Bougainville Cultural Tourism News : Central Bougainville Tourism Association (CBTA) will celebrate the Tamatama Festival 10th August 2022 in ARAWA Central Bougainville

” The tamatama has its own ancient folklore. In recent times it has earned its place amongst the traditional cuisine served both as entree’ and also thrown into the smorgasbord mix and fray of local and modern delicious dishes.

It owes its popularity to the delicate and caring hands of women in the close-knit village family households.”

Words and images below Simon Pentanu 

Tamatama is a local rich vegetarian dish slowly prepared by stirring fresh coconut oil over hardwood fire stoked under undamaged selected banana leaves or in tradition claypot  (kakasi’). It is entree’ on its own but has gradually found its way for pickings as part of many smorgasbords  amongst other garden food and seafood.

Best eaten hot to warm for a unique taste that caresses the pellet when eaten on its  own. Comes in straight up and down longish shapes, meatball sizes and, occasionally, in flat and roundish scone shaped finishes.

Varities come in banana, taro and cassava prepared on their own or mixed in a single dish finish.

Rarely spared to last overnight as it slowly loses its freshness and taste. However, leftovers can be heated to get a roasted banana, taro or cassava taste but at this stage it is usually eaten for the feel of the remaining rich coconut oil and cream which still holds its taste at any temperaure.

In most cases it is prepared as an entree’ or to adorn other main local dishes as part of a group meal, usually provided on order or request.

The local Nasioi name is tama’ but has christened itself into a bit of a double whammy and moutful to be known these days more popularly as tamatama. In Torau where they differ slightly in both shapes and sizes but holding its own in taste it is known as pisu.

Toronisi refers to how the tama has been rolled and prepared ready to eat into this shape.

A local delicacy, tama(tama), an alluring banana pudding cooked in pure coconut cream presented on oiled cavendish banana leaves. This preparation is called Toronisi.

The kakasi’ (the dumpling version of tamatama) is the ultimate ambrosial Nasioi delicacy. It is organic, herbal, unadulterated and without foreign ingredients or condiments.
The coconut oil is from trees with the richest oily nuts collected by women. The oil is cooked and simmered down in earthen clay pot until it is matured, using select young leaves or fronds that also give a natural fragrance.
Kakasi’ is cooked and served out of traditional claypots.  It is one of traditional dishes, served at welcomes, reconciliations, feasts, anointing ceremonies, traditional weddings, and other special occasions.
The tamatama traditionally only comes in a variety of cooking bananas, taro and tapioca or cassava.
A tasty taro tama pudding pack Panguna style for a visiting group lunch at the old mine site.
Occasionally it is also done in sago in coconut cream stirred to ‘maturity’ (well cooked) as sago pudding
A birthday cake-like version quickly prepared for a birthday spread with, in addition to, or instead of, a birthday cake only in a family.
Finished in a scone shape this version is called ‘banang’, it literally means sitting. Mostly done to adorn village weddings, initiation ceremonies and served at visiting dignitaries events. This a photo from a visit by a diplomat to a village to deliver a community project.