|The limu is kept fresh inside|
My coworker and I eagerly walked outside when we heard that there was limu for sale. There stood a large tub of bowling ball-sized green triangle packages, being watched over by a saleswoman and a small kid. To show us how fresh it was, she unwrapped one of the parcels to reveal a shining pile of little green clusters that looked like their rather uncreative English name: sea grapes.
|Inside the wrapped leaves|
In Tonga, like in Hawaii, the word for seaweed is limu, but unlike Hawaii, there's only one common type generally available. The first time we had it was at the huge annual church conference last year as we were sitting at a feast table sampling the various dishes. The little clusters were in coconut cream with corned beef, onions, and garlic, and it was a nice lighter contrast to the heavy roast pork and fried chicken.
|The little pods close up|
Its taste is unexpected, and the little crisp clusters pop as you chew them, surprisingly releasing a strong peppery salty oyster-ish flavour that perhaps is indeed a little like caviar. I took my bundle of limu home, balancing it on my handlebars and stopping for a can of coconut milk on the road: no time to grate and squeeze it fresh. I chopped up some fresh pork, dry fried it with garlic, onion, turmeric, and curry powder, and then dumped the pork in with some coconut cream and the washed limu. It was a bit of a cross between a curry and a salad, and tasted amazing for our dazzlingly hot noontime lunch break.
|Limu with curried pork served on vermicelli|
Although the curry addition may get quizzical looks from Tongan limu lovers, and the coconut milk might be too strange an accompaniment for a Japanese umi budo fanatic, it was a perfect lunch, the beauty of fusion cooking in Tonga. The beauty of sea grapes -- errhm Sea Caviar.