Long pig is an antiquated term for human flesh, eaten by cannibals. Purportedly, the term long pig is a translation of a phrase used in the Pacific Islands for human flesh intended for consumption. Early explorers and missionaries who contacted cannibal Pacific Islanders were told that human flesh tasted similar to pork, thus the term long pig. According to Google’s Ngram Viewer, the popularity of the phrase long pig was greatest from the 1880s to 1920s, a time when many Pacific Islanders were first contacted and studied. The term is rarely used now, except in historic context.
Thus in Melanesia, a human prepared for consumption was referred to as a “long pig.” (The Japan Times)
Cannibalism was part of traditional culture in Papua New Guinea, where human flesh was known as “long pig,” and survived in isolated pockets into the latter part of the 20th century while the country was under Australian colonial rule. (The Telegraph)
Despite reports that human flesh tastes like pork, and that the pidgin for human meat might or might not be ‘long pig’, ultimate insight comes from the study of genomes. (The Guardian)
They took special care to avoid, to the east, the Karankawa, notorious for eating settlers (tribesmen called the dish “long pig”). (The Hollywood Reporter)
Theroux wrote, “It was a theory of mine that former cannibals of Oceania now feasted on Spam because Spam came the nearest to approximating the porky taste of human flesh, ‘Long pig’ as they called a cooked human being in much of Melanesia.” (The Huffington Post)
Just one explorer survived, and that was Alferd Packer, who only made it because of a decision to feast on a diet of long pig. (The Austin Chronicle)