Food: A List Of Absolute Must-try Dishes In The Islands Of Tahiti
It's no question that Tahiti's "Mana" has embraced the hearts of travellers worldwide. Mana is the lifeforce and spirit of Polynesians. It is a single word that evokes the people, culture and lifestyle of Tahiti, and it's what makes people come back over and over to Tahiti. On my recent visit to the Islands of Tahiti, however, I found that the food made such a lasting impression as well. A simplistic definition of Tahitian food is "Polynesian food with French influence" but it's much more than that. It's the eating experience, combined with the natural ingredients and people you eat with (and people who prepare the food) that makes eating in Tahiti quite a memorable experience.
RESTAURANT LE COCO'S, PUNA'AUIA, TAHITI, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Le Coco's is a popular French restaurant in Tahiti, and for good reason. Set in a dreamy beachfront location, guests can dine with the best views of Tahiti (Moorea is visible on a clear day).
In my opinion, it is their desserts that really make Le Coco's memorable.
Le Coco's pastry chef, Benedicte, has two great passions in her life: Chocolate and Seafood.
She infuses chocolate in her desserts and the Chocolate Raspberry Bomb is absolutely recommended.
You get three types of chocolate in one bite (milk, dark and white chocolate), and in different textures too. Completing this heavenly plate experience are fresh raspberries that add just the right tart to the lovely, chocolatey medley.
CAFE MAEVA (PAPEETE MARKET) RUE FRANCOIS CARDELLA, PAPEETE, ÎLES DU VENT, FRENCH POLYNESIA
When you are in Tahiti, I suggest you take advantage of the fresh fruits and produce. At the beginning of the day, head to the local market in Papeete (known as Papeete Market). Go to the second level, find Cafe Maeva and have the most nutiritous and satisfying breakfast bowls one can have.
Served in a coconut bowl, this breakfast is a hearty mix of rolled oats, chia seeds, mangoes, cranberries, acai and coconut flakes.
It's warm, fresh, and best taken with their freshly squeezed orange juice.
This small bowl got me up and running the entire day after a few hours of sleep. Cafe Maeva's manager Cedric Wane is a triathlete and his passion for healthy eating and living reflects in the cafe's dishes.
RESTAURANT LE MAYFLOWER, DOMAINE TIAHURA, PK 27,HAURU, HAAPITI, MOOREA,, HAURU, HAAPITI, MOOREA, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Not even in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would be having something as sinful as this in the idyllic island of Moorea. This snickers ice cream bar is one of The Mayflower Restaurant's several desserts (they have profiteroles the size of sliders!)
The vanilla ice cream in this ice cream bar is made with Tahitian vanilla (the best kind, I reckon!) and therein lies all the difference. It is not too rich or cloying like other ice cream desserts.
The size is not too big and is just right for one person. And with that one person being me, I happily devoured this over candlelight (power goes out in the island sometimes, and that makes the experience all the more unforgettable).
ALBERT MOANA LAGOON TOUR, MOOREA, FRENCH POLYNESIA
A full-on exciting morning swimming with black tip sharks and stingrays will get you hungry. And there's no better way to cap off this adventure than a Tahitian picnic lunch on a private island.
Albert's Lagoon Tour in Moorea offers a lagoon tour excursion whereby the staff will also prepare a very satisfying picnic lunch. We were shown how to make Poisson Cru - a ceviche type of dish with coconut milk and lime, which is a staple Tahitian dish.
My favourite offering in that picnic lunch were the marinated tuna steaks with freshly grated coconut.
Perhaps it's the fact that we had it in a Motu, a private island, or we also had it after an adrenalin-filled morning, but this certainly was one of my favourite meals in Tahiti.
MOOREA BEACH LODGE, HAURU, WINDWARD ISLANDS, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Moorea Beach Lodge is one of the latest lodges and accommodation to open in Moorea. They have a stunning beach, and I discovered that their ala carte breakfast is an absolute must-have worth waking up early for.
I recommend their 'green omelette' - omelette mixed with brocolli and asparagus. The natural flavours of these vegetables mixed with the egg is amazing.
Their breakfast area overlooks the beach and my two mornings there were easily my favourite in Moorea.
Moorea Beach Lodge can be a little tricky to find, but after experiencing what it's like to stay and eat there, I knew it was worth getting lost looking for it. There are just some things worth the trouble looking for, and Moorea Beach Lodge is one of them.
Tahitian food is not just about the meal itself, but the entire experience. Mana is ever present in every Tahitian element, and I'm happy to confirm that it is also present in its food.