Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eating out in Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora

Not a good idea to be in Papeete, Tahiti on Easter Sunday as it is a holiday for the locals there. We spent three hours wandering around downtown Papeete, the waterfront area, even walked to Paofai, spent half an hour in the shelter dodging a thunderstorm, went to a local church to catch their Easter Sunday service and yet we were bored at the end of it all. None of the stores were open except for 2 restaurants. Either they were closed for the holiday or they close early on Sundays like their municipal market that closes at 8am on Sundays.

We had lunch at Le Retro- an open air French bistro/cafe (one of the 2 restaurants that were open). My husband decided to order their special of the day on the menu board that was written in French which he had no idea what it was. Keep in mind that we don't speak French. The wait person who speaks little English tried to explain to my husband something along the line that it is a very special sausage. Indeed, it was. When the sausage arrived, I could smell a waft of poo-like aroma coming across the table. Within minutes, flies started to gather around. My husband looked at it suspiciously before taking a couple of bites and finally, gave up. What he ordered was andouilette- the king of all sausages. It's made of pork and chitterlings which if not prepped properly yields a very strong poopy smell. It's an acquired taste, I'd say.

                                             Shrimps and scallops with puff pastry, Moorea

                                                Shrimps and scallops in saffron sauce, Moorea

                                               Duck fillet in mango vinegar sauce, Moorea

Eating out in Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora is expensive. It's easy to pay $180 usd for lunch for 4 at any restaurant with 3 entrees and 4 drinks. Cocktails run $15 to $20 usd easily. Even at the roulottes (Tahitian style food trucks), we'd spend $50 usd for a plate of mediocre fried rice, a plate of fried noodles and one order of thin steak. It's not cheap.That's why when we asked our taxi driver which restaurant does he go to for local food, he replied, "None, we only eat at home. It's too expensive to eat out." This is the driver who gets paid by the restaurant to chaffeur us from our hotel to the restaurant. It makes me feel guilty for eating at the restaurant since that dinner costs us almost $300 usd for the 4 of us. We could get the same dinner with better quality for half the price here in LA. Another taxi driver tells us average pay per month there is about $1500 usd. Going out to eat at a restaurant is a luxury for most. That's why most patrons of the restaurants that we visited seems to be tourists or foreigners living there instead of locals. Food prices at the supermarket are comparable to the prices here as most food products there were imported from other countries, predominantly France. Good thing we had the meal plan included in our stay at IC Bora Bora.

Foie Gras at the Reve,  IC BB

Veal at the Reve, IC BB

Braised duck leg with rice pudding, BB
However, in Moorea we did have one lunch at Chez Vina, a food shack extended from the owner's house. It's the closest food place (10 minutes walk) from IC Moorea where we were staying. There we had breadfruit chips, poisson cru, curry shrimps, baguette sandwiches and fish in tahitian vanilla sauce. The food was good but not cheap for a food shack. Plus, they have free bananas for all hanging at their entrance. The whole time we were there, the neighborhood kids would drop by and grab the bananas as they like.

Caught in the act

Breadfruit chips- taste like taro chips, Chez Vina
Curry shrimps
Poisson cru- raw fish in coconut milk



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