Cuisine of East Timor
The Cuisine of East Timor consists of regional popular foods such as pork, fish, basil, tamarind, legumes, corn, rice, root vegetables, and tropical fruit. East Timorese cuisine has influences from Southeast Asian foods and from Portuguese dishes from its colonisation by Portugal. Flavours and ingredients from other former Portuguese colonies can be found due to the presence of Portuguese soldiers from other colonies in East Timor.
East Timorese Dishes
The food in East Timor is divided into two categories vegetarian and non vegetarian. As agriculture is the main occupation in East Timor the primary food include of rice as it is cultivated hugely in this country. Apart from rice the other food items which is cultivated here in this country includes sweet potatoes, maize, cassava and taro. These are the basic food of East Timor, the vegetables that are grown here consists of beans, cabbage, spinach, onions and cowpeas.
The second category of food consists of poultry, pigs and goats. Almost every house in East Timor domesticates all the above food items for meat purpose. Fish is also another food in this country as fishing is also an occupation after agriculture. Com is small fishing village in East Timor. Fishing is the main occupation here in this village. Many tourists are also attracted to this village as it is a good place for fishing.
- Tapai- A fermented rice dish. It is sweet, sour, and slightly alcoholic.
- Feijoada – A common dish of former Portuguese colonies, it is made with pork, cannellini beans and chorizo.
East Timor's crops rely on the rains that come following the annual dry season. This leads to a period of poor food security coined the “Hungry Season” from November to February due to the unpredictable climate. Many households depend on their own production of food because of the erratic climate conditions, such as droughts Many families subsist on akar which is a widely available food source for the poor. It is dried palm tree bark, beaten into a powder, mixed with water to form a jelly and then cooked over fire. This leads to cases where nearly 58% of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition.
The coffee of East Timor is organic and a major cash crop for the island nation. Coffee accounts for 90 percent of the country’s non-oil exports, while 46 percent of East Timorese households rely solely on coffee for their income
The crop has grown in the country for centuries. It accounted for half of the country's trade when it was a Portuguese colony in the late 1800’s, but during 24 years of Indonesian occupation the bumper business was neglected when the military took over - prices fluctuated and many coffee plantations were battlefields so the quality of beans worsened.
By the war’s end, agricultural experts estimated two generation’s worth of farming knowledge was lost and some plantations were abandoned. But because the trees got little attention the pesticide and fertiliser-free groves are popular for organic coffee lovers. Today, the coffee is known as the golden prince of East Timor agriculture - worth $10 million a year, 46,000 coffee farms employ one-fifth of East Timor’s population but it is a major battle to encourage farmers to improve the quality of East Timor’s agriculture.
- "Food of East Timor". East Timor Press. Retrieved 2/27/14.
- "TIMOR-LESTE: Chronic malnutrition among world's highest". Irin News.
- 101East. "Where the wild coffee grows". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2/27/14.