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Coconuts are an interesting island staple....

We were amazed by how coconuts are used for just about every dish of food in Samoa. Coconut trees sprout everywhere, without being in the soil.  Trees are growing everywhere and they are loaded with about 50 coconuts per tree, which is quite dangerous, but only if you happen to be standing under a tall tree at the wrong time.  Our 4 year old grandson had a coconut fall less than a foot from his head when he was playing at a park.  A coconut in its husk is bigger than a child's head and quite heavy! 

Coconuts are so plentiful that every day you find them on streets, floating in the ocean,  on the beaches, and sprouting along all the hiking trails.  They sprout and start growing into a tree without even being buried.  They will sprout and then a root will travel down to the ground and start a new tree.  

When hiking we had run out of water, so we found a thick stick, stuck it in the sand and used it to pry off the husk of a coconut.  Then we took a rock and broke it open, which is easy to do if you know where to hit it. Then we drank the coconut water inside, which tastes an awful lot like Sprite.  Seriously.  

The Samoans don't usually eat the coconut meat--they feed that to the animals--but they use coconut cream in just about everything.  They can quickly husk a coconut, and then use a scraper attached to a wooden horse (see picture) to scrape the white meat into a bowl.  Then they set the meat into the coconut husk, and squeeze all of the coconut milk out of the flaked meat into the bowl.  

The coconut milk is used to make koko rice for breakfast, and it is used as a fat substitute in many recipes.  When they add a little salt and onion to it, it makes a wonderfully rich sauce on top of native vegetables, starches, and meats.  Coconut milk is used in just about every traditional dessert, bakery item, main dish, and side dish in Samoa.

If you are wondering what the third picture above is, it is a niu, or a young coconut.  The middle part tastes a lot like cotton candy, believe it or not, and kids love it.  

 

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Susiana is still at it!

Susiana started Islanders Luau in 1970 (see our "About Us" page).  We pull this gorgeous great-grandmother out of retirement a couple of times a year to entertain "by special request!"  Like many children in Samoa, she learned to play the ukulele as a child with a handmade uke, made out of a coconut.  She mastered it to the point that she can really crank on it--while she sings all the Hawaiian oldies.   About 10 years ago, she was playing it "by special request", and she even played it behind her head--really well!  Many Samoans are blessed with incredible musical talent, and she has brought her magic to many people throughout Southern California for over 50 years!

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Islanders' flowers inspired by the flowers of Samoa

When our family took our first trip to the Samoan islands in 2005, we were delighted by the unique, striking flowers that grew in our family's yards.  When we went to Samoa again in 2016 we noticed that those same unique flowers can be found along remote hiking trails. We strive to use those same authentic tropical flowers for our customers' luaus.   The little details, like using authentic tropical flowers, are what set us apart!

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Native crafts from Samoa

Last month Islanders Luau traveled to Samoa to learn of Maril's heritage. We went to a Senior Center where the American Samoan Government has hired Senior Citizens to teach children traditional skills.  These skills are becoming scarce as Samoans focus on mastering Western skills. We were so grateful that the seniors squeezed us into their schedule.  Islanders Luau - We Bring the Islands To You  #Tradition

Diana designs many of the decorations and props that we use at our luaus.  By studying the traditional skills of weaving, carving, and traditional fabric printing, Islanders Luau is second-to-none in Southern California for authentic decor that will WOW your guests!

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Snorkeling in American Samoa

We traveled to the five islands of American Samoa in February 2017 to visit family and experience life in Samoa.  Maril's mom, Susiana, was born "under a coconut tree" in Samoa in the 1940's.  Our son, who lives there now, showed us the best spots to snorkel, so we can share them with you. Talofa Lava!

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