About the food of Tonga

The Tongan Stonehenge, only made from coral. Photo by Tony Bowden.

The Tongan Stonehenge, only made from coral. Photo by Tony Bowden.

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.

Beach on Vava'u, Tonga. Photo by Jansan.

Beach on Vava’u, Tonga. Photo by Jansan.

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, and pumpkins grow with ease, despite the tough soil. The soil is best used, perhaps, for underground ovens, where entire pigs can be roasted, along with root vegetables.

Once you arrive, stay a while. You can dine on all manner of seafood, along with boiled Taro, Sweet Potatoes [Recipeor even dumplings… Many Tongans pour on a coconut caramel sauce, to make things even richer. The one with Taro is called Faikakai Topai.

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

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

As with most of Oceania, Spam is a “thing” – you can find it baked in banana leaves with coconut milk (which reminds me of a more complex version of Palusami, which we tried for Samoa).

For those with a sweet tooth, consider some fresh papaya, or perhaps ‘Otai, a coconut watermelon chiller  [Recipe], sometimes served with shredded pineapple or other fruit.

When you’re done? Try diving with the whales or dolphins, or even swimming inside some of the area caves.

Are your bags packed yet?

Maps and flag of Tonga, courtesy of CIA World Factbook.

Maps and flag of Tonga, courtesy of CIA World Factbook.

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Comments

  1. Janet Goodell says:

    I am ready to Tonga. I can’t eat fish/seafood so am already looking for alternative yummies in case that is what you plan to feast on (I’m sure there is lots of other good stuff).

  2. elisa waller says:

    that flag totally reminds me of lifeguards and switzerland! not sure if I wanna go ski the alps or I’m ready togo to TONGA…… hardy har har!!!!
    I would love to know of a delicious drink they drink using some of those awesome fruits you mentioned (pineapples, coconut watermelon,papaya….) feels like a vacation waiting to happen! I love you!

  3. roseblossom says:

    I was so excited to see your photo of the ‘resort’ on Atata Island. I visited Tonga in 2008. The food was amazing and the people so friendly. ‘Resort’ is a very generous description though.

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