Food Items


Mumu Tapiok Na Minmin is a food made from tapiok (the Pidgin name for cassava roots), minmin (the Tolai name for ripe, sweet eating bananas), coconut, and salt. The cooking process can take up to eight hours so it is common for many people to prepare it before going to sleep so that it can cook overnight and be ready to be taken to school or work the next morning. Once cooked, the Mumu Tapiok has a consistency similar to a very dense cake. While it is still hot it can be quite sticky. The color of the mumued tapiok varies depending on the type of banana used.


Ku is a common food product found in Tolai communities of East New Britain. It is made using pure coconut milk that is steamed until all the water has evaporated and the coconut cream remains. The final product has the consistency and appearance of oatmeal and is often used as a sauce or consumed by dipping food in it. In Tavuiliu, ku is often cooked using cooking stones. It produces an oil by-product that is used for body wash and cooking, most often in frying.


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Ku is a common food product found in Tolai communities of East New Britain. It is made using pure coconut milk that is steamed until all the water has evaporated and the coconut cream remains. The final product has the consistency and appearance of oatmeal and is often used as a sauce or consumed by dipping food in it. In Tavuiliu, ku is often cooked using cooking stones. It produces an oil by-product that is used for body wash and cooking, most often in frying.


Khailmag is a food item made with yak milk, flour, and sugar. While the khailmag cooks on the stove, it produces shar tos which is often used in cooking or is added to yak milk vodka. (see Figure 1)


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Saksak, the staple food of Ngavalus, is a fine powder that is extracted from the sago tree. There is a great deal of work that goes into the processing of saksak because an entire sago tree must be processed at one time. When saksak processing occurs, the whole community comes together to get all the work done.


Yak milk is in abundant supply for the herding communities of Central and Western Mongolia. While there is limited caloric diversity in many communities, multiple products are derived from milk for their flavor, texture and digestive properties. A common delicacy is the clarified fat separated from milk. This process (which is associated with the production of a flour based roux) is used for consumption of milk fat at mealtime and was not observed to be used for food storage.


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One of the many products made with milk is tarak, a mixture of milk and sugar. When tarak is mixed with water, it is thinned into a drink known as a tseedum (see Figure 1). Tseedum is consumed much like sports drinks are consumed in the United States. It is a common beverage used to both refresh and replenish nutrients in people when traveling long distances or when they have spent a great deal of time in the sun. In the past this drink has been preserved in a thermos made of leather (tashmug) that keeps the drink cool.


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Similar to goat and cow milk, horse milk is used to make several dairy products such as cheeses, yogurt, butter, and arak. Arak is fermented milk that becomes alcoholic when exposed to sunlight over a period of time. Adding sugar and shaking speed up the fermentation process.


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The remaining dairy product from the alcohol distillation process is called “boz”. This is poured into a cheesecloth bag to allow the water or shar to drain from the mixture, which can then be dried to make various kinds of cheese. It generally takes 2-3 days for all of the shar to drain from the boz. The remaining solid in the bag is a cheese with a similar consistency and taste to feta cheese. This product is called aartes (see Figure 1).