On the many shelves of Carson’s tiny Poasa Imports, the theme, as it is on an island that must import much of its food, is canned goods. Selections of mackerel in tomato sauce, Thai coconut milk, and corned beef all ready to go. But let your nose take you to the back of the shop for the foods prepared fresh here.
At the steam table on any given day you will see some rotating items but always the favorite Samoan combination of corned beef and coconut taro, both of which are expertly made in the kitchen. If you have questions or want to ask about any of the items, hospitality is very sweet and unhurried and they will make sure you get just the right amount (and probably more).
Do not wait too long after noon to go because some of the prepared foods will run out during the lunch rush. At 13:00 on the latest visit, the lady behind the counter was sad it was not 30 minutes earlier because she had just run out of a few things. Regardless of what you end up with, it is all sold by weight at $6.99/lb.
Quite a few Pacific Islanders have made their way to this general latitude of Los Angeles County, from here in Carson towards the east through North Long Beach and even into Southwest Anaheim. For this reason you can always expect the few small grocery stores and steam tables offering the foods to be full of folks all week long.
The plate above was a combination of some common items you will often find, in addition to the hunks of corned beef and coconut taro. One link of pork sausage (sosisi pua’a), a couple lamb ribs and some lamb stir fry with bok choy (mamoe kapisi). There is often banana with coconut milk, turkey tail, and chop suey available to round out your low fat meal.
As you bring your prize over to the register to pay, there are hats behind from Samoa, American Samoa, Manu’a, Tongo, and other islands to purchase, as well as many other gifts from back home. The lady who helped us gave us the palusami dessert (above, top left) for free. These can be spotted in the hot container looking like a baseball-sized round foil ball, but open it at home to find steamed taro leaves wrapped around coconut cream. Smooth and delicious!
Sometimes you may also find the homemade treats brought in by various vendors like Kuki Samoa by Sifua, but make sure to learn those schedules for the best shot at scoring her cookies.
Poasa Imports, 23744 S. Main Street, Carson.