Traditional Foods You Must Try when in Papua New Guinea

8 Traditional Foods You Must Try when in West Papua

Traditional foods of Papua New Guinea are Eastern New Guinea island’s local foods. While Southeast Asian food has little influence in the cuisine of Papua New Guinea or PNG, the food sees the most similarities with western New Guinea as well as the surrounding Oceanic countries. Papua New Guinea’s food is, surprisingly, largely vegetarian and based on agricultural crops such as sago, rice, taro, and yams. Travelers to the country will be enamored by the vast variety of fruits used in eastern New Guinea’s cuisine, including pawpaws, pineapples, passionfruit, and, particularly, mangoes. With 82% of the island’s populace being rural, the menu becomes basic when you travel to the country’s remote parts. So, what local food specialties should you be looking out for? Check out our list, below, of traditional foods in Papua New Guinea at Bestechz.


Traditional Foods You Must Try when in Papua New Guinea

Kaukau (sweet potato)

Sweet potato- Traditional Foods You Must Try when in Papua New Guinea

In a country whose roots go back to more than tens of thousands of years, it is heartening to see the Kaukau become a prevalent ingredient to Papua New Guinean’s cuisine in less than 500 years. Within 400 years of cultivation, 417 species of Kaukau were grown in the country, with it representing 90% of all calories consumed daily on an average today. Kaukau actually refers to the sweet potato element in dishes and can be cooked in numerous ways. The commonest, most popular way of cooking it is with coconut, which is everyday food as well as food for special occasions and ceremonies.

Kumu (edible green vegetables)

Palmer Amaranth- Traditional Foods You Must Try when in Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinean, edible, highly nutritious green vegetables are known as ‘Kumu’/’Kumus’. These include leaves such as Rungia, Kangkong, Amaranth, Aibika, and more. Grown by about a third of the rural population, cooked young leaves are eaten along with raw fruit of numerous fig-bearing trees, with kumu musong (hairy vegetables) frequently eaten. A common Papuan saying is ‘No kumu, no kai’ which essentially translates to ‘No greens, no dinner’. Hence, the importance of green veggies which, along with a protein such as fish, makes for a complete meal.


This is sweet potato. Sweet potato is the staple food for the people of West Papua. The Papuan people do not grow rice. The natives consumed sweet potatoes and sago. Sweet potatoes are the inherited food of the ancestors with high nutritional value. The government wants to develop sweet potatoes into an industry that can provide benefits to the people of Papua. The government wants to build tapioca factory to increase the selling value of sweet potato. Tapioca starch has an expensive price compared to selling raw sweet potatoes. This is a great opportunity to improve people’s economy. You should know that sweet potato have a better effect compared to rice. Rice can trigger diabetes.


Papeda Makanan Khas Maluku dan Papua - Makanan Indonesia

Actually, this food is not only a typical food of West Papua but also some eastern Indonesia. This food is made from sago. Papeda should be cooked for several minutes until the texture of the food can turn into mush. The white porridge with the sticky texture looks like glue and the flavor of this food is bland. Usually, Papeda will be eaten with tuna or mubara. The fish is cooked with turmeric so the fish sauce becomes yellow and the taste of the fish becomes savory. The way to eat Papeda is the same as rice. This food will make you addicted because the delicious and delicious flavor mixed together.

Martabak Sagu

This is a martabak made from sago. Sago is already mashed and fried. Martabak will be smeared with brown sugar. This is food that comes from Fakfak Regency. You must be surprised to see this food. This food is different from the egg and sweet martabak. The factor that distinguishes this martabak from other foods is the staple used in making martabak. Martabak is made with sago so this martabak taste sweet and delicious. If you come to this area, then you can directly try this martabak.

Dia (sweet sago dish)

Mango pomelo sago- Traditional Foods You Must Try when in Papua New Guinea

Another Central District delicacy similar to the Saksak and combining the ingredients of sago and bananas cooked with thick coconut cream, instead of the coconut milk, is Dia. Sometimes, the Motu people of southern Papua New Guinea call the Saksak as Dia, using them alternately due to differences in cooking styles. In some traditional cooking styles, sugar isn’t used at all; instead, the sweetest of the bananas are used to lend sweetness to the dish.