Cooking fish and seafood in Timor-Leste: recipes and stories of traditions and livelihoods

Date released
19 January 2021
Publication Code

Duarte A, Hunnam K and Eriksson H


Since achieving Independence almost 20 years ago, Timor-Leste has been striving to alleviate poverty and reduce its high rates of malnutrition. The natural resources of Timor-Leste have the potential to provide household incomes and to help improve health and nutrition, particularly among women and children. This book is a collection of seafood recipes from Timor-Leste, each introduced by a story about a practice, species, or person, and it highlights the importance of fish and fisheries for household livelihoods and the economy, and the role of women and men in this sector.

These recipes, presented in Tetum and in English, and generously shared by women and men from five municipalities around Timor-Leste, are a small selection of the many ways people enjoy eating fish and seafood across Timor-Leste. Some are iconic dishes cooked using traditional techniques, others incorporate influences from Portuguese and Indonesian cuisines, while a few are tasty new variations. The recipes provide a useful guide for families, households and restaurants, and provide inspiration to all Timorese, especially the younger generation, to eat healthily, and eat more fish and seafood.