What to eat in Papua New Guinea

Whether you're sampling street food or enjoying a traditional feast, eating is one of the best ways to experience a country. Papua New Guinean cuisine is largely vegetarian, with lots of tropical fruits and starchy root veggies, including sago, taro and sweet potato. Seafood, chicken and pork are also popular, though pork is usually reserved for special occasions.

Hiking the Kokoda Track or attending one of the island's incredible festivals is bound to work up an appetite, so we recommend filling up on these 9 traditional foods.

What to eat in Papua New Guinea

1. Sago

Sago is a starch extracted from the sago palm tree. Similar in texture to cassava or tapioca pearls, it's a versatile ingredient used in a wide range of sweet and savoury dishes including pancakes, porridge and bread.

2. Saksak

Saksak is a traditional dumpling made with sago. The pearls are mixed with mashed bananas and coconut milk and then steamed in banana leaves. Sweet, slightly chewy and moreish, saksak is a great breakfast food or sweet snack.

3. Mumu

Mumu is the traditional way of cooking in PNG. Parcels of vegetables, starches and meat are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed in a small pit filled with hot stones. Mumu is usually reserved for special occasions like weddings, but you can also experience it on our Firedance Festival trip during a traditional Melanesian welcome ceremony.

4. Kokoda fish

Kokoda fish is native to PNG and Fiji. The fish is traditionally eaten ceviche-style by marinating cubes of raw fish in lime juice, coconut milk, sliced onions and fresh herbs.

5. Chicken pot

Chicken pot is a simple one-pot dish made by boiling chicken, sweet potatoes, corn, onions and curry powder in a coconut milk-based broth. If you're tired and hungry after a big day of exploring, this hearty dish is a go-to to refuel.

6. Talautu

Talautu is a traditional PNG dessert made with shredded coconut flesh, pineapple chunks, lemon or lime juice, coconut milk and sugar. The ingredients are mixed together and served in a coconut shell. It’s an ideal dessert if you fancy something sweet but light.

7. Kaukau

This dish is comfort food at its best. It’s made by baking sweet potatoes, scooping out the flesh and mixing it with coconut cream, coconut flakes, onion, ginger and garlic. The mix is then loaded back in the skin and baked for another 10 minutes until golden on top.

8. Bugandi egg drop soup

This simple soup is made with stock and fresh veggies like spinach, choko shoots and spring onions. When all the ingredients are boiling, an egg is dropped into the stock – and there you have egg drop soup!

9. Kol pis no rais

Kol pis no rais is a popular lunch or dinner dish made with rice and canned fish (usually tuna). Fresh veggies may also be added to the mix, including spring onion, sweet corn and peas.

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