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What can you eat when you come to Tuvalu?

by Chloe
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Tuvalu location

As a least visited country in the world, coming to Tuvalu, you can experience a real life of Tuvaluan and explore their cuisine with their real daily foods.

Photo Credit: Joe Penniston
Restaurant in Tuvalu

Due to the limited amount of tourist, every year, Tuvalu just welcomes only about 2,000 foreigners come to this country, which also means, you don’t have much alternative restaurants to choose. But don’t worry, Tuvaluan is friendly and they never hesitate to invite you to have a meal in their own home.

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In restaurants in Tuvalu, you can eat Western food like hamburger or sandwich, chips, etc, but most of the time, you have to enjoy their local dishes such as pulaka, fuaga mei (breadfruit), futi (plantains or cooking bananas), cooked or raw fish, crayfish, pork, chicken, and such local vegetables as laulu (spinach).

Tuvaluan Cuisine - Ethnic Foods R Us

People in Tuvalu will have 3 meals a day, food are normally steamed, boiled, or roasted in a ground oven. Tuvaluans quench their thirst by drinking pi (coconut milk).

For breakfast which is called kaiga i taeao, inuti in Tuvaluan language often includes a warm toody cup which is made from coconut sap called ssali kaleve. To collect the toddy, older boys and young men will be responsible for a few coconut trees twice daily. Toddy contains a primary source of vitamin C, especially high vitamin C when it is served fresh. Besides, it can be served as a syrup for cooking or fermented as an alcoholic beverage.

Meals are prepared in an umu (cooking house), a separate structure that contains an open fire. Meals may be eaten at home or take away, such as when food is taken by women to a returning fishing party.

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An Tuvaluan is cooking food in an oven
Tuvaluan feasting

Before you eat, don’t forget to give a bless due to Tuvaluan traditional. In the midday meal (kaiga i ttuutonu) on Sunday is a major occasion with families eating together, sitting cross-legged on the mat-covered floor. Most food is eaten with the hands; a water bowl is passed around for washing hands before and after the meal. Moreover, neighbors share food, especially after a successful fishing trip or harvest.

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Tuvaluan also use imported products such as flour, sugar, rice, salt beef, corned beef, and tea to improve their daily meals.

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