Palauan cuisine is comprised of a marvelous variety, with heavy influences coming from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and the United States. Visitors traveling to this tiny country will see this variety reflected in the restaurants. You can dine on everything from USA-style barbecue pub and grilles, to Chinese, Korean, Italian, and even Indian curry dishes that have a unique Palauan twist to them. Also quite popular and available are fine Japanese eateries that offer world-class sushi and sashimi. Of course, there are also plenty of restaurants that serve native-derived, traditional Palauan cuisine, which features an abundance of seafood dishes.
A Brief Bit of History-
Palau, along with other Pacific Islands, back in 1947, was made a part of the United States-governed Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1979, they were offered to be joined with the Federated States of Micronesia. This offer was voted down, and subsequently the islands gained full sovereignty, under a Compact of Free Association with the United States, in 1994.
Traditional native Palauan cuisine is much like most of the Pacific islands. Staples include root vegetables, like pandan and taro. Also integral to the diet are pumpkins and yams. Interestingly enough, taro roots are, by a long held tradition, harvested exclusively by the women.
If you take a sojourn down to the city fresh foods marketplaces, your eyes will be treated to colorful displays of exotic fruits. Passionfruit, breadfruit, dragon fruit, papaya and mango will be found, as well as soursop and the superfruit, rambutans.
Palauan cooks use coconut in a variety of ways. It is a major ingredient in many stews, soups, and seafood dishes, as well as being used as a sweetener in desserts and drinks. Along with root vegetables, rice is also a staple, and an important part of a great deal of Palauan meals.
Although traditions stay strong in Palau, among the younger generations there is a passion for all things Western, including foods – especially fast foods typical to North America. Tourists who come to Palau will also find fine dining available, offering exquisite fare in everything from traditional Palauan cuisine to international cuisine favorites.
Some of the more popular and traditional dishes in Palauan cuisine include Tinola, Broiled Fish, Ulkoy, Pichi-Pichi, and Fruit Bat Soup. Also traditional, and simply marvelous, is a milk called Halo-halo, made with yams, plantains, coconut and jackfruit.
While traditions still hold strong in Palau, the younger generations tend to want to be “hip” like their Western counterparts. Hence, in recent times, American fast food eateries have popped up on the islands. So nowadays you can find, in the larger cities, native Palauans dining on everything from traditional foods like Tinola and Fruit Bat Soup, to a bucket of KFC or a Big Mac with Fries and a large Coke meal.
Now let’s get into the most important part of why you came to this page – the recipes! The dishes are listed below. Click on the one(s) you want, and you will be taken to a print-friendly page with the recipe(s) on it. Enjoy your ethnic food adventure into the world of …
Broiled Fish Palauan Style (whole fish seasoned with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and lime leaves, steamed in banana leaves)
Tinola (savory chicken soup made with papaya and ginger)
Ulkoy (crunchy, deep fried fritters made with summer squash and shrimp)
Halo-halo (a milky dessert drink made with fruits, ice cream, shredded ice and exotic flavorings)
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