You’ll Never Get This at Denny’s

Friday 11 October

The ship was scheduled to leave Honiara at 6 pm yesterday and we finally got underway about 6:45. I would definitely rate this as one of the nicer trips I’ve had by ship. The sea stayed calm, with only some gentle swells. I managed to get a few hours sleep stretched out on the wooden bench. We stopped briefly at a couple of villages before dawn and then made a more lengthy stop at Kiu village. A small, protected harbour and coral sand beach made for a nice landing area. And the Phoenix sidled up to the beach and dropped the front ramp. Passengers and cargo streamed off, to be greeted by canoes waiting for cargo and a small open-air market waiting for the passengers.

Feeling a bit hungry, I bought a foot-long skewer of roasted molluscs (think clams). Munching on these, I headed back to the ship. As I was finishing off the last few, a passenger offered me some ‘pudding’. I gladly took a slice, asking what kind it was. “Kakake pudding” was the reply. Kakake is a type of edible swamp taro, commonly used for this dish, and a favorite. There are several ways to make pudding, but one common method is to peel and boil the taro, then grate it and mix it with coconut milk that has been boiled down to a thicker cream. The mixture is then wrapped in banana leaves and baked in a ground oven. The result is a heavy, starchy cake, infused with and covered by coconut cream. Very rich, but tasty too.

Shellfish and ‘pudding’ for breakfast – ah the islands life.


Try dribbling this!

One of Sarah’s favorite treats from the market is pomelo – a close relative of grapefruit. The other day I bought this one for her which you can see is nearly as big as a basketball!

Pomelos have very thick rinds – this one was about 2″ thick. Inside the fruit is yellow or pink and tastes similar to grapefruit, although often they are not as juicy or sweet.

This pomelo cost $10 Solomon dollars which is about $1.25 US. We have seen a big increase in prices at the market. Some produce has doubled in price over the past few months. This is partially due to a lot of rainfall which ruined some gardens and a big increase in the price of rice which is largely imported.


Yes, we have bananas!

As you might expect, we have a lot of bananas in the Solomon Islands. What you might find surprising is that there are many many varieties available. Some bananas have to be cooked, others can be eaten right off the hand and some can be either cooked or eaten fresh. Some bananas are tiny – 3-4″ long and others nearly a foot in length.

Yesterday as I walked through the market, I saw a type of banana I hadn’t seen before so I decided to try them. As you can see they are a bit red on the outside, but the flesh has a red tint as well. They are very tasty bananas.

When we are in the USA we don’t eat many bananas because they tend to be rather tasteless and disappointing to us. The variety of bananas sold in the USA were probably chosen because they ship well. Bananas here are tree ripened and we’d have to say they taste much better as a result!



Note: Sorry there haven’t been any new blogs for a few days. I was ready to write up my market trip Friday morning, but the power was out for a while. Then when I had power Friday night, there were technical glitches and the photos wouldn’t load. I hope you enjoy a trip to the market…

After I dropped the girls off at school, I headed to the market to stock up on fruits and veggies for the weekend. I came home with a loaded market basket and then some more. I thought you might enjoy seeing what I bought.

One woman had lots and lots of ‘bushlimes’ which are a small lemon/lime type fruit. Bushlime juice is very refreshing! I bought 80 bushlimes at a cost of $20 (less than $3.00 USD). When I got home I put them in a bowl and poured boiling water over them. This softens the skin and makes them easier to juice. Later I juiced them with the juicer attachment on my Kitchenaid Mixer. Then I poured the juice into ice cube trays to freeze. Later I put them in a plastic bag or container and keep the bushlime cubes in the freezer for making juice quickly and easily.

I bought a few small tomatoes. In the market, they are placed in little piles worth $1.00

($.20 USD).

This is a small pumpkin. It cost $10 ($1.40 USD). We enjoy baked pumpkin.

Emily requested some guavas. This is a pretty good sized one. I hope she likes them – I tend to buy them ripe and the girls like them a bit green.

This bundle of greens is called “Chinese broccoli” and it does taste a bit like broccoli. It takes 3 bundles to feed our family and each one cost $6 (almost $3.00 US). Usually we chop it up and cook it in a little water with chopped onion. Yum.

Sometimes we can find green beans, but more commonly we find these ‘long beans’ in the market. I don’t like them as well as regular green beans, but they are OK. You may notice that the bundles of vegetables are wrapped in a leaf to keep them together. What a great bio-degradable way to package!

This unusual looking vegetable is actually the flower of a type of grass! The outside of the rough husk is covered with tiny hairs that can stick in your skin. The part that you eat is the white flower inside the husk.

When it is steamed and served with a cheese sauce on it, it almost tastes like cauliflower. This bundle cost me $8 (a little over $1.00 US)

There were lots of pineapples in the market and the one I bought cost $12.00 ($1.70 US) and it is sure to taste much better than ones you can buy in a grocery store in the USA!

I bought this chicken from a woman I know who was selling chickens in the market. It weighs a little over 2 pounds and cost $50 ($7.15 USD). Chicken is expensive here because all of the feed is imported since there isn’t any grain grown in country to feed chickens.

My just for fun purchase was the flowers. Saturday is the best day for finding flowers at the market, but I lucked out with these two bundles (which included some orchids) for $10 each ($1.40 USD).

My last purchase was a watermelon. I’m terrible about picking out good ones, so I enlisted the help of some local women in the market to help me choose a nice one. It worked because it is a nice red color inside and tasty, too!