Celebrating American Samoan Culture: Foods and Art to Try

The Samoan islands are where many American descendants can trace their heritage to, and celebrating the early American culture of Samoa is something that can open your eyes to the diversity that makes this country what it is today. Learn how you can celebrate the Samoan culture with food and art. This is a great way to teach your children about cultural diversity as well as different cuisines.

Art to try

Early American Samoans were largely into natural art, drawing fish and plant life with wet mulberry bark and even berries. You can emulate the simplistic style of art by using modern water paints to create swirls of beautiful flowers, skittering fish, and leafy plants. Consider painting paper place mats to bring your entire celebration to life in true Samoan style.

Popular fish

Since American Samoans are traced back to the Samoan islands, it's no wonder that fish and seafood are major components to their regular cuisine. Tuna is a large part of the Samoan culture, largely because the fish is available in abundance and is healthy and relatively inexpensive. You can cook tuna steaks with a rich lemon and honey glaze, adding a side of rich brown rice to level out the meal. This is a great introductory meal to celebrate Samoan culture in America because you are likely already familiar with tuna to some degree.

If you want to really try a Samoan favorite, think sushi in a whole new way. Samoan cuisine often consists of a variety of raw fish saturated in lemon juice, creamy coconut, salt, and onions.

Delicious sides

A fun side dish that is sure to take you straight to the islands are taro leaves with coconut cream and onions wrapped inside. This dish is cooked inside an umu, a traditional cooking fire that involves placing rocks on top of flames until embers are left. Food is cooked on the heated rocks.

Like Hawaiian culture, Samoans enjoy corned beef immensely. This side dish is often featured mixed with vegetables, fish, stirred into rice, or even sliced and placed in a sandwich. This dish is a blend of American and Samoan tastes and is a great addition to your dinner table.

Whether you want to familiarize yourself with Samoan culture for a project at school or you just have your own personal interest, you can find many delicious recipes that are not only totally different than what you are used to but absolutely decadent as well. For more information about the history of Samoa, check out books like Pictures of Change in Paradise.