Apia -- After you've sampled the places I recommend, you can explore Beach Road's "restaurant row," which has several dining choices as well as Apia's largest concentration of bars.

McDonald's is on Vaea Street, a block inland from the Town Clock. It's the only restaurant here open until 11pm Saturday to Thursday, until 1am Friday.

Don't Miss a Fiafia

The Samoans gave up the use of pottery at least 1,000 years before the Europeans arrived. As did their fellow Polynesians, they cooked their foods in a pit of hot stones, which the Samoans call an umu. When it had steamed for hours, they dug up the dirt, unwrapped the delicacies, and sat down to a fiafia.

Favorite side dishes were fresh fruit and oka (fish marinated with lime juice and served with vegetables in coconut milk, similar to poisson cru in Tahiti). If you happen to be in Samoa on the seventh day after the full moon in late October or early November, the meal may include the coral worm known as palolo.

Aggie Grey's Hotel & Bungalows (tel. 22-880) has the best fiafia, promptly at 6:45pm on Wednesday. Don't miss the exciting fire dance around the swimming pool. The show is repeated on Thursday at Aggie Grey's Lagoon, Beach Resort & Spa, with the fire dance on the beach. The Hotel Kitano Tusitala (tel. 21-122) usually has its fiafia on Thursday. Coconuts Beach Club & Spa (tel. 24-849) and Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa (tel. 25-191) usually have theirs on Saturday. Expect to pay about S$65 (US$26/£13) per person. You'll pass a long buffet table loaded with European, Chinese, and Samoan dishes.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.