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Samoa tourism: Small nation, big story

In the 20th century, as tourism developed here, Samoa cautiously ambled from dreamy notion to actual destination. Sitting half way between San Francisco and Sydney, tropical jewels strewn in the big blue Pacific, Samoa is well known for its pristine beaches and gorgeous waters.But what about the food? Is there a cuisine in Samoa?The story of the food is the story of the people and is a direct reflection of its colonial, post colonial and pre-colonial history. Samoa is a small nation with a big story.Don't be fooled by the sleepy villages and relaxed lifestyle. Samoa is in the throes of a culinary, agricultural and nutritional revolution, with organics at the heart of it. With 35,000 hectares of organic land (over 10 percent of it's entire geography), Samoa is on the move.However it is fair to say that Samoan cuisine has not had a clear path. Its original food culture was straightforward but profound. Like many indigenous cuisines from all over the world, the diet was based on simple but nourishing preparations, here made largely with fish, root crops, tropical fruit, coconut and leafy greens, the best of the earth and ocean. By default organic, these basic dishes are what traditionally sustained Samoa.But then a food invasion began. First, cheap meat imports integrated into the traditional Samoan diet with shocking effect. Corned beef, lamb flaps, turkey tails, and chicken backs, all rejected as too fatty by consumers in their countries of origin, were offloaded here in what renowned Pacific writer Dr Cath Koa Dunsford brilliantly labels \ food colonialism\ and quickly created problems for Samoan health. The foods we eat as a child are our personal building blocks, often bound with nurturing emotion that defies nutritional logic and 'knowing better\