Cook Islands is globally known as the tropical oasis for Polynesian Cuisine. Aside from the amazing sites and the outstanding scenery, you get a chance to enjoy delicious, healthy and fulfilling dishes. Cook Islands is the perfect place for a food crawl because the locals outdo themselves when it comes to cooking. Below is a comprehensive guide of what to eat for your next trip to Cook Islands. Here are 8 amazing delicacies you should try.
1. Ika Mata
Ika Mata should be at the top of your list because it is the most delicious thing you’ll ever taste. No Kidding! This dish is at the top of our list for a reason. It is a traditional delicacy that translates to raw fish. However, the dish offers more than that. Ika Mata is a Cook Islands Maori dish made with raw fish, finely chopped vegetables with a base of coconut cream. The raw fish (Marora) is flying fish, so if you’ve never had this before, this is your chance. If you’re looking for what to eat in Cook Islands, this refreshing treat should be at the top of your list.
2. Curried Eke (Octopus)
Anyone looking forward to trying Polynesian Cuisine should add Curried Eke to their food list. This is an Octopus dish presented in the Cook Islands way. The beauty of this dish is that it’s made from a very simple recipe. The ingredients come together nicely, and you will be marveled by the taste and the aroma. For this dish, Octopus is cooked in coconut cream, onions, spices and garlic.
3. Banana Poke
If you have a sweet tooth, you will love this sweet treat. Remember that it is pronounced as banana poh. Aside from being quite tasty, Banana Poke is also a resourceful dish because it’s made with overripe bananas. Like every other dish we have looked at, this too is made with coconut cream. Other ingredients include a generous amount of sugar and a special arrowroot ingredient.
This incredibly nutritious Cook Islands Cuisine is made with Taro leaves. The leaves are usually picked when they’re young and cooked in coconut cream. It is made with caramelized onions, so you can imagine how delicious the meal is. You can serve Rukau with corned beef or choose to enjoy it as a stand-alone vegetarian dish. This is an excellent breakfast dish served in prestigious hotels.
Such a funny name, right? Rori is yet another delicious Polynesian cuisine you can have at Cook Islands. It is commonly known as Sea Cucumber after the ingredients the dish is made from. If you’ve ever gone on a snorkeling expedition in Cook Islands, you must have noticed that there are plenty of Sea Cucumbers. Making Rori takes skill, and just a simple error will have you eating something else. That is why you should let the locals do the magic, while you sit back and enjoy. Since it’s cooked with butter, garlic and herbs, it has a refreshing salty-sweet taste that you’ll love.
6. Locally Caught Fresh Tuna Sashimi
Even though tuna is not a dish unique to Cook Islands, their Tuna Sashimi is a worthy mention. The Polynesian Cuisine scene is blessed with an abundance of beautifully fresh tuna that is a must-have. If you’re wondering what to eat when you get here, add this delicious dish to your list. The best part about the locally caught fresh Tuna Sashimi in Cook Islands is you can enjoy them in a multitude of ways. This is a light, yet nourishing dish you can have during your food crawl in Cook Islands.
7. Tropical Fruit
Well, you should always ensure that fruits are part of your food crawl. When you visit Cook Islands, make sure you experience the sweetness of your tropical fruits. Cook Islands has the richest local produce in all of South Pacific. If you’re wondering what types of tropical fruits to Cook Islands has to offer, think about star-fruits, custard apples, passion fruits, mangoes, pineapples, and pawpaw, just to mention a few. Imagine having a breakfast buffet with some of these amazing fruits.
Last but not least is Umukai. It is a great dish to experience because it’s a feast fit for royalty. This Polynesian cuisine is similar to New Zealand’s Hangi. This delicacy is cooked in an underground oven (Umu) while wrapped in banana leaves. The Umu uses heated stones and firewood to cook a magnificent banquet you will enjoy. This is a succulent vegan dish that will leave your belly full.
We hope that you’ll try these 8 fantastic dishes during your food crawls in Cook Islands. Polynesian cuisine is quite delicious, and it would be a lost opportunity to leave without tasting these foods. Hopefully, this read has given you inspiration on what to eat for your next trip.