The Islands of Tahiti Food and Drink
Modern Tahitian food is a blend of Chinese, French and Polynesian influence. Soy sauce and coconut milk are often added to local dishes. Traditional meals tend to encompass pork, fresh fish, coconut milk and uru. Uru (breadfruit) is a large fruit, which is commonly used as a substitute for flour and can be prepared in different ways - baked, roasted, boiled or steamed.
All the classified hotels have good restaurants where visitors will find Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese and Vietnamese food being served, as well as the Polynesian specialities. Tahitian food can be found in some hotels, while Les Roulottes – trucks or lunch wagons parked on the waterfront at Papeete – sell steak, chips, chicken and shish kebabs. Red meat and poultry are typically imported from New Zealand, but many local dishes make good use of the abundance of seafood and exotic fruits, and local cooks are famed for their delicate sauces, often made with homegrown vanilla and coconut.
A full range of alcoholic drinks is available, and the local brand of beer, Hinano is sold everywhere, along with an array of foreign beers. Red and white wine, imported from France, can be bought from local supermarkets. Alcohol is very affordable in restaurants as the tax is reduced. Fresh fruits juices are also popular as well as coconut water.
Poisson cru, or iaota: Marinated fish, often raw tuna, served with coconut cream and limes. The national dish of Tahiti.
Tamaaraa: A Tahitian feast with lots of singing and dancing. Roast chicken and pork are cooked then served from 'ahima’a' (underground ovens).
Fafa: Spinach-like taro leaves, often served with young suckling pig.
Pouletfafa: Chicken and taro leaves cooked with coconut cream.
Fafaru: Sliced tuna or parrotfish marinated in seawater with crushed shrimps and crabs.
Chevrettes: Freshwater shrimp, often served in a curry.
Uru: Breadfruit, eaten as a side dish or used to replace flour.
Casse-croute: A filling Tahitian sandwich, popular with locals and tourists.
Po’e: A sweet, starchy pudding made from papaya, mango and banana, topped in a rich coconut sauce.
Kato: Biscuits made with coconut milk and enjoyed with a cup of coffee.
Pineapples: Tahiti's pineapples are reputed to be the sweetest in the world.
Firi Firi: Figure of eight-shaped doughnuts dipped in coffee.
Tahitian Noni Juice: This juice comes from the Noni tree which is native to the South Pacific, and is famous for its health-enhancing effects.
Hinano: Tahitian beer, light golden and has a slight bitter taste.
Things to know
In general tipping is tolerated but not practised, since it is contrary to the Tahitian idea of hospitality.