Sun and sand means swimming and surfing—or maybe just lying on the beach. But whatever you choose to do, you’re going to get hungry.
Yes, even in paradise, you’re going to hear your stomach growl. But, if you’re lucky enough to win our trip for two to Tahiti, you’ll discover that paradise is well stocked with fresh eats.
Naturally, fish and seafood figure prominently in Tahitian cuisine. The catch of the day might be grouper, mahi-mahi or tuna. The latter is frequently used in poisson cru (this is French Polynesia after all), a dish that is similar to ceviche but which includes a little shot of coconut along with the lime juice.
The Tahitians are also skilled at pit cooking. The pit is known as a hima’a. Anything can be placed on the hot rocks to cook slowly; don’t be surprised to find lobster, chicken, pig or breadfruit in the hima’a.
Breadfruit is frequently served as a side dish, but it played a central role in Tahitian history. In 1769, Captain James Cook docked in the country. His expedition soon saw the value of breadfruit as a cheap food. Eighteen years later, Captain Bligh (he of the then-not-mutinous Bounty) sailed in to collect over 1,000 plants for transport to the West Indies.
Try to stay hungry for dessert because Tahiti is also famous for its vanilla. The beans make a nice sauce (along with coconut) to accompany entrees, but vanilla really shines at dessert. You might save room for fruit pudding or crème brûlée. —Bruce Weir