Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Tongan "Eating"

Tongans hold what they call "eating's" for special occasions, that is basically what they do, "eat."

I remember the first such event that I went to, with my neighbors brought me. I piled into their suburban along with Senita the oldest daughter, Sana the next oldest and Pine the youngest daughter. The boy's all had to sit on the floor in the back as they are generally segregated to the girls.

We went to someones apartment building and the "eating" was already in progress. I learned later that they usually say a good and long prayer before such events (sat through many in uncomfortable ignorance as to what they were saying and how long it would take to say it).

It had a community potluck type feeling to it as they had set up several long tables and everyone was milling around in line waiting for their turn. They embarrassed me by letting me go first (I thought it odd anyway), so I tried to navigate my way through the offerings.

There were large round yams, cut up into pieces, and another type of root (I later learned this was called Taro). There were little tin foil packages containing who knows what (these are called Lu' Pulu literally leaves and beef, the leaves are taro leaves or spinach in a pinch).

Next there was a dish of cut up fish mixed with coconut milk, little bits of cucumber, tomato, and spring onions. I took some of this and liked it. In fact I always get this (called Ota') when I go to these things, even though I later learned that it is a dish of raw fish soaked overnight in lemon juice before prepared.

At this particular "eating" they had prepared a dish of squid... I felt adventurous so I took a bit (even ate it).

Plus they had some clams or eh, muscles boiled and prepared with mayo, tomatoes, and spring onions.

They also had a dish that looked like translucent spaghetti mixed with vegetables and beef. I took a bit, but the translucent spaghetti freaked me out a bit, this dish is one of my children's favorites, it's called Chop Sui (made in different ways I suppose by different peoples).

When I sat down to eat my plate was so full of this foreign food and I picked at it a bit until I found that it was actually quite good!!

Here is a recipe for Lu Pulu... plus a recipe for 'Otai!! (a yummy fruity drink)



• One small can of corned beef
• Ten or more spinach or taro leaves
• One small bottle of thickened cream
• Chopped onions
• Aluminum foil


Step 1: cut the foil and spread out in a square shape

Step 2: Arrange the spinach leaves onto the foil. Make sure that there are no gaps

Step 3: Slice the corned beef and lay it on the leaves

Step 4: Put the onions on the meat

Step 5: Spread the thickened cream all over the corned beef.

Step 6: Fold it up by the leaves then fold over the foil, cook in an oven.


Serve with steamed taro, mixed sliced vegetables, salt and a glass of watermelon drink called 'Otai!!



Half a medium watermelon
1 can Crushed Pineapple
6 medium Apples
Water to make 8 quarts
½ cup (4 ounces) Coconut


Step 1: Grate watermelon from skin into a bowl, remove seeds.

Step 2: Grate apples and pineapple into the bowl.

Step 3: Pour in coconut milk or cream, mixing.

Step 4: Add cold water.

Step 5: Refrigerate.

Step 6: Sweeten each serving to individual taste.

Whole Recipe
Calories 1,948, Fat 72, Fiber 18.4

Per cup (Makes 32 cups)
Calories 61, Fat 2.25, Fiber 0.575

Per 2 cup serving
Calories 122, Fat 4.5, Fiber 1.15

1 comment:

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I would LOVE to go to an eatting!!!! There's nothing that my Prince and I enjoy more than great food and wonderful company. That prayer sounds so sweet and spiritual.......
Tell you're hunny I said he looks pretty hot......kind of reminds me of my Prince Charming :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl