Cuisine & Customs
Cuisine & Customs
Flynn’s Tours provides a unique agri-tourism experience that involves local villagers demonstrating the native garden production of many vegetables including peanuts, the cultivation and harvesting of cocoa, copra, bananas and other fruit and nut bearing trees. Other interesting processes show the preparation of sago and the cultivation of stimulants like tobacco and buai along with the many plants used for medicinal and customary purposes. Animal husbandry and hunting methods are also demonstrated.
Papua New Guinea’s many styles of food are prepared to observe special occasions such as death, marriage and initiation. In the Highlands, "mumu" or earth oven is a convenient method of cooking to cater for large numbers of people. The style of mumu is similar throughout the Highlands, although the Eastern Highlanders pour water on the hot stones to produce steam to cook the food. For other provinces, they just put leaves on the stone and put their pork and rest of vegetables including greens. kaukau, banana, yam and taro. The food is then covered with leaves and soil to trap the heat. This exercise can take 4-6 hours. Once the food is ready, the guests are seated on mats around the food which is placed on beds of leaves. Speeches are made at the conclusion of eating and there is usually enough food for people to take some home.
Western Highlanders pride themselves in accumulating wealth and distributing it. This stems from the olden day system of "Moka" (pig killing and exchange ceremony) where hundreds of pigs are slaughter and distributed to end the mourning period of a Chief or bigman, compensation payments to a rival tribe, marriage (bride price payment), etc.
Preparing food for a special occasion in the New Guinea Islands and may take up to 24 hours if the food is to be distributed the next day. So the food is cooked in a Mumu (earth oven). With mumu, shallow pit is dug and stones are placed at the bottom. Then dry firewood are placed on top and more stones are added on top of the firewood. There has to be enough wood to ensure the stones are red hot. When that stage is reached, pieces of remaining burnt wood are removed, ashes on stone are blown off using leaves and the stones are removed to the sides and is ready for the "Karamap" to be placed. Karamap is the Tok Pisin version of wrap up in English. While the mumu stones were heating, the food were wrapped up in banana leaves and creamed. A mumu can have up to four or five karamaps. Once the Karamaps are placed on the mumu pit, hot stones are added to cover the Karamaps, making sure there is no gap for heat to escape. A lot of leaves are the used cover the the mumu.
In a Karamap, you will find peeled and chopped taros, sweet potatoes, ripe bananas, pork , chicken pieces and greens. And all nicely creamed in pure coconut cream. With Karamap you used more leaves to protect the food from being burnt. In another Karamap you will find fish and the vegetables. You will find that in any dish or meals in any homes in the New Guinea islands, coconut cream is never missing. The mumu is removed on the appointed day. The Karamap are unwrapped and food is laid out on leaves on the tables in the temporary coconut thatched shelters.
This occasion is marked with sing sings and speeches.
Another popular fast dish in East New Britain is the "Aigir". Stones are heated while the food is prepared. Chicken, vegetables and greens. Coconuts are scraped to get enough cream. With Aigir now, pots are used to cook. As the food is placed in the pot, cococunt cream is poured to cover the food. Using tongs the hot stones are dipped into a bowl for few seconds and removed. They are placed on strips of leaves and strategically placed in the pot. The hot stones cause instant boiling. The lid of the pot is covered properly to trap the heat below. Normally after an hour the Aigir is ready.
In all of these traditions diplomacy is observed so no one is offended. Flynn’s Tours can introduce you to many other customs and foods cooked in many different ways by many different tribes throughout the length and breadth of the country.