Having left Paris behind, I ventured East for 24 hours in a plane, until I arrived in luscious, tropical New Caledonia.
The cuisine there is very interesting. It's not so much that I tried new dishes that I had never heard of before, as it is about fresh, local ingredients. Like yellow fin tuna that has been fished 10 km away, prepared in a myriad of different ways (half cooked, sashimi, poelee with shrimps, grilled etc etc etc) Personally I had never eaten 'local' tuna before, because until now I had never been in a country where it was the local fish.
New Caledonian shrimps, (which you can actually find at Carrefour in France) are incredibly special. It was like it was the first time I had really tasted shrimp. I think we must have eaten shrimps almost every day, either bbq-ed, grilled, flambeed in pastis, in coconut curry, in chinese style beignets and the list goes on.
Of course there is also lobster, or langouste. Rock lobster specifically, not the American kind, so it doesnt have any claws. This was the first time I tried lobster, and I had it just like youre supposed to: with you feet in the sand, a beer in your hand, lazily watching the turquoise waves lap against the white sand beach, while the coconut trees sway in the cool pacific breeze. (As per the cooking of the lobster, it was grilled and brushed with butter, garlic and parsley). In another place, they served the lobster cold, and decorated it with beautiful frangipanier flowers.
Then there are all the amazing fruits, like mangos, passion fruit, papayas, guavas, pineapples and green oranges! In the vegetable spectrum however, things were not really inspiring. Im not a big fan of taro, yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes and inyam, usually all served together in the same dish. Its a little too much starch for me.
I tried my best to document all these culinary wonders.
Here are my pictorial efforts.
The cold lobster decorated with frangipanier flowers
The shrimps flambeed in pastis, with curry and creme fraiche
Chou chou, a local vegetable
Grilled Lobster on the beach
Green baby bananas, yellow baby bananas and mangoes
The most delicious fresh coriander aka persil chinois
Yam and Sweet Potatoes
Shrimps at the Market
Huge langouste at the Market
Local fish called Becs de Cane
Fresh herbs at the Market
Spring onions at the Market