How Pariva inspired PNG’s newest fast food restaurant

Locals from the southern region, particularly Central Province would know what Pariva is.

For those who don’t, it’s the local dish made from three ingredients – sago, ripe banana and coconut cream.

Food plays a big part in the life of a chef, so for Chef Louis Efi, it was this very simple dish.

Firstly, Pariva landed him his dream job – to be a private chef, which he was, for at least four years with the American Embassy.

He was competing in a cook-off with six other local experienced head chefs for the position.

“While everyone were doing international cuisine, I thought, I’ll try something simple but new to them and Pariva was the first thing to come to mind. It’s straightforward, nutritious, no additives and people like to eat healthy.

“I sent it out, all the plates came back empty and they wanted to know more about the dish. That’s where I got the idea to start a restaurant to specialise in PNG food,” he said.

Efi and wife Mary now manage and will soon own the newest fast food restaurant in Downtown Port Moresby; ‘Grab n Go’.

Taking a different approach to usual fast foods, ‘Grab n Go’ offers Papua New Guinea featured cuisines for people on the go.

“We’re trying to sell it in a more hygienic, more professional way.  Plus, I want to encourage local people buying local food and trying to come up with new, creative ideas - that’s the way I want it to be.

“We sell local food like pumpkin tips, aibika, kaukau, banana, fresh fruit; quite basic stuff but, they’re really a healthier option. It’s the PNG way,” he said.

Gloria Bauai