How the German bun got its name

by | Samoan Food Stories, Umukuka | 2 comments

I was hanging out with some new friends today over at the Auckland museum (they were celebrating the end of Samoan Language Week in New Zealand) when someone heated up a plate of mmmmmmm German buns.

In case you don’t know what they are, German buns are a deep fried, crispy on the outside, round pancake filled with a thick, grated coconut/burnt sugar filling.

I’ve always wondered… what exactly is it about these buns that make them German? And I imagined maybe some bored German colonists back in the day figured hmmmm. Let’s burn some sugar. Then… let’s add grated coconut to make a thick, sweet, fibrous paste. And ohhhhh, why don’t we put that in a bun, like how the Chinese make pork buns… maybe?

Well. Today I learned from my new friend Vasa that actually… That thick, sweet coconut paste is what we call siamu popo – or coconut jam. Kudos to whoever it was that figured, let’s stuff coconut jam in a bun and sell them, but back then, our people just called them ‘jam in bun’… as in, ‘Here’s 5 tala. Go buy us some jam in buns.’

See what happened there? Mmhmm.

First it was ‘jam in buns, jam in buns’, next minute, ga le ua German buns.

That’s what Vasa told me, anyway.



  1. Salote

    LOL this is funny even if not true.


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