Street food Bougainville

Street food Bougainville

My new favorite place, well at least one of them anyway, but also now my first actual Street Food post for the new Street Food Guy, so what is the street food Bougainville scene, and the cuisine of Bougainville in general? Well lets just say its not exactly the string point of the nascent country….

What the Bougainville?

An autonomous province of Papua New Guinea it is set to become the worlds newest country between 2025 and 2027, sadly whether this comes to pass is yet to be seen and worthy of its own article.

It is though very much its own place, and in some respects has much more in common with the Solomon Islands, a place that has epic street food. In 1975 they even declared independence as the Republic of North Solomons.

It was though not to be, so now when we talk about street food, Bougainville street food is very much different to street food in Papua New Guinea.

What is Bougainville cuisine?

Food in Bougainville is based around what is grown on the islands, this is for both practical reasons, as well as the fact that they had too live through a vicious and unwarranted blockade by Papua New Guinea.

Staples include kaukau, the local variant of sweet potato, savory bananas, which are unique from plantain, as well as a number of other vegetables. Fruits are also a big deal here, as are nuts, with few days going past without eating them.

And being islands there is of course fish, which includes a lot of squid, tuna and indeed some of the best and cheapest lobster that I have ever had.

Restaurant wise there are western restaurants and some kinda local ones, with the western restaurants serving up mostly Australian fare, whilst homesteads will give you local style food, with meat (chicken), as well as the aforementioned stuff.

Mt top restaurant was Reasons Cafe in Buka, but there were also other fine ones. Overall the food in Bougainville is not only good, but can only get better as the food situation improves.

Street Food Bougainville

Street food in Bougainville is scarce and spartan to say the least, when we drove the breadth of the country the stalls that were available usually did not serve anything like street food. The exception was one place that had fried fish, but mothy people do bettle nut, which ironically does stop hunger…

We did though see markets on the side of the road that sold stuff like fruit and nuts that act as the de-facto Bougainville street food and at least did something for hunger. Other than that there are shops selling beer, and snacks such as chips. The reality though is that street food Bougainville is just not a thing yet.

Are there Kai Bars in Bougainville? Sadly there is not and this is very much a PNG thing, so do not rely on having saveloy and chips as a food option when you are traveling in Bougainville.

Five Must try street food in Bougainville

OK, so this is a mixture of must try food and must try street food in Bougainville, with the line being very thin.

Restaurants tend to serve a lot of squid, with the weapon of choice being salt and pepper squid, this is cheap and good and is a must.

When you do island hopping in Bougainville then there are island getaways that serve some of the aforementioned best lobster I have ever had.

And next on the list? A bit of flying fox, or rather as it really is, a bat? We literally bought one from a kid on the road who was had just caught it live. Was it good? Hard to say, but it did resemble duck somewhat.

You can check out our video here.

And there’s the fruit and nits of the country, which again can be purchased via market when you are driving around the country, or whilst in the cities of Buka and Arawa.

Battered fish in Bougainville – An actual Bougainville street food one that we found at a stall. Less batter and more deep fried, it tasted good, although no one could tell me what the fish was.

Bonus round – Beetle nut of course, although it is important to spit rather than swallow…

Best drinks in Bougainville

There are western style bars in places like Arawa and Buka, but not really in the boonies. These are filled with Aussie busy body NGO types, with the weapon of choice being SP Beer, which I shall certainly wrote about one day….

In the sticks they will offer you firewater, which they sometimes call  “local beer”. This is not beer, this is pure unadulterated hooch and without doubt the vest and strongest you find in the country. And you can trust me after all I am the Paiawara Man.

And that is the Bougainvile cuisine, drinks and overall guide to street food Bougainvile, from the man who knows – The Street Food Guy!