CUISINE OF CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE
Easter Island's culinary delights have long since been shaped by a scarcity of food. But, in the modern mail-order, global economy, grocers can now offer a wider selection of ingredients. With these previously unobtainable items, a fresh, new spin has been put on traditional classics.
Based mainly on availability, Easter Islanders' diet previously consists mostly of fruit and seafood. Rapa Nui legend recounts extensive feasts with numerous fish varieties, such as eel and lobster. Sweet potatoes have a long-standing delicious history on Easter Island, as do cassava and bananas.
On Easter Island, the pineapple is a prized delicacy recognized for its exceptional flavor. Priced to reflect their scarcity, local pineapples are much smaller, juicier, and brighter than pineapple found in most other regions.
Crawfish, or 'rape rape,' tuna, mahi-mahi, lobster, and shrimp are also native to the island. When available, dishes are also prepared with meat such as beef tenderloin and chicken. Once introduced to Easter Island from the Marquesas Islands, agricultural products such as taro and sugar cane also became staples.
Traditionally prepared meals in the Umu Rapa Nui or Easter Island curanto-style are sometimes called an "earth oven." This method utilizes firewood and red-hot stones in a hole in the ground where food is cooked. Meat is placed atop hot rocks and covered with banana leaves. Additional layers of sweet potatoes or cassava are then placed on the leaves and stones. The tubers are then covered again with banana leaves and earth. After roughly six hours, the curanto is a communal meal to share.
Read more about Easter Island
Ceviche likely originated in Peru and quickly gained notoriety throughout South America and Central America. Still, it's a dish that has a long history in the South Pacific, as well. Recipes and preparation methods vary significantly from island to island. Although they're all delicious, Rapa Nui ceviche easily stands above the rest.
With coconut milk as the main ingredient, the dish pairs well with just about anything, including rice and sweet potatoes. Today's contemporary Rapa Nui cuisine is flavorful and exciting while retaining its heritage-staple, classic elements. Intermingling newly available ingredients with the island's ancestral ingredients have opened up a new and exciting culinary story phase.
Pairs Perfectly with Rapa Nui Po'e