Smoothie Moves: Otai

Smoothie Moves: Otai


Breakfast is kind of a nonevent in Tonga, which makes me sad. I love breakfast. It’s my favorite (and most important) meal of the day. Searching far and wide (relatively speaking) for a hearty Tongan breakfast, I came up empty. Supposedly, Tongans just eat leftover dinner for breakfast. I supposed I’d be all about it if it were pizza, or the recycling of dinner like the risotto cakes, but Ota Ika? No thanks. I guess I’m not a fish-salad-in-the-morning kind of girl.

However, I AM the kind of girl that likes fruit in the morning, and while I prefer to eat rather than to drink my food, I can get on board with a smoothie on a muggy summer morning. And for that, Tongans have Otai.


Otai is a Tongan fruit drink that can be made with really any fruit, most typically pineapple, watermelon and coconut.  Especially watermelon, it being quite plentiful in the Polynesian region in general.  One problem…

I HATE watermelon.

Melon and raisins, really the only two foods on the Buddha DO NOT EAT list. People argue that watermelon “doesn’t taste like anything.”  I argue back that it tastes like a bad version of nothing, but that’s  just my bias. The funny thing is that, as a kid, I LOVED both melon AND raisins. I must have just OD’d at a young age, and just never got over it.

As such, I just couldn’t bring myself to make an exception and buy watermelon for the Otai. However, since this recipe is as flexible as they come, I just subbed in a tropical fruit I can’t get enough of: Mangos.


Serves 1
Creamy tropical mango-coconut smoothie
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Total Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. 1 mango, peeled and chopped
  2. 2 TB shredded coconut
  3. 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  4. ¼ cup evaporated skim milk
  5. Tiny squeeze lime juice
  6. Water, for consistency
  1. Throw everything in the blender, adding water as needed.  Drink up!
Adapted from Polynesian Kitchen
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World


This post has been update from its original with better photos.  The same witty commentary remains.


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