Island Cuisine in the Emirau Islands of Papua New Guinea

Posted October 13, 2016 from Papua New Guinea
Emirau Island Cuisine

Food is and will always be a part of any gathering in Papua New Guinea - and I'm sure in other parts of the world too!

We love our food - and the best food is the locally, produced, straight from the gardens, into the pot cooked with all things natural! Coconut cream is one delicacy that is always found in many local dishes but travelling to one of the outer-parts of Papua New Guinea, at a tiny, remote island far north, called the Emirau Islands (google it) - I had such a very different meal that I never thought I'd eat in my life.

In the local dialect, they call it - "goru" - in English it is - seaweed and it is the favourite 'green vegetable' and the only readily and most available green vegetable that the island people there eat.

Though I also come from an island community in Papua New Guinea, goru is not something that we eat - as we usually joke - "That's fish food or turtle food - why should I eat it?"

But going to Emirau, with no other choice of 'greens' to eat - you have no choice but to eat it, and also being a guest, and when offered food - it is bad manners to refuse the food - as as the saying goes: when in Rome, be like Rome :)

and so --- I loved it! It is picked daily by the young girls who go out to the reef and then washed and put straight on the table. When eaten with coconut, or smoked fish or baked cassava - it is lovely. The salty taste of it adds flavour to the coconut or smoked dried fish / baked cassava making it a scrumptious meal..and for beverage - its simply water from the tank or boiled lemon grass tea. #EverythingFreshAndNatural

One thing we noticed while there at the island is that - the aid post (health clinic) is practically empty - there are no patients and no major sickness. The people's diet is mainly fish, cassava, sweet potato and 'goru'.

With the care-free living of being surrounded by the seas, and some hilly peaks, the people also have a good doze of physical fitness, plus being a Seventh-day Adventist community, where they mainly promote healthy eating and living habits as prescribed mainly from the Book of Leviticus in the Bible - there is little meat intake, no pork intake and a vegetarian meal is highly recommended!

I felt extremely healthy being there for a week - being a 'junky' --eating a lot of sweets and no proper diet, being on the Emirau Island Cuisine Diet for the week was cleansing to my system. The food we ate came straight from the gardens and out from the sea, cooked and served fresh!

Yes, let's eat more greens and less meat! Exercise, Meditate, Smile and think happy thoughts :)


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Oct 14, 2016
Oct 14, 2016

Carolepng, your post reminds me of this phrase by James Michener: If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.

And that is the beauty of being in a new place; to experience a different kind of life. I am not used to eating seaweed so I understand your initial feeling. Glad you enjoyed the experience.


Oct 19, 2016
Oct 19, 2016

Thank you Judey! Yes true - I like that phrase and agree totally to it! Thank you for reading!