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Tokelau Travel Guide

Coconut Tree

Unfortunately, kaleve is now banned on all three atolls, because it was used mostly to make alcohol, leading to drinking problems. Vaisalo is a tasty hot drink made from boiled coconut milk and meat with sago added for taste.

Food

There's only one cooperative store on each atoll, selling rice, flour, sugar, canned fish and meat, spaghetti, gasoline, etc.

Take as much food as you can—bags of taro, a sack of bananas, fruit such as pineapples and mangoes, garlic, instant coffee, and tea.

Ask at the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office about agricultural import restrictions. Camera film is not available.

All three co-ops sell imported liquor, although the supply is often exhausted soon after the ship has left.

Previously the locals made sour toddy, obtained by cutting the flower stem of a coconut tree and collecting the sap in a half-coconut container. The whitish fluid (kaleve) had many uses. It could be drunk fresh, or boiled and stored in a fridge.

  • If kept in a container at room temperature for two days, it ferments into sour toddy beer.
  • Boil fresh kaleve to a brown molasses for use in cooking or as a sauce.
  • A tablespoon of boiled kaleve in a cup of hot water makes an island tea.
  • You can even make bread out of it by adding saltwater, flour, and fat, as all Tokelauan women know.