Cuisines in Tonga

When you go to Tonga you would find that there are various cuisines in Tonga. The main ingredients making Tongan food are root vegetables such as sweet potato and taro, coconut products and fresh fruits. Other ingredients include pork, chicken, corned beef, fish and shellfish. The seafood delicacies, an integral part of the cuisines in Tonga is something that you should not miss on your tour of Tonga.
Traditionally the highlight of Tonga cuisines is only one meal. This is the midday meal which is cooked in the earth oven known as umu. Before the advent of the Europeans, the meal consisted of taro, yams, bananas, coconuts and fish baked in leaves. The delicacy was shellfish served as raw. Coconut water was the main liquid that was drunk and the soft cores of the green coconuts were relished. Another delicacy was baked breadfruit. On special occasions such as wedding or funerals, pigs were killed and cooked. Other animals whose meats the Tongans eat include chickens, rats and bats.
For storing yams, the Tongans used to build storehouses, before the advent of the Europeans. These storehouses used to store yams for few months and the main household member used to distribute it among the relatives and the neighbors.
Various new additions were made to original cuisines of Tonga during the 19th and early 20th centuries. One such introduction was cassava plant which is known as manioke in Tongan. Another new fruit that became part of the food of Tonga is watermelon. This fruit, which was regarded as a delicacy was eaten raw or mixed with coconut milk and made into a popular drink. Other new fruits include oranges, lemons and limes. Onions, garlics, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes, are other vegetables that became part and parcel of daily food of Tonga.
Another special food of Tonga is topai. This is a food for the mourners. This is a food which uses both flour and sugar. The dish is made by making a paste of flour with water which is then dropped in a kettle of boiling water. It is then served with syrup of sugar and coconut milk.
Some popular dishes of Tongans are:
‘Ufi which is a large white yam
Feke which is grilled octopus or squid in coconut sauce
Lu pulu which is meat and onions marinated in coconut milk
During feasts these traditional cuisines in Tonga are served on a pola which is a long tray of plaited coconut fronds.

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