If you’re someone who loves traditional Samoan drinks, try out this recipe for Samoan Vaifala (Pineapple Drink).


What is vaifala? 

Vaifala is a traditional Samoan drink loved by many locals and people from around the globe. To understand what vaifala means in the Samoan language, let’s break down the word: vai means water/drink and fala means pineapple. The word Vaifala literally translates to pineapple drink. 

You’ll find vaifala served on the islands during hot days or when families and friends visit from overseas. Kiss the heat goodbye with vaifala. It’s always refreshing when served fresh and cold.

Samoan vaifala is similar to Tongan mango otai and watermelon otai drinks. However, instead of using mango and watermelon, Samoans use pineapple. 

Vaifala is a fun combination of refreshing liquid and spoonable crushed fruit —wait til you try it. It’s a treat everytime you bite into the grated pineapple for a refreshing burst of juice in between sips!

 

What is vaifala made of? 

Vaifala is made using only four ingredients: pineapple, coconut cream, coconut juice or water, and sugar. It’s a traditional Samoan recipe that has been passed down for generations.

But we’ve seen some creative variations over the years! You can substitute coconut cream with condensed milk or whole milk, use canned pineapple instead of local ingredients and for an ever richer flavor, you can a few drops of vanilla—it’s still delicious!

Making vaifala doesn’t require much work or time, and the recipe is simple to follow. The best Samoan vaifala uses fresh ingredients and ensures the consistency of the mixture is not too thick or watery.

 

photo of ingredients to make vaifala Samoa. Ingredients include a 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 can of coconut cream, 1 whole pineapple and ice blocks.

Traditional Samoan vaifala requires 4 basic ingredients: pineapple, coconut cream, sugar and water, plus ice to keep it cold.

Traditional Vaifala Recipe

Ingredients (Note: This recipe is perfect for those who are allergic to dairy products.)

  • 1 very ripe whole pineapple (4 cups of grated pineapple) 
  • 1 can of coconut cream (if you cannot find coconut cream, substitue with coconut milk and do not add water)
  • ½ cup of water (or as needed for consistency)
  • ½ cup of brown sugar (according to taste) 
  • Ice

Prep Time: 10 minutes or less

Servings: 6 people 

 

How to make Vaifala (Samoan Pineapple Drink)

Directions

1. Prepare your pineapple in 3 simple steps

Photo of removing the flower from the whole pineapple. Get ready to prepare your vaifala (pineapple drink).

1. Twist and pull the pineapple stem off.

 

photo of cutting the pineapple skins

2. Remove the skin with a knife.

 

photo of pineapple in 4 halves with each stem on the right side.

3. Cut the pineapple in 4 halves. Remove the pineapple core, which makes the grating process easier. 

 

2. Grate the 4 halves of the pineapple

photo of grating the pineapple to make delicious vaifala.

The process of grating the pineapple.

Using a large plate, grate each half of the pineapple using a box grater. After grating, transfer to a large bowl and include all juice that has gathered. Stir and get ready to combine with the rest of the ingredients.

 

photo of coconut cream added to the grated pineapple.

Poour the coconut cream into the grated pineapple.

3. Pour 1 can of coconut cream and stir. You’ll see the mixture is thickening up.

  • Tip: Shake the can before use.

 

photo of a 1/2 cup of water added to the mixture. Halfway trhough to make vaifala.

Add approximately 1/2 cup of water into the mixture. All you want is enough to help it pour easily into your drinking glasses.

4. Add up to ½ cup of water and stir. The water reduces the thickness of the coconut cream and brings the mixture to balance.

  • Tip: You don’t want your vaifala to be too thick or watery. 

 

photo of a 1/2 cup of sugar added to the mixture. The vaifala is almost ready.

Add a 1/2 cup of sugar into the mixture.

5. Taste your mixture before you add sugar. If it’s not sweet enough then add the whole ½ cup of sugar and stir. 

 

photo of stirring the vaifala after adding sugar.

Stir the mixture well until sugar dissolves.

6. Refrigerate for approximately 1 hour to get that cold temperature, Or if you want to drink your vaifala immediately, add in some crushed or cubed ice. 

 

photo of vaifala pouring into a glass.

A traditional Samoan vaifala (pineapple drink) needs a spoon to get to every tasty bite!

7. Get ready to serve your delicious Samoan vaifala (pineapple drink).

 

Alternative Vaifala Recipe

Ingredients: (Note: This recipe is perfect for those who are not allergic to dairy products)

  • 1 can of pineapple (crushed)
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, or 1 ¼ cup of whole milk 
  • ½ cup of water (optional) 
  • ½ cup of brown sugar (according to taste) 
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract (flavor) 
  • approximately 1 cup of crushed ice or cubes 

 

Directions when using canned pineapple

Skip steps 1 and 2 when using a can of crushed pineapple. Repeat Steps 3, 4, 5 & 6 above.

 

What can go with vaifala?

Banana and pineapple is a classic combination. But you can definitely add your favorite fruits or toppings in your vaifala drink. 

Personally, I love to add coconut flakes or shredded and crushed unsalted peanuts in my vaifala drink! It’s that versatile.

 

How long does vaifala last? 

You can enjoy your vaifala drink for about 5 days as long as you store and refrigerate it properly (in a sealed jar is best) and pour the drink into a glass before enjoying. Drinking straight from the jar can spoil your vaifala drink.

 

photo of vaifala in a glass

Cheers to this delicious Samoan vaifala.

Are you ready to make some vaifala this summer? The recipe is so simple to make at home. Take a sip of Samoan vaifala, and your taste buds will thank you.


For some more tasty Samoan favorites, click on the links below:

https://www.polynesia.com/blog/supoesi-traditional-samoan-recipe

https://www.polynesia.com/blog/pani-popo-a-sticky-gooey-gotta-have-it-treat-from-samoa

https://www.polynesia.com/blog/koko-rice

https://www.polynesia.com/blog/easypalusami

https://www.polynesia.com/blog/pani-popo-a-sticky-gooey-gotta-have-it-treat-from-samoa

 


 

Bio of Quinney Sua’ava, Blog Coordinator at the Polynesian Cultural Center 

blogger Quinney Sua'avaMy family, culture, talent, and knowledge are the things I treasure the most. And the things I love to do are spending time with the people I love, traveling to different places, cooking Samoan food, singing and playing the ukelelelearning new things about life, and the list goes on! All of these contribute to my passion, experience and love for writing.

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