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Traditional Papeete Food

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Cuisine is an integral part of any local culture, and no trip to Papeete is complete without tasting the local food. This directory offers information about the traditional dishes and drinks available in Papeete to help visitors better understand the local food culture and make an informed decision when trying them.


  • Chevrettes à la Vanille et Coco (Tahitian shrimp in coconut-vanilla sauce): Tahitian shrimps in a sauce made of vanilla beans, rum, coconut milk, oil, cream, salt and black pepper.
  • Crepes: very thin pancake, usually made from wheat flour.
  • Confetti Appetizers: roll dough, softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, garlic powder and basil leaves.
  • Papeete Tahitian Prawns: prawns, wine, chopped onions, oil, salt, ground red pepper, garlic cloves and paprika.
  • Poi (Boiled and mashed taro root): staple food made from the boiled or steamed corm of the taro plant.


  • French onion soup: onion and beef broth traditionally served with croutons and cheese as toppings.
  • Papaya soup: pureed soup made of carrots, Maui onions, tomatoes, grated ginger, cubed ripe papaya fruit, coconut milk, vegetable stock and condiments.


  • Green Papaya Salad: green papayas, cashews, bean sprouts, red chili peppers, tomatoes, coriander, basil and scallions.
  • Foie gras salad: lamb's lettuce, rocket lettuce, toasted hazelnuts, foie gras torchon and vinaigrette sauce.
  • Salade Niçoise: salad with tuna, olives, potatoes and green beans.
  • Taco Salad: flour tortilla shell stuffed with shredded iceberg lettuce and topped with diced tomato, shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and Taco sauce.
  • Watermelon Star Salad: watermelon slices, lettuce leaves, cottage cheese or feta and blueberries.

Main courses

  • Boiled yam: peeled and diced yams.
  • Braised Swordfish: swordfish meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, tomatoes, white wine, garlic, fennel seeds, herbs.
  • Chow mein: stir-fried noodles.
  • Fafa and Coconut Chicken: fafa leaves, chicken tights, grated coconuts, chopped onions, lemon, oil, chicken broth, cornstarch, garlic and ginger.
  • Fafaru (Fish fermented in seawater): diced fish fillets macerated in mitifafaru.
  • Fried breadfruit: breadfruit fried in oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and other exotic spices.
  • Grilled mahi mahi: fish fillets, Italian salad dressing or Paul Newman's Caesar salad dressing.
  • Grilled rib-eye steak: marinated and grilled rib-eye steak.
  • Ma'a tinito: pork loin, red kidney beans, Chinese red and white cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, pasta, soy sauce, peanut oil, pepper and salt.
  • Ma'oa and Pahua Taioro: snails and clams in coconut seawater sauce.
  • Mashed Uru: boiled breadfruits mashed with coconut milk, vegetable oil, finely chopped onions and salt.
  • Meat Rissoles: small croquettes enclosed in pastry usually baked or deep fried and filled with sweet or savory ingredients.
  • 'Ota 'ika (Poisson cru): raw fish marinated in citrus juice and coconut milk and mixed with diced vegetables.
  • Papaya Chicken: chicken breasts, papaya fruits, yogurt and aromatic condiments cooked in a skillet.
  • Papaya Ratatouille: papaya, tomatoes, garlic, onion and herbs.
  • Pork Curry with Bananas: a traditional dish, very rich in aromas and taste.
  • Poulet Fafa: Tahitian chicken with taro leaves.
  • Pua Toro (Corned beef): canned corned beef.
  • Roast pork: pork cooked in a special earth oven called ahima'a.
  • Shrimp in banana and curry sauce: a delicious dish including a big number of tasty ingredients.
  • Tahitian Pork Curry with Taro: pork loin, taro roots, curry and paprika powder, onions, garlic, flour, coconut milk and oil cooked in a Dutch oven.
  • Tuna steak: tuna fish is marinated for approximately one hour in a special sauce.


  • Baked Mango: mango fruits baked with cinnamon, caster sugar, halved vanilla beans, melted butter, red wine, lime juice, chili flakes and/or honey.
  • Banana Poe: creamed boiled bananas, vanilla extract and manioc starch.
  • Coconut Cake: flour, butter, baking powder, coconut milk, vanilla, egg whites, sugar and salt.
  • Firifiri: 8 shaped doughnuts made of flour, dry yeast, coconut milk and sugar.
  • Papaya dessert: baked halves of papayas filled with sugar and coconut milk.
  • Po'e: sweet, pudding-like confection made from bananas, papaya, or mangoes cooked with manioc and coconut cream.
  • Sweet Potato Cream: mashed sweet potatoes, vanilla beans, sugar, warm milk or water.
  • Tahitian Sweet Bread: dessert bread made of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, yoghurt, egg whites, oil, crystallized ginger, vanilla and dried fruits.

Fast food

  • Croissants: buttery flaky bread rolled and folded several times, then rolled into a sheet.
  • French fries: thin strips of deep-fried potatoes.
  • Hamburger: sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat usually placed inside a sliced bread roll.

Street food

  • Baguette: long thin loaf of French bread made from basic lean dough.
  • Baguette Bread Sandwiches: horizontally halved baguettes filled with diverse ingredients.
  • Chicken fried steak: a breaded cutlet dish consisting of a piece of steak coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried.
  • Coconut Bread: sweet bread made of flour, eggs, milk, baking powder, ground cinnamon, sugar, vanilla or coconut extract, melted butter and grated coconuts.
  • Garlic bread: grilled or broiled bread topped with garlic and olive oil or butter.

Drinks (Non-alcoholic)

  • Noni Juice: juice extracted from the fruit of the Morinda citrifolia tree.

Drinks (Alcoholic)

  • Banana coralia: crushed fresh bananas, 1/5 coconut milk, orange juice, strawberry syrup, ice.
  • Hinano Beer: 5% ABV lager popular in Tahiti.
  • Maitai: alcoholic cocktail based on rum, Curaçao liqueur, and lime juice.
  • Pina Lagoon: coconut milk, syrup of cane sugar, white rum, pineapple nectar, hielo.
  • Tahiti Drink: cocktail made of rum and exotic fruits.

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