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Tuvalu Travel Guide

Food and Drink

Pulaka (swamp taro) is eaten boiled or roasted or is made into pudding. Breadfruit, a staple, is baked, boiled with coconut cream, or fried in oil as chips. Plantain (cooking bananas) may also be boiled or chipped. Sweet potatoes, though becoming popular, are still only served on special occasions. Fish is eaten every day, both whitefish and tuna; pork, chicken, and eggs add a little variety. Reddish-colored fish caught in the lagoons may be poisonous. If you're interested in fishing, make it known and someone will take you out in their canoe. Imported foods such as rice, corned beef, sugar, and a variety of canned items are used in vast amounts.

When eating on the outer islands, ask for some of the local dishes such as laulu or lolo (a taro leaf in coconut cream, not unlike spinach and delicious), palusami (laulu, onions, and fish, usually wrapped in banana leaves), uu (coconut crab, only readily available on Nukulaelae and Nukufetau), and ula (crayfish).

The water should be considered suspect and boiled. There are no rivers or streams and the groundwater is not potable, so all water is collected in catchments or processed at a desalination plant. During droughts there's a serious water shortage.

Quench your thirst with pi (drinking coconut), kaleve (sweet coconut toddy, generally extracted morning and night), or supersweet coffee and tea. Kao is sour toddy produced by fermenting kaleve two or three days. Take care, as kao can quickly render you senseless and produces a vicious hangover. Drinking alcohol in public is prohibited.

Village Life