What Fruits Can You Find in Samoa?
A trip to Samoa isn’t just about lazying on the beach, drinking cocktails and soaking up the sun. It’s home to an array of foodie experiences, thanks to its ideal climate for tropical produce combined with a rich local culture that knows how to prepare them well. One of the top recommendations we have for foodies and non-foodies alike is to check out the local produce markets, not only to mingle with the locals but to see the array of exotic fruits. Chances are, there are many fruits you will have never seen before along with fruits you know like you’ve never seen before! In this guide to fruits in Samoa you have to try, we list all of the fruit well worth looking out for (and trying) throughout your travels.
1. Coconut (Popo or Niu)
Anyone who’s anyone knows that the coconut is not a nut; it’s a fruit! Of which, it is the most important fruit in Samoa coming from the tree known as the “tree of life”. The coconut tree has so many uses that any culture tour on the islands will be eager to tell you about. But, if you’re here for the food, which we suspect you are, you can also enjoy the taste of coconut in its many forms, from the drinking coconut known as “niu” to foods made with coconut cream (pe’epe’e), like palusami – learn more about this dish in the 20 Foods to Try in Samoa.
2. Cacao (Koko)
Another one that you didn’t know was a fruit, cacao is the seeds of the fruit of the theobroma cacao tree. The Samoan version of hot chocolate, “koko Samoa” is where cacao is turned into a paste and mixed with hot water and sugar, which has been part of the fabric of Samoan homes for centuries. Oral history suggests that the original introduction of “koko” into the Samoan culture was due to contact with South America circa 700 AD, while others suggest it was introduced during German colonialisation in the 1800s (which you can learn more about in A Brief History of Samoa). Learn more about koko Samoa in the 10 Drinks in Samoa You Have to Try.
3. Papaya (Esi)
Available in abundance all year round, papaya, also known as pawpaw or “esi” in Samoan, is a staple of the Samoan diet. The climate here is ideal for growing smooth and sweet papaya, which is often served as a breakfast fruit or with dessert. Try the hearty breakfast food of supo esi (papaya soup), served at most beach fales and resorts.
4. Banana (Fa’i)
Bananas are enjoyed in Samoa when they have ripened, i.e. turned yellow, as a sweet snack, as well as before they have ripened to cook alongside savoury dishes. There are so many ways to try this favourite fruit in Samoa: fresh, barbecued, boiled, deep-fried for dessert or as chips. Go on a “village walk” or plantation tour and you can learn more about the different varieties – see the 15 Best Cultural Activities in Samoa and 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Samoa for more information. What’s more, bananas are available to try in Samoa all year round.
5. Pineapple (Fala’aina)
Ok, so the pineapple is nothing new to most of you, but wait until you try the pineapples in Samoa! Pineapples here are usually a lot smaller than pineapples that are exported overseas, allowing a more concentrated flavour and juice. Although the prime pineapple season is in February in Samoa, you’ll still find off-season pineapples giving you a chance to try them from markets and fruit stalls all year round. A favourite dessert in Samoa is pineapple pie, so look out for that in cafes and bakeries.
6. Breadfruit (Ulu)
Breadfruit is a large dense fruit that is named after its stogey consistency, quite like bread. It is typically served as a starch substitute with savoury dishes or turned into fries but you can also find crispy “breadfruit chips” at markets and grocery stores, which you can read more about in A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Samoa.
7. Mango (Mago)
So it’s highly likely that you are well-versed with the mango, but with mangos growing pretty much everywhere in Samoa, it’s a fruit you have to try! Mangos come in all sorts of shapes and sizes in Samoa and are abundant at the markets during the months of October, November and December.
8. Pumpkin (Maukegi)
One that surprises many when visiting the tropical islands of Samoa is the abundance of pumpkins! Associated as a fall fruit for countries with four seasons, pumpkins can be grown all year round in the warm and wet climate of Samoa. And yes, pumpkins are really a fruit!
9. Avocado (Avoka)
Yes, avocados are fruit; they’re berries that have become increasingly popular in the western world. Avocado trees grow very well in Samoa, with the fruit containing healthy fats and vitamins. Its subtle taste and slimy texture are added to many dishes. Look out for “avoka” between September and December.
10. Noni (Nonu)
Noni grows from trees in the coffee family, but they are more famous for their smell than their taste. Admittedly, noni is not a fruit you’ll want to get your face too close to, which is why noni is mostly produced as a superfood having a wide range of health benefits, including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antitumor, analgesic, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory, and immune-enhancing effects.
More About Fruit in Samoa
That’s it for our list of the fruits in Samoa you have to try! For more foodie experiences, check out the following:
- The Food Guide to Samoa: Places to Eat & Food Tours
- Traditional Samoan Food: 20 Foods to Try in Samoa
- 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Samoa