Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Hafa Adai! Hafa Adai (pronounced half-a-day) is Chamorro for Hello. Chamorro is the languange, food and culture of the people of Guam. Guam is an Island 3 hours south of Japan by plane. It's also a US territory. Their currency is the US dollar and everyone also speaks English. A lot of people also still speak Chamorro and Japanese. Guam was occupied for 8 years during and after WWII by the Japanese and all childern in school were forced to learn and only speak Japanese during that time. Anywhere you go signs are in three languages: English, Korean and Japanese. This is because of all of the tourists that visit from Asia.
Guam is a beautiful island, the people were warm and inviting the the food was wonderful. The key to a successful party or "fiesta" in Guam is to have a ton of people show up and they happily welcome strangers. I was there for a parade and strangers offered me some of their BBQ...so good! There is a lot of soy sauce, lemon juice, scallions, hot red pepper (donne) and coconut milk traditionally used in Chamorro cooking. The food is delicious and usually served at BBQ's and fiestas. The food unfortunately is not that healthy so I wouldn't recommend eating it on a regular basis. Actually a lot of native chamorros get diabetes because of their diet. There are not a lot of fruit or vegetables consumed in the Chamorro diet. When they are consumed they are soaked in salt and soy sauce or coconut milk!
When I visited I was lucky enough to stay with a family there. The husband was an ex marine from Kentucky that had been stationed there and met his wife, a native Chamorro woman there.
They cooked native dishes for me every day and they were more than happy to let me in the kitchen to watch how they prepared the food and to give me recipes.