The cuisine of Tahiti is internationally renowned for its fresh fish and exotic fruits and vegetables, prepared with Polynesian influence and a touch of French flair. Restaurants throughout the islands offer French, Tahitian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Italian dishes for the discerning palate. Tahitians are known for their delicate sauces, which often incorporate home-grown vanilla and freshly squeezed coconut milk.
Poisson cru (ia ota) is the national dish of Tahiti, and can be found in most restaurants. This melt-in-your-mouth entrée consists of raw fish and diced vegetables soaked in coconut milk and marinated with lime juice. Chevrettes, another popular Tahitian dish, are tasty freshwater shrimp which can also be found throughout the islands.
No amura’a (meal) is complete without a rich island-inspired dessert. The ultimate Tahitian dessert indulgence is poe, a sweet pudding made of taro root flavored with banana, vanilla, papaya or pumpkin and topped with a rich coconut-milk sauce. Looking for something a little lighter? Try the mouth-watering French croissants or the tasty biscuit-like treats, kato, which are made with coconut milk. A cup of the local coffee flavored with vanilla and served with sugar and coconut cream complements any of these delicious Tahitian treats.
Les Roulottes, located near the wharf in Papeete, are a great way to experience Tahiti’s local cuisine and culture. These roulottes, or "food trucks," are colorful, electrically lit vans that offer the best inexpensive dining. Both locals and visitors alike can be found dining and enjoying a variety of dishes, from roast pork and pizzas to chow mein and flaming crêpes.
Another way to sample authentic Tahitian cuisine is to attend a Tahitian feast, called a tamaaraa. At the feast, visitors are greeted by traditional Polynesian singing, and dancing, and celebration. Native Tahitian local dishes of fish, roasted pork and chicken cooked and served from an underground oven called an ahimaa. Visitors to Tahiti will receive a final touch of Tahitian tradition as the tamaaraa concludes with a full Polynesian show complete with exotic costumes and dancing.