The Best Things to Do in Apia for Foodies
Welcome to contemporary Polynesia. Apia is a place where experiencing authentic South Pacific cuisine is effortlessly accessible, whether it’s through traditions like an umu or a Sunday to’onai, or while enjoying the markets or a cute cafe. You can even immerse yourself further into the flavours through Samoan cooking classes or food tours. Discover the best ways to delight your palate in this list of the best foodie experiences in Apia.
Before we get started, be sure to also take a look at The Food Guide to Apia: Places to Eat & Food Tours, which is everything a foodie in Samoa’s capital needs to know.
1. See an Umu Demonstration at the Samoa Cultural Village
The traditional Polynesian method of slow-cooking fish, tropical root vegetables and dishes like palusami with hot rocks is usually saved for special occasions in Samoan culture, but Samoa Cultural Village generously shares this tradition on their free tour in Apia. Happening from 10:30 am Tuesday to Friday, the Samoa Cultural Village shows guests how to weave their own plates before demonstrating how an umu is prepared and, of course, you get to experience the result while enjoying a magnificent cultural performance. Check out more about what’s happening at the Samoa Cultural Village in the 10 Best Cultural Activities in Samoa.
Location: Behind the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, Beach Road.
2. Browse Apia’s Produce and Street Food Markets
One of the unmissable foodie experiences in Apia is the markets. Fugalei Market is the largest in Samoa where, between the stalls with large mounds of tropical fruit and vegetables, are vendors selling traditional Samoan meals, such as palusami and fai’ai elegi. On the other hand, there’s also the Samoa Women’s Association of Growers (SWAG) Market which is a cute Saturday gathering with organic produce and local Samoan food products for sale. Try out the unique drive-thru Taufusi Market. Finally, a congregation of street food await at Apia’s monthly Night Market, happening on the last Friday of the month from around 4 pm. Dive into the details of each market in the 8 Best Markets in Samoa.
Location: All over Apia! See the link above for specific locations.
3. Join Chef John for a Food Tour
Combine sightseeing with gourmet island dining with Chef John Tours. Chef John offers both half-day and full-day tours from Apia, visiting Apia’s fish, fruit and vegetable markets where you’ll pick out your own produce. After stopping to snack on the best keke pua’a (steamed pork buns) on the island, you’ll arrive at the refreshing swimming spot of the Piula Cave Pool where John will put on an impressive show of sprucing up a gourmet lunch with the ingredients bought at the market. Finally, you’ll cool down with a stop at a local ice cream shop that John deems is the best on the island! The full-day tour also includes stops at To Sua Ocean Trench, Lalomanu Beach and the Togitogia Waterfall, which you can find out more about in the 50 Best Things to Do on Upolu.
Location: The tour includes accommodation transfers from Apia.
4. Take Part in a Samoan Cooking Class
Take home the knowledge of how to cook Samoan dishes by partaking in a Samoan cooking class; a pretty unique souvenir! This more hands-on foodie experience in Apia can be experienced at resorts such as Taumeasina Island Resort. The resort puts on cooking classes once a week or on request where guests learn how to spruce up their own Samoan dish using organic local ingredients. The best part; you get to eat it too! For more cooking classes around the island, see the 10 Best Foodie Experiences on Upolu.
Location: Taumeasina Road, Taumeasina.
5. Experience a Fiafia Night!
Another way to sample authentic local cuisine is through a fiafia night. “Fiafia” means “happy” in Samoan, which follows an equation that can’t help but put a smile on the faces of locals and visitors alike. Many will start with an ‘ava (kava) welcoming ceremony before guests are treated to a buffet of Samoan staples, as well as some international favourites. Once your stomach is gleeful, the show can get underway with cultural Pacifika dancing and, usually the highlight of the show, siva afi which is Samoa’s very own knife fire-dancing in the homeland where Polynesian fire dancing originated!
Location: All over Apia! Make your selections, as well as find out their locations, in the 10 Best Cultural Shows (Fiafia) in Samoa.
6. Try Samoan Snacks
Although international food is well-represented across Apia, Samoans also have plenty of their own snacks available to pick up at many convenience stores and bakeries across the city – Sula’s Supermarket & Bakery is one of the local go-to’s for Samoan snacks, just a head’s up. Why not try taro or banana chips? Bite into a soft keke pua’a (pork bun) or paifala (halfmoon pie). A bag of keke saiga (Chinese biscuits) will surely see you through until dinner! Check out more Samoan snacks to try in Traditional Samoan Food: 20 Foods to Try in Samoa.
Location: Sula’s Supermarket – Main East Coast Road, Moataa.
7. Catch Your Own Dinner on a Samoan Fishing Charter
Nothing compares to the thrills of reeling in the South Pacific’s monstrous pelagics, such as yellowfin tuna, sailfish, giant trevally, mahimahi and marlin, and then having it cooked up for you at your resort! Fishing is a way of life here on the islands, so there’s no lack of experienced fisherfolk who can show you the lines. Troppo Fishing Adventures is your go-to charter in Apia, while new charters are often cropping up in the Apia Marina. Head to the 10 Best Fishing Charters in Samoa for the most up-to-date list.
Location: Apia Marina! Check out the link above for recommendations and their locations.
8. Treat the Tastebuds at Apia’s Cafes or Restaurants
An obvious foodie experience but one still worth mentioning is dining at Apia’s cafes and restaurants! Some of its best establishments are the cafes, with highlights being Nourish Cafe and RiVaiv Cafe with healthy (and obviously naughty) meals in quaint garden settings, while dine-in restaurants like Paddles Restaurant and Bistro Tatau rarely fail to impress. You can even go vegan at the Krush Juice Lounge or try the best coffee in town at the Coffee Roaster. Compare all of your best options in the 10 Best Restaurants in Apia and the 10 Best Cafes in Apia & Upolu.
Location: All over Apia! See the links above for recommendations and their locations.
9. Be Treated to a Private Dining Experience
If you seek a more exclusive experience, perhaps for a special occasion, then treat your loved one/family/friends to one of Apia’s private dining experiences. Taumeasina Island Resort indulges you in a three-course dinner with bubbles either on your room’s balcony or by the beach. For more couple-centric experiences like this, take a look at the 10 Most Romantic Things to Do in Apia for Couples.
Location: Taumeasina Road, Taumeasina.
10. Experience a Sunday To’onai
To’onai is a traditional Sunday lunch in Samoa, which brings in family and friends not only to eat together but to prepare the meal with each family member having a different role to play. Hotels in Apia also host Sunday to’onais which, admittedly, will be more about eating than cooking for the visitor. Try dishes like palusami and food that has likely been cooked in an umu at accommodations like the Lava Hotel, Taumeasina Island Resort and Insel Fehmarn Hotel. To’onai buffets usually start at midday; be sure to book your spot. If you’re lucky (and friendly enough), your resort staff may invite you to their church service and then to their family home for a more authentic to’onai experience. For more ways to spend your Sunday, check out the 10 Things to Do in Samoa on a Sunday.
Location: Lava Hotel – Mulinuu Road, Mulinuu Peninsula. Taumeasina – Taumeasina Road. Insel Fehmarn – Falealili Street.
More Foodie Experiences in Apia
That’s it for our list of the best foodie experiences in Apia. For more mouthwatering activities, browse more of our food-related guides:
- 10 Exotic Fruits in Samoa You Have to Try
- 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Samoa
- 10 Drinks in Samoa You Have to Try
Finally, don’t miss any essential eatery or food tour with The Food Guide to Samoa: Places to Eat & Food Tours.