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By Jester Nena

KOSRAE, Federated States of Micronesia (January 10-23, 2002 – The Kaselehlie Press)---Kosrae is located in the western part of the Pacific Ocean and it is where the people prepare fwafwa.

Fwafwa is a very popular food in Kosrae and it is eaten only on special occasions such as parties, feasts, funerals, etc. In the past this food was only prepared for the kings. It is very delicious and sticky like a pizza. This food is made of soft taro, ripe banana, and coconut milk.

According to the traditional ways, only males can make fwafwa. Not everybody can produce this food -- only healthy, clean, and active persons -- because they use their bare hands to process it, and it involves hard work such as pounding all the ingredients to stick together. People who prepare fwafwa are very muscular.

Making a Kosraean fwafwa is easy if you follow these steps.

The first step is to gather all the ingredients and equipment needed. The ingredients are bananas, soft taro, and coconuts. You also need a traditional stone used for pounding with something that you can pound on, and a grinder for grinding the coconut.

On my island every fwafwa pounder must have a carved and decorated piece of wood to pound on.

After you collect all the requirements for preparing the fwafwa then you must clean them.

Second, you cook the bananas and the soft taro, and then remove the parts that need to be removed, like the husk of the coconut and the peep of the soft taro and the banana. After you husk the coconut you grind the meat off the shell, and squeeze the milk.

Next, you can start your work of pounding. The first step you do when you start pounding is to put some water all over the place you will pound on to stop it from becoming sticky. Then start pounding the soft taro first. You must pound it until it is soft and flat. Then you can put some banana that you cooked into it and pound it all over until it sticks to the soft taro. You have to flip it over every time you see that the banana is coming out on the top. After you finish pounding, you put your fwafwa on the plates and other trays and flatten it. There is a traditional tray Kosraean people use to contain their fwafwa.

After you transfer it to the plates, you have to decorate it. There are lots of different decorations that we use for decorating fwafwa. Some people make local syrup from the sugar cane. Most of the fwafwa producers use coconut milk to decorate their fwafwa. Some fwafwa doesn’t need any decoration, like those that are made from breadfruits.

Making fwafwa is a very important thing and those who can make fwafwa are very respected. They must not touch any dirty things, like working in fields, or dirty stuff.

Making fwafwa is easy if you follow these steps and if you make one you will, of course, be respected in our island.

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