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Niuean Cuisine

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Niue - Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Niuean Cuisine HistoryEdit

Niue is an island in the Southern Pacific, mostly inhabited by Polynesians. The plantations are mostly filled with manioc, taro and breadfruit, but banana trees can also be found in this region. The wide range of exotic plants that can be found in Niue includes taros, papayas, coconuts, bananas, yams, cassavas and breadfruits and all these are intensively used in the local cuisine. The most significant aliments when discussing the Niue Island’s recipes are the fish and the vegetables. The staple aliment in the Niue cuisine is the fish. Fish is consumed in various ways, like roasted, grilled, raw and in soups or stews and there is a wide spectrum of edible and enjoyable fish species: Tuna (ahi), dolphin (mahi mahi), Parrot Fish (pakati), Barracuda (ono), coconut crabs and Crayfish. In the areas which are not that populated, people prefer to eat vegetable meals, like taro roots or manioc.

Cuisines of Niue Edit

Map of Niue

Map of Niue - Click to enlarge

An important event that takes place in Niue is the annual village show days, where people from all the 14 villages gather to show their local cooking and culinary culture, for a great exchange of regional cuisines. A big umu (earth oven) is set for the tourists, who can try the delicacies from all Niue`s cuisines. In the central town, Alofi, the markete are the local markets that take place 2 times every week and all the local fruits and vegetables, but also fish and seafood can be found there. Among the most popular aliments from markete there are: uga, talo, yams, cassava and breadfruit. Even though these tropical plants can be found all over the region, there are a few differences between the central town Alofi and the villages. In Alofi, Polynesian and European food can be found in the local restaurants, besides the traditional Niue ones, while in the villages, people usually consume only the local plants and fish and the food is mostly homemade, using the earth ovens.

Preparation Methods for Niuean Cooking Edit

The visual attractiveness of the dish is important, and a balance between colors and proportion differentiates. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which is more or less general in all of Niue’s regions. Meat is one of the main elements of most Niue dishes and cured and smoked hams are often parts of delicious dishes. Niue cuisine uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional dishes. While there are no specific or unique preparation methods for Niue cooking, we should point out that attention to detail is important in the Niue cuisine. Using the right amount of spices for example is essential – either for spicing up the taste or for coloring the dish. The diversity of vegetables and cereals found in Niue is also noticed in the delicious dishes belonging to their cuisine.

Special Equipment for Niuean Cooking Edit

Here are a few items that will come handy while cooking Niue food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers. Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Niue cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Niue dishes. You should consider insulated food carriers if you are transporting the food and a full set of kitchen linens and uniforms if you wish to look like a pro. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Niue food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking "arsenal".

Niuean Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

People of Niue enjoy their local celebrations and festivals and as well, the religious holidays are highly treasured. An important event that takes place in Niue is the annual village show days, where people from all the 14 villages gather to show their local cooking and culinary culture, for a great exchange of regional cuisines. A big umu (earth oven) is set for the tourists, who can try the delicacies. On Christmas dinner, the inhabitants of Niue prepare the traditional faikai, which basically means chunks of fish, marinated in coconut cream. This meal is served with taro and coconut bread, which is very popular and consumed all through the year.

People in Niuean Food Edit

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Niue chefs are passionate about their traditional dishes and they enjoy presenting them to foreigners who have never tasted them before. Whether they are cooking dishes that go back in time for centuries or brand new, modern dishes, Niue chefs take pride in what they do, and this is readily noticeable in the unforgettable taste of their cooking. There are many chefs who creatively use the basic ingredients and cooking method for traditional Niue dishes and create original and delicious food variations.

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