Eclectic, fusion cuisine
The reputation of French gastronomy is not limited to France's continental cuisine! Sweet, savoury, colourful and spicy... Overseas French cuisine is a veritable blend of cultures and an exotic culinary adventure. Here is a taste of specialties worth discovering.
Asian influences in New Caledonia
We can find continental specialties in New Caledonia, but also many Asian inspired dishes, especially in Noumea. A traditional Kanak dish, bougna is made with meat or fish marinated in coconut milk, yams, taros and sweet potatoes. It simmers for hours in banana leaves, on the hot stones of the Kanak oven.
Raw fish in French Polynesia
Tahitian-style poisson cru, or raw fish, is the undeniable culinary darling of the French Polynesian islands! Freshly fished tuna, red mullet or bonito are diced and sprinkled with lemon juice and coconut milk, then marinated about twenty minutes before being served chilled.
Spices: the stars of Guyanese cuisine
In French Guyana, it's impossible to get by without nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, pepper and chili, which add zest to all local dishes. Upon arrival, make sure to try the bouillon d'awara, the "national" welcome dish prepared for visitors and traditionally savoured at Easter and Pentecost. The pulp of the fruit of palm trees is used to prepare a stew, along with smoked fish and chicken.
Reunion: the island of Bourbon vanilla
Reunion Island has welcomed flavours from around the world, including curcuma, cardamom, ginger and quatre épices, or four spice. As for vanilla, Bourbon (the island's former name) vanilla comes from a local tradition-inspired savoir-faire. Labelled as such to differentiate from the other vanilla producers in the Indian Ocean, it is used in pastries, in punch, rum and coffee, as well as in other dishes, like the famous canard à la vanille, or vanilla duck.
Today's Caribbean cuisine
Influenced by Caribbean, European, Indian, African and Oriental traditions, Caribbean cuisine makes the most of local products like fish, which Guadeloupeans adore! Amongst the Creole culinary specialties found in Guadeloupe and Martinique are boudins (black pudding), accras (fritters),conch, cod and crayfish patés, along with coffee and cacao grown in the French West Indies.
As an aperitif, opt for a glass of rum, served neat or mixed into a cocktail. This spirit, made from sugar cane, is a veritable classic of the French Caribbean. To get a better taste of these different overseas cultures, explore the lively, colourful fruit and vegetable markets and exchange with the local growers.