I chose this week’s country challenge winner because I just wanted to make one dish since it’s a short week. I found Sam Choy’s Polynesian Cookbook and I fell in love with it. He is so passionate about the cooking in that region of the world. His recipes are all delicious and authentic, which is exactly what I was hoping to find with every country chosen!
I learned so much about Samoa that I didn’t know. The Samoa Islands (formerly the Navigators' Islands) are located in the central South Pacific, part of the Polynesian region. The population is about 214,000. There are two parts of the Samoan islands. Samoa, called Western Samoa or Independent Samoa and American Samoa, a territory of the United States, also called Eastern Samoa.
I wondered why Samoa was ever found to be so important to many European shippers. I found that the French, British, German and American forces used Samoa as a refueling station for shipping. The Germans were interested in the Samoan Islands, so United States claimed. Britain also sent troops, and an eight-year civil war followed, with each country supplying troops and supplies to the Samoan parties.
In July 1997, Western Samoa changed its name to Samoa, which it had been designated by the United Nations in 1976 after joining. American Samoa still goes by Eastern Samoa.
About the cuisine: popular ingredients from Samoa are copra-dried coconut meat, cocoa, and bananas. Pineapples grow well in Samoa, but beyond local consumption have not been a major export. Having large pig roasts is also popular in Samoan cuisine. Chicken and pork are also popular meat choices, and rice is a popular grain. Fruit grows abundantly in this region.
I hope that you enjoy my choice for Samoa! I’m pretty sure I’ll never go there, as it’s pretty much in the middle of the ocean and to me, that’s terrifying!