Americans and Asians alike will have no trouble finding tastes of home on the Northern Mariana Islands. American chain establishments from Pizza Hut to the Saipan Hard Rock Café abound on this Commonwealth of the United States territory, but there are also several independently owned restaurants whose menus include traditional island favorites like chicken kelaguen. A very hot pepper called donne sali is a common ingredient in many Chamorro dishes, while a roasted coconut dish called apigi and wrapped in banana leaves is a common sweet treat. Joeten is the most popular supermarket on the islands, and Garapan is famous for its large number of bakeries.
Bars and Pubbing in Northern Mariana Islands
On the surface, karaoke and hostess bars seem to be the only nightlife options on the Northern Marianas Islands. However, revelers who dig a little deeper will find many more Western-style bars, especially along Saipan’s coast. Despite its Italian Mafia-inspired name and décor, the Godfather’s Bar (Palm Street, Garapan), is a perfectly safe and legal way to party among locals and tourists from around the world. Eight cable televisions, seven nights of live music, and more than 20 different beers are just a few reasons why this is one of Garapan’s most popular party spots.
The Chambre Bar (Coral Tree Avenue, Garapan) inside the Fiesta Resort and Spa is another popular Garapan watering hole, especially during its weeknight happy hour specials when drinks are discounted by 50 percent and appetizers are free. The Sunset Bar and Grill (Chalan Kanoa, Mariana Islands) is an ideal place to relax and enjoy beautiful seaside sunsets after scuba diving or snorkeling excursions.
Many bars along Saipan’s Beach road serve tasty food with their lively atmospheres, including Wild Bill’s Bar and Grill (Beach Road, Mariana Islands). Traditional Thai cuisine is served alongside down-home Texan favorites like chicken fried steak and bacon cheeseburgers. Everyone is invited to this bar’s free Tuesday evening trivia tournaments. Those preferring a dance club environment may prefer GIG Discotheque (Garapan, Northern Marianas Islands), whose theme is Egyptian and whose music is primarily hip-hop.
Dining and Cuisine in Northern Marianas Islands
Asian and American are the most commonly served cuisines at Northern Marianas Islands restaurants, but the Buffet World Restaurant (Susupe, Saipan) may be the best place to sample all the dishes the islands have to offer during a single meal. The Wave Jungle can be clearly seen from this ground floor restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows. Brunch and live music are served on Sundays. All of the Korean kimchi dishes at the Saipan World Resort’s Myung Ga Restauraunt (Susupe, Saipan) are prepared with authentic ingredients imported directly from South Korea.
The Fiesta Resort and Spa (Coral Tree Avenue, Garapan) has become one of Garapan’s most frequented restaurants for its wide variety of Asian cuisine and traditional Japanese teppanyaki dining experience. Steak and seafood are served during dinner buffets held four days a week, while Sunday brunches include bottomless champagne. One of Garapan’s best kept dining secrets is the Café at the Park (Micro Beach Road, Garapan), a popular coffee shop whose daily specials include baba ghanoosh and Chamorro-style paella.
JC Café (San Jose, Tinian) may be one of the most recommended Northern Mariana Islands restaurants outside of Saipan. For nearly 20 years, this establishment has offered pool tables, an ATM, a poker palace, and a free delivery service accepting all major credit cards. Minako’s Café (Broadway, Tinian) serves this small island’s largest variety of Asian and American dishes.