HOME Café’s Koko Samoa Pork Chops
With chef Robert Oliver
On the Cross Island Road on the way out of Apia, just past Joe Lam’s Scalini’s and opposite A Touch of Samoa, you’ll see a large red house on the right. Stop! Turn in!
This is HOME, the most eclectic café Samoa has ever seen. Horace Evans, an Apia boy and former Aggie Grey’s chef, wanted to bring to Samoa some of the brilliant café culture that he loved during his years in Sydney. There is a menu, but if you don’t see what you want, don’t worry! Just let Horace know, and if he can make it, he will.
HOME is a reflection of Horace’s effervescent personality, with old movie posters, a pumpkin with a pointless spigot, and a wonderful long table made from the wreckage of his father’s bedroom after Cyclone Evan. The café area opens into Nina’s Gym, so you can watch people working out, or even better, salsa dancing! This is the kind of joint you’d expect in a big city. I found myself returning here again and again, making new friends as well as seeing almost all of Apia here at various times! Thanks Horace for letting me make your HOME my home.
Horace made us these terrific pork chops with a koko Samoa and rainforest honey glaze. Samoan pigs are fed on coconut chaff, so are quite fatty — in other words, they’re very good! There isn’t really a substitute for koko Samoa; however it is becoming more readily available outside the islands, so keep an eye out for it and grab some when you can.
½ cup Samoan honey (or any dark liquid honey)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
½ cup grated koko Samoa
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 star anise
4 medium-sized pork chops, about 2 cm thick
In a small pot, melt the honey with the vinegar, koko Samoa, ginger and star anise. Simmer for 4 minutes then remove from heat and allow to sit while you prepare the pork, allowing the flavours to develop. Strain and keep warm.
Heat a pan or grill and cook the pork chops, 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked.
If grilling, brush with the koko Samoa glaze on both sides while the pork is cooking, plate and then brush one more time with the glaze.
If pan cooking, cook 4 minutes each side, and for the last few minutes, add some glaze to the pan, turning the pork chops to coat well.
Horace serves them with grilled vegetables, but they’re also great with mashed breadfruit.