From Port Moresby to Mount Hagen and beyond you will see what are called Kai Bar’s in Papua New Guinea, but what exactly is a Kai Bar, should you go there and what do they sell? The Street Food Guy has all the answers and more.
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What does Kai Bar mean?
In Tok Pisin the national language of Papua New Guinea, Kai means to eat, while kaikai is the verb. Bar doe snot have to mean drinks, but the more generic form of thee word, more like place.
Kai bar is therefore an eat place, although they do almost exclusively tend to follow the same food patterns and pretty much sell the same stuff, with some varieties.
What food is at a PNG Kai Bar?
These are basically the bastions of the PNG street food scene, and are almost like Papuan version of a fish and chip shop, although without fish (usually). These are kinks where chips are made well and fresh, with sides usually consisting of a PNG made saveloy, which are to die for.
Beef curries are often a part of things here, with other favorites being chicken to go with chicken and chips, as well as koukou, the local variant of the sweet potato. Another firm favorite is a beef stew.
Most rural people in PNG still largely exist on vegetables, so the Kai Bar is a good firm source of cheapish meat for average people, or a legitimate treat for those less well off.
And as for condiments? You will have to get by on salt, no vinegar, nor hot sauce, much like with most food from PNG.
Should you visit a Kai Bar?
I have feared at Kai Bar’s in Mount Hagen, Goroka and Lae and personally I love the places. They again remind me of a fish and chip vibe and for me they are an essential part of street food in Papua New Guinea, although there is definitely more to the scene too…..
If though you are a “gastronomical traveler”, a country counter, or someone with Champagne tastes and light ale budgets, you might not enjoy coming to a Kai Bar.
Drinks wise they have the whole Gold Spot thing going on, as well as Solo, other national drink of PNG, along with PaiaWara.