Polynesians cuisine is a mix of cultures, from the South Pacific, French, Italian and Chinese. Seafood and tropical fruit are the local fayre; the ripe, fruity and delicious varieties like watermelon, pineapple, papaya, banan,coconut and mango.
When visiting Tahiti, the best restaurants could be anywhere. “Mobile” restaurants gather at the waterfront to create a spectacular outdoor feast. Much of the cuisine is imported like French crepes, pommes frittes and the global fayre of pizza, but the local speciality is the connoisseur’s choice, poisson cru. It’s similar to South American ceviche, but with the Polynesia twist of coconut.
Poisson Cru, raw fish, is not so much a recipe as a way of preparing fish. It is a fuss free preparation which can be made on the beach to enjoy the freshest catch. It differs from Japanese sushi in its simpler preparations and pacific tangs. To make poisson cru use the freshest fish, typically tuna, halibut or rockfish and add exotically coloured vegetable and herbs. The secret is to prepare the dish as quickly as possible and not allow the flavours to steep into the fish too far.
Quick recipe for Poisson Cru:
To prepare, in a glass bowl mix lime juice,(2 fl oz per pound of fish) coconut milk (3 fl oz per lb of fish) and seasoning to taste. Add the fish, raw salad vegetables (tomatos, carrot, spring onions etc.) add the grated zest of one lime. Mix, season, and serve immediately.
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By Susi O’Neill