From root crop to delicacy

With display stalls in the grocery stores and shops bursting with imported food items, developing the island’s natural resources is quite a feat, but it is doable and it pays.

Let’s focus on Palau’s main root crop, the taro, whether the gathering is a birthday party, first bath ceremony, house party, funeral, simple gathering or any other events. Taro is also present in bento or lunchboxes. Although a higher percentage of the younger generation show a preference to eat rice during mealtimes, a majority of the Palauans still opt to eat taro.

With taro cultivation as one of many traditions that remain strong in Palau today, the supply is abundant. It takes only a creative and enterprising talent to come up with ways to add to its appeal.
From serving the simply-cooked, ready to eat taro, enterprising individuals came up with a hundred and one temptingly-delicious ways to serve taro.
Events held in the island also showcase taro and the other root crops, and these products are slowly claiming their place in the markets and gaining regular clientele not only among the locals but the foreigners, too.
Food research technologist Dr. Lydia Marero of the Palau Community College- Cooperative Research Extension (PCC-CRE) focused in developing local food products from Palau’s root crops and other products, including the taro.
In an earlier interview, Marero said that Palau has about 70 varieties of taro. She and her department came up with various ways to serve taro recipes like steamed cake mix, taro rice, taro delicacy, hash browns, fries, grated taro, muffins, brownies, hotcakes, tama, pie, tama mix, taro grits, flour, noodles, cubes, ochab, bread, salad, cookies, chowder, patties and a lot of variations.

Marero is holding seminars and trainings on the processing of these products to the women from different States. For more information about these programs, you may contact the PCC-CRE office at 488-2746/4983.

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