Papua New Guinean cuisine

The cuisine of Papua New Guinea are the traditional varied foods found in the eastern part of the New Guinea island. Approximately 80% of the population is reliant on subsistence agriculture, so a large percentage of food energy and protein consumed in Papua New Guinea is produced locally, while the balance is imported. The staple foods in Papua New Guinea includes root crops, bananas, and sago.[1] Papua New Guinea's diet is largely vegetarian, especially in the Gulf and Highlands regions.

Mumu is a traditional method of cooking large quantities of food throughout Papua New Guinea, as well as other islands in the Pacific. It consists of an earth oven that is filled with hot coal or stones, that may be placed in different orientations, and subsequently cooked for a lengthy period of time. Despite the presence of advent ovens in Papua New Guinea, mumu is still prevalent at household level.[2]


Along with other islands in the western Pacific, kava is usually made into a drink by mixing the root of the crop with water. It is a popular and non-alcoholic beverage. Coffee is Papua New Guinea's second largest agricultural export, after oil palm, and is majorly grown in the Highlands Region. Hence, coffee is a widely consumed beverage in the country. Apart from non-alcoholic drinks, beer is an alcoholic beverage that is favored among many Papua New Guineans.

A sago pancake


Sago is a common and essential part of Papua New Guinean cuisine,[3] as the starch ingredient is included in several traditional dishes, such as pancakes and pudding. Sago is in the form of flour usually extracted from the palm tree. Kaukau, the Tok Pisin term for "sweet potato", is also a vital and important crop in the country. Other staples in the Papua New Guinean diet include karuka, cassava, breadfruit (ulu), and coconuts. Coconut cream is a delicacy often found in numerous local dishes of Papua New Guinea.[4] Coastal regions traditionally use coconut milk and cream as a cooking medium, while the Highlands regions do not.[5] Coconut oil is used on special occasions in the coastal regions.

Meat proteins are occasionally consumed in Papua New Guinea. However, for people residing in coastal areas, seafood forms a substantial part of their diet.[6] Pork is regarded as a celebratory meat in Papua New Guinea, and is prepared on special occasions, including Christmas feasts.[7]

Notable dishesEdit

  • Mumu is regarded as the national dish of Papua New Guinea. It is composed of pork, sweet potato, rice, and vegetables. Mumu is an example of a balanced dish composed of the two bases, crops (including starch) and meat. The dish is named after the earth oven used traditionally.
  • Chicken pot is a dish consisting of chicken that has been stewed with mixed vegetables and coconut cream.
  • Kokoda is a dish consisting of fish that is cooked in a lime-coconut sauce. The dish is similar to ceviche. Kokoda is also present in Fijian cuisine.[8]
  • Saksak are steamed dumplings composed of banana, ground sago, and sugar mixed and wrapped in a banana leaf, and are subsequently steamed.
  • Dia is a dessert composed of sago and bananas cooked in coconut cream. Sugar is not added in some cooking exceptions. Instead, sweeter bananas are used to lend sweetness to the dish.

Culinary influencesEdit

The European invasion of Papua New Guinea, beginning in the 16th century, was the first introduction to the local cuisine. European settlers imported livestock and crops to the region in the 19th century, which served significant commercial value.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bourke, R. Michael; Harwood, Tracy, eds. (August 2009). "Food and Agriculture in Papua New Guinea". doi:10.22459/fapng.08.2009. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "Mumu: A traditional method of slow cooking in Papua New Guinea". Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  3. ^ Papua New Guinea. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2017, from
  4. ^ "Island Cuisine in the Emirau Islands of Papua New Guinea". October 13, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  5. ^ THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA: PEOPLE & CUISINE. (2017). [ebook] p.10. Available at: [Accessed 15 Dec. 2017].
  6. ^ The Food of Papua New Guinea [Video file]. (2015, September 24). Retrieved from
  7. ^ "IT'S A PIG'S LIFE IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA". Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  8. ^ "How to make Kokoda (Fijian Ceviche)". This Island Life. 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  9. ^ "Food, Dining, & Drinks in Papua New Guinea". April 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2018.