Her day starts at 4am in the morning, the process starts, she peels the potatoes, yam, and cassava, and when available she adds taro to the menu. Fish is always a favorite with the locals – especially how she prepares it.

Ms Janet Silu is 68 years old, originally from Reef Islands Temotu province she has now became a favourite with her local food. Her food stall is located East of Honiara, just before the turn off to the international airport.

Janet explains that her style of cooking, particularly the reef fish, is passed down from generations before her. Wrapped in leaf it is roasted slowly, allowing the flavour to remain in the wrap. No oil or added ingredients.

She says that in the past people lived to old age, nowadays noticeably young people are getting sick, even die, and that is mainly from the food that they eat.

“Local food like taro, yam, kumara, cassava and fish was our diet in the past, it is healthy, and we get to live long. We should return to this healthy way of life, it takes longer to prepare but it is good for the body,” she says.

She says fast food is never a healthy option because they are all processed food, with many chemicals to keep it fresh.

“I notice more people are buying local food, many of my customers have been buying food from my stall for many years now. I always prepare almost every type of local food, ready on my table before lunch.”

The 68-year-old Janet Silu says apart from providing a healthy option for her customers, it is also good income for her, helps in supporting her family.

“I earn about $500 daily from the market, some days more, depends on the amount of fish we catch and the weather. It is a huge achievement for me earning this kind of money for my family.” 

Non-communicable disease (NCDs) are now the leading cause of death in most countries in the Pacific Islands region. In the Solomon Islands it is estimated that   60 to 70% of deaths are caused by NCDs.