Food, eating habits and cusine of Papua New Guinea
The cuisine of Papua New Guinea is neither sensational nor sophisticated as it is based on indigenous ingredients such as kaukau or sweet potatoes, bananas, taro, and saksak, a whitish paste extracted from sago palm trees. People eat little meat except on certain occasions when they treat themselves to port, chicken or mutton imported from New Zealand, and beef meatballs served with rice and noodles. In the cities, cooking is mixed with either Western or Eastern cuisine to come up with coconut-based dishes and spicy sauces. Western cuisine is available only in hotels, restaurants, guest houses, lodges and village resorts in various parts of the country.
The country’s traditional food is known as mumu, a dish that combines pork, sweet potatoes, rice and greens cooked in the ground over hot rocks. This is complemented usually by wild greens, bananas, coconuts, mangoes, and other local fruits. Tea is a table drink at all occasions.
Most villagers produce their own food and cook two meals per day through boiling or roasting. In many towns, some people have backyard gardens to plant some vegetables, and they rely on open-air markets and fruits and vegetables sold by village women. But because of expensive foods sold in supermarkets, most residents rely on small variety stores for rice and other basic necessities.
Kai bars or fast-food stands are popular in urban areas where restaurants also serve international cuisine whose prices are usually expensive.
The local cuisine normally contains exotic vegetables including ibica, taro and sweet potatoes, cooked with fish, chicken or the meat of hunted animals, and fish smoked or cooked in coconut cream.
Aside from ibica, kaukau and taro, other local vegetables also accompany meat, and they include snake beans, pumpkin tops, tulip, pitpit and yams.