Having a fair few followers from the Bougainville and Solomon Islands area I was interested to see what the firewater scene there was. Well it turns out they have their very own jam with this called kwaso, or as I was wrongly pronouncing it croissant.
Alas on this visit I was only to get one night in Honiara, but I sure did make the most of it, as well as the Honiara Hotel.
Getting to the Solomon Islands
I will write more about getting pneumonia later, but it was not fun to say the least.
Again this also led me to delay buy flight 2 days and arrive at the Honiara Hotel – one of the best in the world for just one night.
The Honiara Hotel and Kwaso
As stated the Honiara Hotel is one of my favorite places on the planet, but the reasons we shall save for another day. The staff though here are excellent, so when I asked about fire water we went down a rabbit hole that ended up with me introduced to kwaso aka Solomon fire water/paiawara.
So, apparently it is illegal, which means I got it myself for 10 SID$, with no help from anyone at all.
What the Kwaso?
Thus we headed for dinner, kwaso in hand and ready to eat and drink. I went for the raw tuna, which provided to be mightily spicy, or at least too much for my current palate, perhaps influenced by my smokeless pneumonia laden body.
The kwaso came as expected, in a water bottle, from where I was to simply neck it – PNG style.
Kwaso vs Paiawara
OK, so everyone is asking, so I gotta reply to this one. Firstly I will say that since I stopped smoking my taste buds have gone all crazy, so I am a bit off right now, but I can offer the following morsels.
Firstly as I was sick I only had one swig and I have to say it was nowhere near as string as Bougainville paiawara, or POM’s SB, the two benchmarks in my mind.
Secondly it had a weird aftertaste. I gave the rest of the bottle to my crew who seemed to enjoy it, but none of my Solomon Islands friends wanted to try, apparently kwaso has quite the reputation in the Solomon Islands, which by having me drink it apparently gave me super local kudos.
And why is it called kwaso? I have had two explanations, one being that it means “home-brew”, the other that it is named after the inventor. I don’t know, nor really care that much….
Overall though glad to say I ticked it off and I shall be bang on up for getting back on it when I next return to the Solomon Islands……..
You can check out our Leat Visited Countries Tour here.