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French Cuisine in Polynesia

By Peter R Stewart






















  Tahiti embodies French Polynesian food, known throughout the world because of its exotic fruits, fresh fish and vegetables, prepared with a strong French influence underlying the Tahitian ingredients. Restaurants in French Polynesia exhibit a wide variety of culinary backgrounds including and inevitably French and Tahitian, but also Chinese, Vietnamese, and Italian.
     To taste genuine Tahitian Food is best accomplished by sampling the Ahima'a, otherwise known at Tahiti's underground oven. It is usually prepared on a Sunday morning, or for a special celebration.
     First, the oven is preheated with a wood fire, then the wood is placed in levels one on top of the other all criss-crossed. Porous volcanic rock is scattered over the wood until completely covered. When the fire goes out, the rocks are leveled, the food placed on top and wrapped in woven baskets of coconut leaves. Fish, pork, chicken and vegetables are prepared this way.
     Banana leaves are then laid over the top, plus many layers of leaves from the purao tree to cover the ahima'a completely. Finally, earth is shoveled on top so no heat escapes and the food is grilled, braised and steamed for 3-4 hours. The Polynesian food is then spread out on a table cloth of palm fronds or banana leaves. You eat with your fingers from traditional wood plates, dipping juicy pieces of roast pork, fish, breadfruit, taro, and other goodies in coconut cream sauce. The celebrations are normally concluded with Polynesian dancing.
     Other delicacies to look out for are as follows:
     Poisson cru (ia ota) which is the national dish of Tahiti and her islands. This divine snack consists of raw fish and diced vegetables marinated with lime juice and soaked in coconut milk.
     Chevrettes are another popular Tahitian dish, tasty freshwater shrimp.
     No amura'a (meal) is complete without a rich dessert inspired by the islands. The ultimate is Poe, a sweet pudding made of taro root flavored with banana, vanilla, papaya or pumpkin and topped with a rich coconut-milk sauce.
     Stop by the roulettes or rolling restaurants, colourful, electrically lit vans that offer the best inexpensive dining in Papeete. Both locals and visitors dine on a variety of dishes from roast pork and pizzas to chow mein and flaming crêpes.

     

Peter Stewart writes for www.in-kenyasafari.com and www.worldwidevacationspots.com.

Photo Credits
Tahiti Tourism Office

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Tahiti Tourism in North America: http://www.tahiti-tourisme.com/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahiti
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Tahiti

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Distance calculator: http://www.indo.com/distance/
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Transportation, visas, health, maps and temperature
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/


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