The following price ranges refer to a meal. Unless otherwise stated tax is included in the price.
$ less than ST20
$$$ more than ST35
The Rise of the Blue Worms
Samoa’s most anticipated party has an unlikely guest of honour: the humble worm. Called Palolo Rising, festivities begin on the seventh day after the full moon in October or November (or sometimes both) when the palolo reefworm emerges from the coral reefs to mate. The blue-green vermicelli-shaped worms – rich in calcium, iron and protein – are a prized delicacy, and are said to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Parties take place on beaches at the worm-catching spots; when the creatures finally appear at around midnight, crowds carrying nets and lanterns hurriedly wade into the sea to scoop them up.
On Sunday mornings you’ll find the islands shrouded in smoke as villagers light fires to warm stones needed for the umu (ground ovens) used to bake to’ona’i (Sunday lunch). Visitors sometimes complain that nothing happens in Samoa on Sunday, but it’s hardly true – after a small breakfast (on account of the looming lunch), Samoans go to church and sing their lungs out, at noon they eat an enormous roast dinner and in the afternoon they sleep.
You may be lucky enough to be invited to a family to’ona’i. A typical spread includes baked fish and other seafood (freshwater prawns, crabs, octopus cooked in coconut milk), suckling pig, baked breadfruit, bananas, palusami (coconut cream wrapped in taro leaves), salads and curry dishes.