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.
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.
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)
Prep Time: 10 minutes or less
Servings: 6 people
How to make Vaifala (Samoan Pineapple Drink)
1. Prepare your pineapple in 3 simple steps
2. Grate the 4 halves of 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.
3. Pour 1 can of coconut cream and stir. You’ll see the mixture is thickening up.
- Tip: Shake the can before use.
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.
5. Taste your mixture before you add sugar. If it’s not sweet enough then add the whole ½ cup of sugar and stir.
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.
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.
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:
Bio of Quinney Sua’ava, Blog Coordinator at the Polynesian Cultural Center
My 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 ukelele, learning new things about life, and the list goes on! All of these contribute to my passion, experience and love for writing.