Mumu: Step by Step

This week we had a graduation ceremony for our literacy class. Any celebration in Menya (in all of PNG as far as I know) requires a mumu. I documented the process so you can see how it works.

It starts with stacking wood for a fire

While the men stack, the ladies peel sweet potatoes, squash, taro, and bananas and prepare the greens–lots of greens.

Then the men change their minds and start over. This time there is a layer of rocks under the fire.

Once the fire is lit, the stacking continues.

With all the wood on the stack, more rocks are placed precisely on the top.

The ladies keep peeling.

The fire burns down heating the stones.

The ladies keep peeling.

When the fire is mostly burned, the left over, partially burnt logs are removed.

Then the hot rocks are arranged.

Banana trees are cut and the stalks are beat to their pulp.

Said pulp is piled on the rocks as an insulating layer.

Taro goes on first.

Then a layer of greens.

Then other vegetables. Then a layer of greens.

Then the lamb flaps (which seem to be just lamb fat).

Then a layer of greens.

Then the chickens.

Then a layer of greens.

Then a bag of salt.

Then water is splashed over the whole thing,

Finally, it’s covered with banana leaves.


After one to two hours it looks like this:

It is uncovered.


The ladies start dividing the food.


The men oversee the meat.

The ladies keep working on the vegetables.

Once it is all divided. Everybody sits in groups and eats.


  1. And I thought a low country boil was a big deal.

    • Joseph

      But a LCB tastes good.

What do you think?