Meal 111: Micronesia
At 1 million square miles with only 100,000-ish people, the Federated States of Micronesia is both huge and tiny. (Obviously, almost all of that square mileage is ocean.)
As with much of the rest of the Pacific islands, the traditional bland starches and simply cooked fish aren’t the most stimulating cuisine. Micronesians have swung the pendulum far to the other side, with some really intense and novel uses of imported flavors. (Read below for what they do with ramen and Kool-Aid.)
There’s precious little about Micronesian cuisine online. The two most useful sources I found were a few posts from this teacher’s blog for traditional foods, and this astonishing account of some of the uses of modern foods on the island of Chuuk.
Along for the adventure were Emily, Jens, Molly, Will, Caitlin, Trish, Amy, Jordana, David, Michele, Emily, and guests.
Ramen snack | “Recipe”
When I first saw that a common snack in Micronesia is dry ramen with its seasoning packet plus Kool-Aid, I thought it might have just been one person’s crazy idea. But I read plenty more about the abundance of Kool-Aid, especially consumed in dry form, well, we had to try it. We tried various combinations: pork ramen with cherry Kool-Aid was best, and shrimp with tropical fruit was definitely the worst.
The island of Kosrae, where our friend Nathan did Peace Corps, is famous, at least throughout Micronesia, for its Sunday Soup. Below is a recipe, as given by LeiviaChenisa Situl in response to a Facebook post of Nathan’s. You’ll note from the photo that I included crab, because I saw clarified elsewhere that shellfish would work, and the crab was fresh at the market. Despite the simplicity, it was really quite flavorful.
Simple recipe. Boil your h2o first,bring up to boil then add the fish more better with bone for flavor for about 10-15 minutes and take fish out,make sure no bones in the stock and add on your uncooked rice cook all the way till rice cook and add on onions and salt and pepper and the last thing is coconut milk.
Fill 3/4 of the pot
Fish- half fish or any meat
2 can coconut milk
salt n pepper with taste
Yapese taro salad
Picture a mayonnaise-based potato salad, but instead of potatoes, it’s chunks of boiled purple taro. Pretty tasty, and the taro has a fun texture.
Rohtamah and kon | Pounded taro and pounded breadfruit with coconut milk | Description
The pounded taro with sugar and coconut milk, not pictured, was fine. The pounded breadfruit, pictured before being covered with coconut milk, was not. Never having had fresh breadfruit, I don’t know if the overwhelmind blandness and mouth-drying texture came from being deep-frozen and potentially mishandled en route, or if breadfruit really is that unappealing. In any event, no more frozen breadfruit for me.
Sukusuk | Pounded banana with coconut milk
Straightforward and tasty, though yes, it’s yet another mushy thing covered in coconut milk. The banana leaf made for a little variety in presentation.