(89) Soloman Islands – Papaya Chicken with Coconut Milk and Plantains

A coral reef sitting below Solomon Islands. Source: NZherald

Welcome back! Today we head even more west to the Solomon Islands! This sovereign country is made up of 900 smaller and 6 major islands east of Australia and close to Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. The islands were first inhabited 3,000 years ago by the Lapita people, a group of prehistoric Austronesian people. Due to its location in the Coral Triangle the country is known for incredible diving experiences. Between three of the countries larger islands lies the world’s largest salt water lagoon, Marovo Lagoon. Below the surface Vangunu Island has the most active submarine volcano. The economy here is mostly made up of agricultural, fishery, and forestry resources.

Cuisine of the island like many others is made up of native plants, fish, and game. Fish is the most abundant resource and is prepared in a variety of ways. Coconut, cassava, sweet potato, plantains, bananas, rice, and taro roots are also very commonly used. Influence is made up of Indian, Asian, and Spanish along with Polynesian. Today’s dish combines a lot of the ingredients mentioned above and is an example of what a meal may consist of if your were to visit the island. The recipe of this dish can be found here.

I don’t known about you, but I have never had papaya before and neither has Ian. I thought the flesh was very similar to cantaloupe however the seeds were very unique and unexpected. I almost had my stove top maxed out while preparing the dish but overall it wasn’t too challenging and used simple and known cooking methods.

This dish was another unique one. We had never had papaya before and thought it would have been sweeter. Overall it was kind of bland, but it was colorful and had a good variety of ingredients. I would recommend playing around with Asian or Indian spices to jazz it up. The dish was rated 6.5/10 between the two of us.

(63) Kiribati – Crab and Tuna Curry

Kiribati Aerial View. Source: The Loop.com

Welcome to another tiny and mighty country of the Pacific Islands- Kiribati! This country is made up of 32 atolls and a coral raised island, the majority living on Tarawa atoll. Kiribati can mostly be split into three main sections: Tungaru, Line Islands, and Phoenix Islands (Banaba is the only island excluded from the groupings). You can spot this chain of islands bordering several other islands of the Pacific including Fiji, The Solomon Islands, The Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu. It’s the only country that can be found in all four hemispheres of the world and the first to ring in the new year. You can find coconut trees on every island which most measure only 13ft above sea level. Unfortunately as you can see this country is thin and at high risk of sinking under the ocean due to global warming.

The cuisine found on the islands consists mostly of local produce and meat such as coconut, various seafood, taro root, and breadfruit. Due to limited land area not much produce is grown on the island. The meal I made to honor Kiribati was a crab and tuna curry. The recipe I used was made out of inspiration of Kiribati and not a “traditional recipe” but likely is something that could be made and enjoyed in this nation.

The recipe was fairly simple and straight forward. I opted to use frozen vegetables to make cooking easier and had to substitute crab legs with mussels because I was unable to get any locally. The only crab meat that was available (and not totally fake) was the kind you would use to make crab cakes, so not the most ideal. Other than the seafood mishaps it was easy to get the ingredients. Look at all those colors!

This curry-dominated dish was delicious and extremely flavorful. Unfortunately the crab meat did not stand up to what I would suspect full crab legs would bring to the table, however the additional of mussels helped it out. I would suggest lobster tail/claws or shrimp as the closest substitutes if you are unable to get your hands on crab meat. All in all it was another great dish. We rated it 7.5/10.