Kapeneta Te'o-Tafiti, Senior Cultural Ambassador Samoan Village, Polynesian Cultural Center

Kapeneta Te’o-Tafiti, Senior Cultural Ambassador Samoan Village, Polynesian Cultural Center

Up and until the time I entered college, I had no idea that men do all the cooking anywhere.  Certainly not in my home, though my dad was a good cook himself.  Unfortunately, his genes never got passed down to me.  It wasn’t until I started working at the Polynesian Cultural Center that I heard that men do all the cooking in the Islands of Samoa. I was so surprised!  First, I thought it was funny.  Then I thought it was really cool.

Traditionally, the building of the umu (underground oven) and the cooking of food were prepared and done by the Samoan men.  The women would help gather firewood and collect leaves to cover the rock oven. But it was the men and boys that would scrape the breadfruit and taro and peel the green bananas and made the coconut milk.  Meat and/or fish were prepared for the umu.

Photo courtesy of polynesianxplorer.com

Photo courtesy of polynesianxplorer.com

I imagine in some Samoan homes today, men do the cooking.  I’ve chosen to leave the cooking to my Japanese wife who is a darned good cook. Samoan women cook in many homes now too, but its most common for the men to cook, or at least take part in it rather the women doing it all.

Enjoy this video taken at the Samoan Village in the Polynesian Cultural Center as we demonstrate how men do the cooking.   


bobbyakoiPCC blogger, Bobby Akoi.  Originally from Keaukaha on the Big Island of Hawai’I,  hi
s path took an unexpected turn to the little town of La’ie as student at Church College of Hawai’i.  Never in his wildest dreams did he think he’d be working at the #1 paid tourist attraction in the State of Hawaii.   Today he is the Director of Protocol & Community Relations for the Polynesian Cultural Center.  He is married to Hiromi and has 4 children.