security... that lovely feeling, when you know you can feed your family, without depending on someone else. Mrs. Essowedeou, from Togo, agrees. "I never knew how chickens could bring a smile to our faces," she says. Mrs. Essowedeou raises chickens as part of the "Plan Togo" program.   These chickens are her smile because they are her (and her family's) ticket to security. Independence. Food. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Tomato Cornmeal Cakes | Djenkoume

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Even grownups need to build sandcastles from time to time. The urge comes from deep within our hearts - some far away love for fantasy, perhaps formed in childhood. Today, we're listening to our inner child; we're making edible sandcastles... from Togo. At least, that's what I'm calling them. If you want to be a serious adult, you can call them cornmeal cakes. In Togo, corn is everything, ever. Sometimes it is served as porridge. And sometimes it's served as Djenkoume, a.k.a. cornmeal … [Read more...]

Menu: Togo

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The last three people I've told that I'm cooking Togo have asked me what kind of food Togo is, not realizing Togo is a small west African country. So, friends, let's learn together. Let's put the Togolese spirit on our tables... along with a bit of their food. We'll get to the menu we selected in a moment. First, let's discuss the 'spirit' part of the meal. This week, I sought out some inspirational words from Togo. I had no choice. I've been feeling overwhelmed lately. For starters, I'll … [Read more...]