What is Supoesi? 

Supoesi, one of the traditional foods of Samoa, practiced and consumed by our ancestors. The technique has passed down from one generation to another.  

Supoesi translates to Papaya Soup. It is both nutritional and delicious to eat at any time of the day. I personally prefer to serve it for breakfast with Samoan bread, panipeke, or panipopo! This traditional dish is more commonly served during big family gatherings on the islands, where you are sure to find it included on the menu.  


There are 5 basic ingredients that you need to make supoesi: ripe papaya, tapioca pearls, sugar, coconut milk, water, and lemon leaves (natural fragrance).

The ingredients you need to make supoesi are very simple. There are a number of alternatives to choose from, such as gluten-free tapioca pearls and substituting milk or cream instead of coconut milk if you have any allergies.


What do you need for Supoesi?

The ingredients to make supoesi are very simple but the technique on how to combine it is a bit complicated and time consuming. Most specifically, you are making your own authentic tapioca and coconut cream from scratch. However, in this blog, you will learn how to make supoesi with modern ingredients and techniques.  

To make supoesi (papaya soup) you only need 5 ingredients: ripe papayas, water, small tapioca pearls, coconut cream, sugar (which you only add if you like it sweeter), and lemon leaves (scent).   


Supoesi Recipe


  • 2 very ripe papayas (6-7 inches) 
  • 1 cup of small tapioca pearls 
  • 1 can of coconut milk  
  • 4 cups of water 
  • ½ cup brown sugar (optional)  
  • 4 lemon leaves 


  • Prep:10 mins 
  • Cook: 30 – 35 mins  
  • Total: 40 mins  
  • Servings: 4 – 6 servings 



1. Gather the ingredients 

Get 2 very ripe papayas from your farm or grocery store. Add small tapioca pearls and a can of coconut milk to your shopping list if you don’t have any at home.  


To prepare the papayas, cut them in halves and use a spoon to remove the seeds.

Follow the instructions on how to prepare the papayas.


2. Prepare the ingredients 


  • Wash the papayas thoroughly with water, put on the cutting board, then cut them in halves with a knife.  
  • Remove all the seeds with a spoon.
  • Rinse the seedless papayas again with water to remove any debris.
  • Scrape the flesh of the papayas into a clean medium pot.
  • Pour 4 cups of water into the pot.
  • Cover its lid.  


Traditionally, we eyeball the recipe to make supoesi. Without using measuring cups, the papayas we used depend on how many people are going to eat and the water has to level with the papayas’ flesh. 


before attempting to make supoesi, tapioca pearls need to soak with water in order to get soften

Soak your tapioca pearls with water before adding them to the supoesi.

Tapioca pearls  

  • Place 1 cup of small tapioca pearls into a bowl, pour water in it and let it soak before attempting to make supoesi with it. The tapioca pearls need to be softened before cooking. Otherwise, it takes longer to cook and the texture will be off. 

3. Heating the ingredients  

  • Put the pot filled with the mentioned ingredients on medium-high, heat and let it boil for about 10-15 minutes.  
  • Once the mixture has boiled, stir and check if the papayas break down into small pieces. If not, use a masher to mash any papayas clumps to ensure a smooth consistency.  
  • Reduce heat to medium, then put your tapioca pearls in. You will see that the mixture is getting thicker due to the tapioca pearls. Make sure that you continue to stir to avoid papayas and tapioca pearls sticking at the bottom. Let it cook for about 15 minutes.    


Always stir to ensure the papayas and tapioca pearls won’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

You will know that your tapioca pearls are cooked when the color turns translucent. 


A 1/2 cup of brown sugar is added to the supoesi

Remember to taste the mixture before adding sugar. In this case, sugar is added because the papayas were not sweet enough.


  • OPTIONAL: Add ½ cup of sugar and stir continuously until dissolved (approximately 1 minute).  

Tip: Taste your mixture first before you add sugar because some papayas are far sweeter than the others.  


Pour coconut milk into the supoesi to give that creamy coconut flavor.

Nothing beats the taste of coconut milk added to the supoesi. It brings that creamy coconut flavor!


  • Add 1 can of coconut milk and stir the mixture to let that coconut flavor in. Reduce heat and let boil (approximately 2 minutes).
  • After you stir, turn off the heat, move the pot off the burner, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.  


5 lemon leaves are added to the supoesi for 5 minutes and then removed all when the time is up

Use lemon leaves as a natural fragrance to add more flavors to the supoesi.


  • Add 4 lemon leaves to the supoesi to give a lemon accent flavor to the dish and stir slowly.  


Add lemon leaves to the pot once it has moved off the burner. Pull them out after 5 minutes, so that the lemon flavor won’t overpower the whole dish.

Leave out the lemon leaves if you don’t like the lemon flavor. 


4. Get ready to serve and eat your delicious supoesi. Yummy! 


Bio of Quinney Suaava, Blogger for the Polynesian Cultural Center

Quinney Suaava, blogger for the Polynesian Cultural Center

My family, culture, talent, and knowledge are the things I treasure the most. And the things I love to do are spending time with the people I love, traveling to different places, cooking Samoan food, singing and playing the ukelele, learning new things about life, and the list goes on! All of these contribute to my passion, experience and love for writing.