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Kiribati food is rich and varied with the cuisine being a part of this Pacific group of island’s culture. The Republic of Kiribati is populated by people who believe in consuming healthy and wholesome foods made with locally available fresh ingredients.

The entire cuisine of the atolls is based on five different tastes namely, sour, salty, sweet, astringent and bitter. Rice serves as the staple food of the region with an array of sea foods. Shrimps and shellfishes are usually marinated and served in banana leaf wrappers. Coconut is one of the prime products of the islands and is used extensively in the Kiribati cuisine as almost all vegetable and meat dishes are cooked with coconut milk. Macapuno and bibingka are usually eaten as desserts and contain coconut meat mixed with rice, eggs and sugar.

History of Kiribati Cuisine

Every Kiribati inhabitant believes in ‘te renga’ or an essence that is believed to have been eaten by their ancestors along with a special leaf obtained from a local tree. The ‘te renga’ was the main ingredient for driving away ghosts or evil spirits.

Age old traditions of the atolls have taught its residents to revere food as it is believed to be a blessing from God.

Popular Dishes from Kiribati Cuisine

  • Pandanus- Thinly sliced screwpines served with a topping of coconut cream.
  • Palu sami- A baked dish of coconut cream prepared with sliced onions and curry powder that is served wrapped in taro leaves after being cooked in an underground earthenware oven that is stuffed with seaweeds.

Places Famous for Kiribati Food

Airport Restaurant- Serves homemade stews and local seafood in a street vendor stall like setting.