French Flavours In The South Pacific

19 September 2015
Read Time: 1.2 mins

There is a definite touch of France in the South Pacific, from the shopping a la francaise in Tahiti to the atmosphere of amour in Bora Bora.

A collection of islands scattered in Pacific waters are official Overseas Territories of France – don't be surprised when you hear locals chatting in French over a croissant as the balmy breeze swirls through coconut-laden palms.

Traditional cuisine is still embedded heavily in island culture, but a strong blend of Gallic and Pacific shines through when it comes to wining and dining.

French Polynesia

It comes as no surprise that French Polynesia has a strong French influence – it's even in the name! Often referred to as Tahiti (the main island), French Polynesia is best known as a honeymoon hotspot adorned with overwater bungalows.

When they claimed the archipelago in the 1800s, the French introduced their exotic flavours to the traditional, tropical cuisine.

 A Tahitian breakfast ... the papaya is local, the French brought the chocolate (Image: Getty)

Sit down for a tama'ara'a (Tahitian feast) or light meal of poisson cru – lime-marinated raw fish and salad served in coconut cream.

Other identifiably French dishes include carpaccio and duck with orange sauce, with most meals still focusing on local staples like taro, breadfruit and sweet potato.

New Caledonia: A South Pacific Idyll. New Caledonia: France’s Most Idyllic Spot?

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New Caledonia

Melanesian heritage mixes with refined French gastronomy in New Caledonia, continuing to please even the most seasoned foodies.

Capital Noumea on the main island of Grand Terre is arguably the best place in the South Pacific to savour a taste of France.

Quality restaurants abound on the picturesque peninsula city, with French and Asian flavours dominating the menus.

 For the perfect Grand Terre sunset ... just add French wine (Image: Getty)

Traditional Melanesian cuisine is more prominent in the brousse (the bush - everything external to greater Noumea), where you can enjoy lobster cooked in customary ground ovens, as well as snails and pigeon for the more adventurous palate.

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