Coming into Papua New Guinea (PNG) this week, I was very excited. You see, my coworker Rutabaga is from PNG, and he gave me that ridiculously good rich cake recipe over the holidays, so I was sure he’d give me equally awesome things to make this week. Then I talked to him.
The rich cake, chock full of about a gazillion different flavors and textures was actually Sri Lankan. PNG cuisine, on the other hand is not all that different from what I’ve made the past few weeks . Majorly disappointing.
PNG as a culture is one of the most diverse in the world, boasting over 800 native languages and societies. Topography throughout the island is also starkly different as you move from one coast to the other, mountainous on one end, coastal lowlands on the other. Despite the cultural and geographical variety, its food staples are similar those I’ve seen in the other nearby island nations: starchy vegetables such as cassava, yams, sago (palms) and sweet potatoes, are typically eaten with veggies and tropical fruits like bananas, passion fruit and coconuts and mango. Fish and shellfish are prevalent in the coastal towns, and most cooking is done in an underground oven called a mumu or drum. I have neither of these things, so I will not be using them. You now have the information, however, if you choose to do so.
Breakfast banana cake
Vegetables in coconut milk
Curried fish with yam patties
Sak Sak (banana and tapioca dumplings)
This looks a lot more relaxing than when I was on the crew team in college…