How to Make 5 of our Favourite Samoan Foods

how to make faapapa how to make faiai eleni how to make keke puaa how to make pani popo how to make panikeke international foods polynesian foods Samoan Food Samoan recipes

Samoan food is rich, it can be sweet, it often includes coconuts but it is so delicious.  If you have not tried Samoan food, you are missing out.  While many of these are not traditional Samoan, they were introduced to Samoa and had the Samoan touch added to them, they are still considered Samoan food.  Hopefully, we can do a traditional Samoan food blog in the future.  Today these Samoan foods are what we love and adore and hope that you do too.
  1. Pani Popo

The rich coconut sauce that covers the buns brings the sweet bun to another level.  If you have not tried Pani Popo (coconut buns, then now is the time. They are amazing and once you know how to make them, you will want to eat them every single day!




  1. Faiai Eleni

When I lived in Samoa in High School the house girl would always make the most amazing fai ai eleni in the umu.  Her lamb neck soup was just as amazing.  So essentially fai ai eleni is canned mackerel mixed with coconut and onion and baked.  It is the yummiest when you eat it with taro.  Because so many of us live overseas, it can be a little difficult to have an umu to cook with.  That is why we are so happy that Veni Vlogs gives us the option of cooking it in the oven.



  1. Faapapa

When the pandemic hit the world we were left without toilet paper, pasta, soap and yeast (just naming a few items).  Making any bread product you will most likely need yeast.  But our Samoan people knew that this was not always necessary.  This coconut bread uses no yeast and is absolutely delicious.  If you are able to get frozen banana leaves to wrap the bread in while baking it will give it an additional flavour boost.


  1. Keke Puaa

I love watching Faye cook.  She just makes cooking really fun!  She teaches us how to make Keke Puaa.  This is like an Asian steamed pork bun or a manapua in Hawaii.  The inside, however, is not sweet, it is savoury and salty.  Keke puaa translates to pig cake but it is a steamed bun filled with meat.  If it has chicken or lamb people will still refer to it as keke puaa.

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While steam is the most common if you go to the makeki I Samoa (Markets in Samoa) you can also get fried keke puaa.  Sometimes they even add saimini in with the meat. SO YUMMY!

5. Panikeke

Panikeke is a pancake.  It is not like the flat pancakes (panikeke mafolafola) it is a round ball (like a jam donut without the jam).  This confuses me sometimes because when I look at it my mind sees a donut and goes to say donut, but really it is a pancake.

They are delicious and often time’s people use different fruits to add more flavour.  This video adds banana, but other videos use pineapple.  I personally want to make a chocolate panikeke, because I am a chocoholic. Now my brain is thinking Koko Samoa flavoured panikeke.  Can someone please make that for me?

I digress.  Panikeke is like the equivalent of biscuits with a cup of tea.  When you have a cup of koko, it just goes along with a panikeke.  When you sit and have a chat with a friend, “would you like a koko Samoa and a panikeke?”  When you go and visit family you take along some panikeke to go with the tea or koko or coffee.

They may be small but panikeke can start some great and meaningful conversations. They can bring a mourning family together.  Panikeke can instigate a lifetime of memories.  If you have not tried Panikeke you should!

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These are our favourite Samoan foods, tell us in the comments what yours are.

If you liked this blog perhaps you would be interested in reading Samoan Songs We Love.

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