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Here’s a refreshing recipe from our ‘ohana in Samoa using crushed pineapple and sweetened condensed milk!

Kūkahekahe: An easy recipe for ‘ono vaifala

Aug. 17, 2021

Contributed by Communication Group Staff

This article is part of Kūkahekahe – Cultural Conversations – featuring personal experiences and insights from faculty, staff, and friends about compelling cultural happenings within the KS organization, throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and across larger Pacific and global communities. For more great recipes, visit the Kaʻiwakīloumoku website.

If you are looking for an easy and delicious drink for summer, look no further. In this Kūkahekahe we share a recipe for an ʻono drink made by our ʻohana in Samoa: vaifala!  “Vai” in Samoan is like our wai, meaning water. “Fala” is the same as our hala kahiki, or pineapple.

Vaifala is a pineapple drink that is refreshing and sweet in the heat. It’s similar to the Tongan drink otai, and you can use other fruit like watermelon to make different variations of the drink like vaimeleni. This recipe uses sweetened condensed milk, although other recipes may use coconut milk… a great way to make it nondairy! We hope you enjoy!


  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple (Do not use fresh pineapple for vaifala! Mixed with milk the drink can become bitter!)
  • 3-4 cups of water, depending on your preference for sweetness
  • Optional: 1-2 tbsp. white sugar to taste. The crushed pineapple and sweetened condensed milk are already quite sweet, so make sure to taste your vaifala before adding more sugar!

In a pitcher or jar, stir all ingredients together. Use ice or chill for four hours.

You can enjoy your vaifala chilled from the refrigerator for up to three days. Serve with a spoon or boba straw to enjoy the pineapple pulp! You can also use additional fruit or frozen puree, such as mango or strawberry!


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