Tuesday, September 17, 2013


In Saipan and Guam, we basically eat the same food and call them the same names, but sometimes the names are totally different.  If you ask for that food in Saipan using the Guam name, they may not know what you are talking about, and the same holds true for Guam if you use the Saipan name.

In both islands, we all eat bananas, breadfruit, taro and other starches cooked in coconut milk.  But on Guam we call it gollai åppan.  In Saipan, it is called saibok.

Gollai means "vegetable," related to the Tagalog word gulay

Åppan means "to evaporate, extract liquid, dry."

Saibok means "to cook in coconut milk."

It's interesting that almost all the Chamorro families in Saipan come from Guam families that moved up there between 100 and 150 years ago.  That's not a long time span, and there's only 120 miles that separate us, but little differences in language have evolved nonetheless.

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