Sapasui or Samoan chop suey is dish I was reminded of recently when a friend of mine was telling me of her weeknight meal plans.
Her husband is apparently known for making an excellent sapasui which is a meat and noodle stir fry dish from Samoa.
My friend’s Samoan culture is heavily ingrained in her family’s lifestyle as well as in their kitchen.
Samoan cuisine is something I’ve come across quite often having come from New Zealand; the food, music and culture features prominently and I remember eating sapasui at a Pacific Island festival in Auckland many years ago.
Sapasui is called Samoan chop suey because it has its origins in Chinese culture which was brought over by Chinese labourers in the 1800s.*
From what I hear it has evolved into such a popular dish that it appears at almost every Samoan banquet table during celebrations of every kind.
Every family has their own version and therefore finding an accurate recipe was a huge challenge for me.
Even my dear friend couldn’t give me her husband’s exact measurements of ingredients.
Many of the cooks on YouTube who prepared instructional videos for sapasui judged the measurements of each ingredient by eye rather than by using instruments.
I quickly realised the potential to adapt the recipe according to one’s own tastes; therefore friends, I present to you my version of the Samoan Chop Suey.
My adaptation of this recipe deviates from the more “traditional” versions in two ways:
- I’ve used beef mince rather than chopped beef steak to make cooking quicker.
- I’ve incorporated more Asian ingredients to add more depth and impact to the flavours.
This is therefore not a “true” sapasui but rather more my own version which I will keep and use within my family.
Feel free to use, change and adapt this recipe to suit you and your family’s tastes.
* Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_in_Samoa