This was my 7th visit to Vanuatu and had never had the opportunity to eat simboro, so I was in the lookout for it. I had said to Johnas that I was hoping to have some, but never gave it another thought while staying in remote Namoru. surprise for me, on the morning I was to leave, Johnas’ mum called me into the kitchen house of her daughter Julie.
There waiting for me was the demonstration in patience and love. Food is love and Mum surely showed me plenty that morning, as she prepared for me my own simboro parcels.
“Mum” had got up early and collected all the components to make this delicacy for my breakfast. You could see that she was well practiced in the art of simboro making. No chance of her grating her skin or fingernails while grating the taro and banana. Her skill meant that she knew just the right amount of filling to place on the leaf before rolling it carefully to make the perfect simboro parcel. Ni Vanuatu are skilled with their careful and accurate use of the bush knife / machete. I was fascinated to watch the process.
the grating of the banana and the taro.
the Peeling of the Naviso – I was unsure what the naviso was, so of course, Mr Google told me – naviso is the sugar cane shoot. It peeled like a corn cob, so I guess that makes perfect sense.
the rapid wrapping of the ingredients into the leaves.
the cutting of the fresh bamboo to make it ready to stuff the simboro parcels into the hollow bamboo. .
…. then cooked over the smoky coconut husk fed fire, the wee parcels slide out easily from the bamboo cavity.
To see the whole process of the preparation and cooking of simboro by Johnas’s Mum, check out this video on You Tube
Robert Oliver in his television series “Real Pasifik” experimented with simboro on his visit to Namoru village in 2013.