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In Samoan the word loiloi means to dip . . . . .

Just came in from the plantation. About a thousand or so tiapula had been planted this Monday so it is a good day. A productive day to feel good about. The chore started at 5am in the morning. The lafo was done on Saturday so the ma’umaga was ready for the planting. Some ten or so aumaga’s helped out and that was definitely a bonus. If it was left up to me, I’d be looking at a week’s worth of hard slog!

I was hot and drenched as I walked in the umukuka. I absent mindedly threw the sapelu on the floor and then threw my body after that on the long wooden pew. Before long the smell of koko wafted through. I didn’t know my sister was prepping it as she was quiet as a ghost around the hidden umukuka partition.

What time was it now? Ah yes, it was 4pm in the evening this be! And whilst my body was not necessarily sore, I was nevertheless feeling fatigue settling in. So obviously I had no clue as to when I drifted off save for the fact that I heard an echo that seemed to come down a long as pipe. Incoherent at first but eventually my name registered in my brain.

I snapped out of it head bolted up right to find a tin cup of freshly brewed koko in front me, complimented by a plate of falaoa with thick smatterings of siamu popo.

I needed no invitation, you can do the math of food to mouth in ex amount of seconds! My hands that were once worn and heavy were suddenly moving with fever speed like a violinist sawing down on that instrument in the final movements of his piece with gusto.

To put this in slow motion terms so you can appreciate it, I deftly held that divine looking slice in my hand. I suppose it would be like Moses nervously wrapping his fingers around the commandment tablets that’s how I was as I loiloi’d it, mercifully slow, luxuriously patient into the tin cup. And when drawn out and up, the falaoa soaked in that koko is an indescribable moment in time. I simply don’t have the words adequate enough to articulate the feeling of self contentment when this is consumed. Normally this sort of feat don’t last long anyway but as you know, this moment certainly qualifies as the ‘finer thangs in life’ and as such, it would be such an injustice to gulp it down in an uncivilized manner. After all, I consider myself a church going person. How that is related to loiloi-ring a piece of falaoa with siamu popo I haven’t a clue but it sounds profound and heart warming anyway so there!

Try it sometime.

You don’t know what you’re missing!


aumaga: adj: a collective term for untitled men of the village responsible for the chores

tiapula: noun: the stem of the indigenous taro plant that is part of the Samoan culture’s staple diet

lafo: verb: clearing the land preparing it for planting crops

ma’umaga: noun: plantation

umukuka: noun: kitchen

koko: noun: cocoa

falaoa: noun: bread

siamu popo: noun: jam made out of caramelized coconut cream (scraped and freshly squeezed)

sapelu: noun: machette

DRE 2009

Recipe: Samoan Steamed Pudding

Looking at my mum’s recipe for Samoan puligi, I’ve decided – all by myself – that puligi (steamed pudding) could not have originated from Samoa. It was most likely introduced to us by the English via the New Zealanders, or whoever it is that’s responsible for creating those yucky, fruit-choked Christmas puddings.

Whatever the case might be, we do it better… cause of how I’m allowed to be biased.

Well, my mother does it better, because so far I haven’t quite managed to get this dish right…

…by Hamo Geek Girl


Recipe: REAL Samoan Panipopo!

It’s not THAT difficult to make real Panipopo dough from scratch – the store-bought stuff is too generic and… just not right!

So don’t be lazy. I’ll walk you through it…

By the way,THANK YOU so much Auntie for entrusting me with your top secret recipe, but… um… you might wanna close your eyes now…because I’m sorry.. but if I don’t share, I’m scared a whole generation of people will think it’s okay to make Panipopos with store-bought dough balls… *sigh*…

…by Hamo Geek Girl