This article was originally published in the Vanuatu Daily Post’s Life and Style magazine.

step one bunya

Bunya is a traditional Ni-Vanuatu dish that is made using root vegetables, meat and coconut milk. It is wrapped in banana leaves and then cooked in an underground oven with hot stones.

As well as the core ingredients, you can also add seasonal vegetables to suit your taste. This particular Bunya recipe uses two types of meat, octopus and chicken, and is flavored with a bit of curry. However it is completely up to you to choose what meat, vegetables and seasoning you prefer.

Bunya is ideal for special occasions as it can feed plenty of people. If Independence or any other celebrations are at your house this year, what better way to celebrate than with a healthy traditional dish with your loved ones? This recipe cost less than 3000vt to make and is able to feed up to 12 people.


  • 2kg chicken wings
  • 1 whole octopus
  • 1 basket kumala (sweet potato)
  • 1 basket taro
  • 1 bag tomatoes
  • Bunch of spring onion
  • Bundle of boy choy (or any leafy vegtable)
  • 5 soot soot
  • 5 coconuts (milked)


  1. Skin all the root vegetables and cut into generous sized pieces
  2. Lay out banana leavesstep two bunya
  3. Place leafy vegetables on top of banana leaves, then layer with root vegetables and meat
  4. Pour coconut milkstep three bunya
  5. Add curry powder, soy sauce and salt to taste
  6. Fold bananas leaves into a parcelstep four bunya
  7. Put wrapped banana leaf parcel into underground oven
  8. Place hot stones on top
    step five bunya
  9. Cover with more banana leaves and pawpaw leaves to keep smoke in. If necessary, layer with dirt and stones to prevent heat from escaping
  10. Leave to cook for 1 – 2 hoursstep six bunya