Food around Oceania Guide, Facts & Recipes
As the name suggests, fish is very commonly used in the recipes prepared in Oceania. Whether there are soups or stews, fish is plentiful here, due to the large surroundings of water, and it is used a lot as well. Still, this doesn’t mean that the cuisine here is not diverse. Coconut is another ingredient highly used in the area, and lamb being considered some of the best in the world.
At the very beginnings, food in Australia was mainly composed out of bush food, or whatever nature was offering. After colonies started settling in the area, the cuisine started to develop under their influences. New crops were introduced, together with new cooking methods. Bananas, grapes, oranges, rice, and wheat are all growing in abundance in Australia. Besides this, meat is also highly important, being present in numerous recipes. Any kind of meat is consumed here, although kangaroo meat, an assortment that was famous back in the days, is not appreciated that much anymore.
Christmas Island Australia
In the Christmas Island, the cuisine is a combination between the Australian and Asian cuisine. More precisely, a lot of recipes that can be found in Indonesia and Malaysia can be found in this area as well. Fruits are widely available here, numerous species of fruit trees growing more on private properties on the island. Still, even so, there are some issues with the supplying with fresh foods, so preserved or processed foods are mostly used, such as canned foods. The red crab was used for preparing a traditional dish, but this is not happening anymore, since this crab became an endangered species.
Tasmania is well known by food enthusiasts for the fact that fresh produces are preferred in preparing various recipes. The balanced climate, fertile soil and fresh water are factors that allow many crops, vegetables and fruits to grow in the area. Concerning meat, beef is the best you can find here, being the only country in Australia that banned the use of growth hormones, all the animals being grass fed. Lamb is another farm provided meat, together with all the diary products both sheep and cattle farms can offer. Fish and seafood is also consumed here, the ocean waters and fresh water rivers providing both.
II Cook Islands
In the Cook Islands, coconut and seafood are the stars of most recipes, although vegetables and fruits can also be found in abundance. The people here use both local produces and goods imported from New Zealand for making food. Some local produces are clams, octopus, arrowroot, ginger, lime, coconut, basil, and lemon. A traditional dish served here is rukau, which consists in taro leaves, prepared with coconut sauce and onions. Ika mata is a dish consisting in raw fish, served with coconut cream, and seasoned with lime or lemon.
III Easter Island
The cuisine in Easter Island is based on exotic fruits, fish, seafood and various types of meat. Concerning seafood, anything from lobster, octopus, eel, and sea snails are consumed. But lamb, pork and poultry are meats also used in many recipes. The meats are accompanied by sweet potatoes, taro leaves, pumpkin, pineapple, and coconut. A type of earth oven is used for cooking, especially in the case of traditional recipes. Such a recipe would be umu, a dish containing fish, various meats, and vegetables, which are individually wrapped in banana leaves and roasted in that oven.
Before the colonies arrived in Fiji, the local cuisine consisted in root crops, fruits and vegetables, plus bush meat, like wild pigs and birds. Today, coconut, taro, sweet potatoes, cassava, breadfruit, rice and fish are the main ingredients used for preparing dishes. Some old methods for preparing food are still used today. One method would be an earth oven called lovo. The stones of this oven are brought to a high temperature, food being wrapped in banana leaves and placed on these rocks when they are hot enough. Concerning dishes, kokodo is considered a national delicacy, consisting in fish marinated in coconut cream, served with lime, tomatoes and onions.
The Hawaiian cuisine is known for its surprising flavors, exotic fruits, nuts and various vegetables being used in the making of many recipes. Coconut, pineapple, taro, candle nut, arrowroot, and breadfruits are just a few examples of the ingredients you will find in this cuisine. Beef is also appreciated, cattle farming being introduced to Hawaiians by colonists, and expanding in the past century. Fish, especially tuna, and seafood are other sources of proteins in the region. Tuna is served here in very many ways, and even preserved, through smoking or salting. SPAM is also a popular food in Hawaii, being a type of canned meat, prepared and served in a great variety of recipes.
VI Mariana Islands
On the Mariana Islands, coconut, mango and papaya are found in abundance. Seafood is also plentiful and much appreciated by the people here, many recipes being based on this resource. Coconut is used in very many ways. It provides water for drinking, pulp as food, and even the flowers of this palm tree as used, for the preparation of a specific wine. But, you will also find pork, poultry, and even horse meat on the menu here.
VII New Zealand
The agriculture is strong in New Zealand, the country having a wide array of fresh produced grown locally. For instance, kumara, which is a type of sweet potato, is grown here for centuries already. Kiwis are also a large part of the local agriculture. During the summer, you will see many people here enjoying barbeques, where lamb, lobster, fish and shellfish are cooked. Eating here is always done in a laidback manner, because a relaxed atmosphere at dinner time is specific for this area.
The cuisine of the Niue Island is plentiful of ingredients like taro, manioc, breadfruits and bananas. But cassava, yams, coconut and papaya are also used. Fish is the most consumed type of meat, being prepared in various manners, from grilling, to soups and stews. Also, dishes based only on vegetables are popular in some areas of the island.
Palau is a surprising island, because the society follows a matrilineal system, and because it has quite a distinct cuisine. Such an example may be tama, which is a dessert made out of a sweet dough with vanilla flavor, which is deep fried into the shape of balls. Cassava, taro, potatoes and yams are the local staple foods. Pork and fish are the most common types of meat consumed here. Influences from the western cuisine can be found in the cooking style and preferences of the young generation.
A specific aspect of the Samoan cuisine is the fact that on Sundays, the entire family gathers around an umu, an oven made out of rocks in the ground, for preparing and serving the meal. Sundays are considered resting days, so they are used for these family gatherings. Various foods are cooked using this type of oven, like pork, fish, fresh seaweed, baked rice or taro. Coconut is also used a lot, not only for sweet recipes, but also for main dishes.
XI Solomon Islands
Agriculture and fishing are the main activities of the local people, so fish and fresh produces are available here. Among the products that are cultivated on these islands, we can mention coconuts, cassavas, sweet potatoes, and many other fruits. Breadfruit is used a lot in this cuisine, as it can be consumed with any dish. A traditional dessert would be bananas, or other local exotic fruits, wrapped in pearl cassavas, served with caramel or whipped cream.
Back in the days, the people of Tonga used to serve only one main meal, at midday. They used to wake up, eat the remaining of the past day, go out fishing or working on the fields, and come back by noon with fresh food, which was served to the entire family. Today, food is served regularly, yams, coconut, bananas, taro and fish are some of the most frequently consumed foods. Shellfish is also eaten here, but mostly as a relish, not a main dish.
Coconut and various types of fish found in the nearby waters compose the core of the cuisine in Tuvalu. Here, as well, coconut is used in as many forms as possible in cooking. Coconut milk, water and flesh are used for flavoring dishes, or for preparing desserts. Swamp taro and rice are also a large part of the local cuisine. Other foods are bananas, breadfruits, seafood, seabirds and even pork, although pork is mostly used as food for parties and celebrations.
In Vanuatu, the local cuisine consists in fish, yams, taro, vegetables and exotic fruits. The meals are usually made using fresh produces, because on the island most families have a garden at home, where they grow whatever they need. Plantains, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, and sweet potatoes can be found here without a problem, throughout the year. Milk and cream made out of coconut are also used a lot, for flavoring various dishes. Boiling and steaming are the most preferred ways of cooking food here, frying not being used only on rare occasions. Rice and tinned fish are considered to be luxury foods. Seafood and pork is also consumed, besides fish.
Are you from Oceania? Maybe you visited there? Please feel free to comment and add your own thoughts on Oceania ethnic food.