Sunday, January 26, 2014

King Koko Samoa

If you've ever emailed me or commented asking "Where can I buy koko Samoa?", well today, dear readers, I have the answer - King Koko Samoa!

Copyright: King Koko Samoa

Now doesn't that name bring to mind a good, strong drink?

I'm so happy to welcome to the blog Michael King who is the production specialist at King Koko Samoa. He'll share with us the story of his long association with Samoa's beloved drink, the secret to making quality koko and a promotion that could see you win 10 blocks of King Koko Samoa.

1. Please give us a brief background to your company. 
We established King Koko Company in January 2014 after several months of 
production and development. We made high quality Koko right off the bat, but we 
needed the supplies and facility to make Koko blocks in greater quantities. We’re 
now established in Utah County and selling our Koko online and in smaller local 
stores. We plan to branch out to stores in cities such as Tacoma, Sacramento, Los 
Angeles, Kansas City, and New York City. We want to make our Koko available to 
Samoan communities everywhere. 

2. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into the koko Samoa 
Growing up in American Samoa I loved the Koko. When my wife and I were 
newlyweds in Hawaii we couldn’t find quality Koko Samoa, so I started flying to 
Apia to buy all the Koko I could find. My father owned part of the airline, so I could 
fly free. He had married a Samoan woman who had family ties to large cocoa 
plantations. When she found out that I was traveling so much to buy Koko, she 
suggested that I purchase Samoan beans and make the Koko in Hawaii. She taught 
me the right way to make perfect Koko Samoa, and I carried the recipe back to 
Hawaii with a desire to bring the Koko to the Samoan community living there. 

I started importing beans from Samoa and my wife and I would roast and process the 
Koko – selling it to about 17 stores on Oahu. Every Saturday I would leave Laie at 
7AM and deliver the Koko to my stores. By the time I got back home around Noon, 
the stores would be calling for more Koko. But I could never produce enough. Local 
Samoans loved our Koko. It has been 30 years since I did that. 

Several months ago my son asked me if I still remembered how to make the Koko. I 
found that I still remembered some of the secrets that my Samoan mother taught me. 
So I knew I still had it in me to produce high quality Koko Samoa. Last fall we 
started making Koko again and things have progressed pretty quickly. 

Copyright: King Koko Samoa

3. What makes your koko stand out from the rest? 
We start with the most important ingredient: the cocoa bean. We select only the 
finest bean that has undergone the proper fermentation process. The next step is the 
roast, and timing is key. After cooling and winnowing, our nibs are 100% pure cocoa 
– no shells or fillers. We then shape our Koko into 8 ounce blocks. Our Koko is 
always fresh, and the feedback has been extremely positive. People love our Koko 
and keep coming back to the stores for more. 

Yes, I remember ordering some koko straight from Samoa once and there were burnt nibs in my drink, which annoyed the heck out of me. Glad that your company thinks quality control is important. 
4. In your opinion, what's the ideal food to serve with koko? 
Koko Samoa goes very well with any desert or homemade bread or rolls (like 

5. Is there anything else you'd like to share with my readers? 
Anyone can purchase blocks of King Koko Samoa on our website:
The website also lists local stores that carry our Koko. Our Facebook page is our best 
resource for product information, recipes, and special promotions. For example, 
when we reach 500 likes on our Facebook page, we will be having a giveaway. The 
first two people to comment on the Samoan flag picture we post will win 10 free 
blocks of King Koko. We’re inviting all our Facebook friends to invite their friends 
to like our page. 

King Koko Samoa is on Facebook so head over there and like their page so the promotion can get underway. They also have their own dedicated website where you can order online.

Also, if I were in the United States, and I lived in a community where more people were looking for koko, I would be heading to the nearest Asian or Polynesian market and asking them to stock this. Hopefully in the near future, we'll see King Koko Samoa at food festivals, farmer's markets and, dare I say it, supermarkets. 

Many thanks to Michael for visiting us. His company is taking us one step closer to having this wonderfully unique Samoan product available to the masses

You see, I believe that Koko Samoa deserves a higher profile in the cooking world - it needs recognition not just as a drink, but as an ingredient. So, *stepping down from my soapbox*, with my fingers crossed (toes and eyes as well), I hope King Koko Samoa is the company that can do this.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Chinese-style fish

I make this a couple of times a month because it's quick, easy and tasty. Excellent served over white rice.

700g (about 1.5 lb) white fish fillets
3 spring onions
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons (30 ml) sesame seed oil
1/4 (60 ml) cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 -1/2 cup (60-120 ml) water

Place the fish in a frypan in one layer.

Slice the spring onions.

Mix the rest of the ingredients.
Add as much water as needed for desired saltiness.

Pour over the fish.

Sprinkle with sliced spring onions.
Bring to simmer then cook for 5-7 minutes until fish is ...



and delicious.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Tausala Kitchen

Happy New Year to you all!

Just before Christmas a new Samoan takeaway called Tausala Kitchen opened in Brisbane, Queensland. They sell the most delicious food and all of it freshly made on the day it's sold - no masi samoa or paifala sitting around for who-knows-how-long. The cooks wake up at 4:00 AM every morning to churn out the fresh, flavorful and authentic Samoan food.

I ordered a mixed plate of food, some German Buns, and some oka, and every dish exceeded my expectations. The mixed plate was a classic combination of curry, chop suey, taro, chicken and lamb. I was especially blown away by the chop suey, because the vermicelli was perfectly cooked (I am notorious for overcooking this). The lamb cuts were cooked to perfection and I couldn't complain about the portion size of the meal. In fact, the portion was so generous that I couldn't even finish it. It's enough to feed two (or me two times...hehe).

There are some people that believe that lemon and lime have no place in oka and Tausala Kitchen proves why. They use the freshest fish and a tantalizing selection of crisp, firm vegetables and the result is a pure white salad where the fish is the star. Mmm, so good.

Now, I don't claim to be a German bun expert, but I have eaten my fair share and I have an opinion on the thing. A particular shop which has built its reputation on its mother shop in Samoa is widely known for this product. However, I think that Tausala's Kitchen does it better. Their German bun is admittedly smaller than most, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor. The doughnut pastry is soft and fluffy and fried to perfection. The filling is made from freshly grated coconut and just enough coconut caramel to bind it together. I probably ate five of these in one sitting, they were so irresistible.

If you live in Queensland, I think it is worth making the trip to check out this newest addition to the Samoan cooking scene. The cooks and serving staff are friendly and welcoming, and the shop is clean and inviting. Just so you know, I am in no way affiliated with this shop. I'm just a lover of good Samoan food and this shop ticks all the boxes. Check it out!

Tausala Kitchen, Keidges Road, Bellbird Park, Queensland, Australia.