Select one of the keywords
Sam Choy's Polynesian Kitchen    by Sam Choy order for
Sam Choy's Polynesian Kitchen
by Sam Choy
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2002 (2002)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

This cookbook abounds with a mouthwatering selection of recipes from Polynesia. I not only got a glimpse of some very good food, but learned that the islands of Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, New Zealand, the Marquesas and Hawai'i form Polynesia. Sam Choy has taken the fresh and exotic foods of these islands and, in many cases, given them his own spin. He also left some recipes as he discovered them, feeling they could not be improved upon.

The exotic foods - such as banana leaves, breadfruit, coconut crab, coconut milk, daikon, green papaya, passion fruit, taro leaves, roti and Samoan crab, to list a few - may be hard to find in North America and Europe, but Choy suggests suitable substitutions. Not only does he preface each recipe with tips and hints and background, he also tells tales of the islands he visits. He attends a baby lu'au in Hawai'i, the place of his birth, and his description of a Samoan wedding is absolutely charming.

The coconut crab can climb coconut trees and (a fact I find almost unbelievable) use its pincers to open a coconut! In New Zealand, the author is welcomed with a traditional show of force by a warrior with his tongue extended, which is intended to strike fear in the heart of the beholder. I was fascinated to learn that the citric acid in lime juice or lemon juice can be used to cook raw meat or fish.

Sam Choy's enthusiasm for food and the lovely, fresh, exotic ingredients made me want to book a trip on the cruise line he uses, with my own knife, fork, spoon and bare fingers to carry me through each and every country he visits in this book. The recipes are so varied and so different from what we are used to that I would like to try them all. I love to try new dishes and when away from home, always look for local foods. Sam Choy's Polynesian Kitchen brings those faraway local foods into our homes and I for one thank him for it.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews