Niueans have traditionally prided themselves on the quality of their food and their standards of food preparation; using it as a way to distinguish themselves from other cultures.
The traditional diet was made up of plants and fruits gathered in the forests; small shellfish, sea urchins, crustaceans and snails gathered on the reefs and fish caught in the sea. The uga (the coconut eating land crab) remains a sought-after delicacy and during December and January each year peka (flying foxes) and lupe (Pacific pigeons) can be harvested.
The very best range of traditional local food is found at the annual village show days – each of Niue’s 14 villages hosts a show-day every year to showcase local cooking, craft, sporting and cultural skills. A large earth oven, or ‘umu’, is prepared, and visitors can sample some rarely found and delicious treats.
There are cultural prohibitions against eating the sea turtle and sharks.
Sources: www.niueisland.com/food/ and Niue by Charles Cooper. Reed Children’s Books, 2000, Auckland, New Zealand. ISBN 18694884