Tahitian Food Culture

The Tahitian food culture is a rich and diverse blend of traditional Polynesian cuisine, French cuisine, and modern cooking techniques. Tahiti, the main island in French Polynesia, is located in the South Pacific and is known for its tropical climate, beautiful beaches, and rich cultural heritage.

The food culture of Tahiti is heavily influenced by the abundance of fresh seafood and tropical fruits that are available on the island. Traditional Tahitian dishes often feature fish, seafood, pork, chicken, and vegetables, and they are typically cooked using methods such as grilling, baking, and steaming.

Many Tahitian dishes are also flavored with local spices and herbs, such as vanilla, coconut milk, and taro root, which add depth and complexity to the flavors of the food. Overall, the Tahitian food culture is a vibrant and delicious reflection of the island’s natural beauty and cultural traditions.

During your visit, you should plan to attend at least one amara’a (banquet), where you can sample a variety of Tahitian dishes and unwind with some local beers.

Fresh Seafood

Seafood is an important part of the Tahitian food culture, as the island of Tahiti is located in the South Pacific and has an abundance of fresh seafood. Fish, shellfish, and other seafood are a staple of the Tahitian diet and are used in a variety of traditional dishes.

Some popular types of seafood in Tahiti include tuna, mahi-mahi, snapper, marlin, and wahoo, which are often caught by local fishermen and served fresh. Shellfish, such as lobster, crab, and shrimp, are also commonly consumed in Tahiti and are often used in traditional dishes like Poisson cru (raw fish marinated in coconut milk) and poke (a dish made with diced raw fish).

In addition to being a staple of the Tahitian diet, seafood is also an important part of the island’s economy, as the seafood industry plays a significant role in the local economy. Fish and shellfish are often sold at local markets and exported to other countries, and the tourism industry also relies heavily on the availability of fresh seafood for visitors.

Overall, seafood is an integral part of the Tahitian food culture and plays a significant role in the island’s economy and way of life.

Papeete the Food Center

The city of Papeete is regarded as Tahiti’s culinary center. A Tama’ara’a or Tahitian Feast is held at the majority of resorts on all the islands at least once per week. This requires using a himaa to cook (an oven that has been dug into the ground).

Cooking with Banana Leaves

Banana leaves are a common ingredient in Tahitian cooking and are often used as a natural wrapper for food. They are used in a variety of dishes, such as grilled fish, pork, and chicken, and they add flavor and moisture to the food as it cooks.

To cook with banana leaves, you will need to start by finding fresh banana leaves. Before using the leaves, you will need to soften them by placing them in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds. This will make them more pliable and easier to work with.

Once the leaves are softened, you can use them to wrap your food. Simply place the food in the center of the leaf, fold the sides of the leaf over the food, and tie the leaf closed with a strip of the leaf or a piece of kitchen twine. You can then grill, bake, or steam the food, depending on your recipe.

Banana leaves are a great way to add flavor and moisture to your dishes, and they are a natural, eco-friendly alternative to foil or plastic wrap.

Poisson Cru

Tahitian Poisson Cru is a traditional dish in French Polynesia that is made with raw fish marinated in coconut milk. It is a refreshing and flavorful dish that is perfect for a hot summer day. Here is a recipe for Tahitian Poisson Cru:


  • 1 pound fresh, white-fleshed fish (such as mahi-mahi, snapper, or tuna)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh mango


  1. Cut the fish into small cubes and place it in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the marinade over the fish and stir to coat the fish evenly.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate the fish in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.
  5. When you are ready to serve the dish, add the tomato, onion, bell pepper, pineapple, and mango to the bowl with the fish.
  6. Stir gently to combine the ingredients.
  7. Serve the Tahitian Poisson Cru immediately, with a side of rice or grilled vegetables. Enjoy!

Poe, sweet Pudding

Poe is a traditional Tahitian dessert that is made with taro root, coconut milk, and sugar.  Poe is often the final course of any amura’a (dinner). It is a sweet, creamy pudding that is often served at special occasions and celebrations. Here is a recipe for Tahitian Poe:


  • 2 cups grated taro root
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large saucepan, combine the taro root, coconut milk, sugar, and salt.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the pudding, stirring occasionally, until the taro root is soft and the pudding is thick and creamy about 30-40 minutes.
  4. Remove the pudding from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  5. Serve the Tahitian Poe in small bowls or cups, and garnish with additional coconut milk and a sprinkle of sugar, if desired. Enjoy!

Tahitian Poe is a delicious and satisfying dessert that is perfect for any occasion. Its creamy, sweet flavor is a perfect way to end a meal, and it is a great way to experience the rich culinary traditions of Tahiti.

Coconut Milk Snacks

Try the delectable coconut milk-made kato snacks or the mouthwatering croissants from France. Any of these delectable Tahitian treats go perfectly with a cup of local coffee, which is flavored with vanilla bean and served with sugar and coconut cream.

Famous Roulottes

Les Roulottes are an excellent, reasonably priced way to experience Tahitian food. The greatest affordable cuisines in Papeete are served in the city’s colorful, electrically illuminated “roulottes,” or rolling eateries.

Even if guests don’t intend to eat, they can still learn about the Tahitian way of life by simply admiring these elaborately painted vehicles. Tahitian dishes are available for both residents and tourists to eat, including grilled chicken, roast pork, pizza, chow mein, and flame crepes.

Tamaataa – Tahitian Feast

The Tamaataa is a traditional Tahitian feast that is held to celebrate important events, such as weddings, birthdays, and other important milestones. The Tamaataa is a celebration of food, music, and dance, and it is an integral part of Tahitian culture.

During a Tamaataa, a variety of traditional Tahitian dishes are prepared and served to guests. These dishes often include a variety of meats, such as pork, chicken, and fish, as well as vegetables, fruits, and grains. The main dish is usually cooked in an underground oven called an “umu,” which uses hot stones to cook the food. Other dishes are prepared using traditional cooking methods such as grilling, baking, and steaming.

In addition to the food, the Tamaataa also features traditional Tahitian music and dance. The music is typically played on instruments such as the ukulele, guitar, and drums, and it is accompanied by traditional Tahitian dance, which is characterized by rhythmic hand movements and footwork.

The Tamaataa is a joyous and festive celebration that brings together family, friends, and community members to celebrate important events and share in the beauty and traditions of Tahitian culture. It is an integral part of life in Tahiti, and it is


Hinano lager, which has been brewed in Tahiti since 1955, is the local beer and is offered on tap, in bottles, and in cans. It is regarded as being highly sharp and energizing. Tabu, a Tahitian pale lager, is a different well-liked beer.

The Pineapple Factory and Fruit Juice Distillery, which makes fruit-infused rums with flavors including pineapple, coconut, and ginger, is located on the island of Moorea. Be sure to try fresh fruit juices and the delicious coconut juice too.

The most popular varieties of wine on the islands are French wine and champagne, but you can also find wines from South Africa, New Zealand, and California.

Various Tropical cocktails, made with indigenous ingredients like coconut, banana, and vanilla, are especially well-liked in resorts.

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