Tropical Tahiti is surrounded by coral reefs, and fish is a staple of the culinary tradition. Among delicacies such as freshwater shrimp and barbecued mahi-mahi, the largest island in French Polynesia is famous for poisson cru, raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk and then mixed with diced vegetables.
Located in the South Pacific Ocean, Tahiti can be reached from Los Angeles in under nine hours and from Sydney under 10. The island was a French protectorate until 1946 and is a semi-autonomous territory of France now. Tahiti’s mountains, landscapes and people were immortalised in the boldly coloured paintings of Paul Gauguin.
As the sun sets over the ocean, in the capital, Papeete, gourmet food trucks known as Les Roulottes open nightly in Vai’ete Square. These colourful wagons serve inexpensive local specialities, often until 3am, while live music plays on the pavilion. Chez Marie offers skewers of meat and fish served alongside sashimi, poisson cru and meka — grilled swordfish with Roquefort sauce and frites.
An icy local golden Hinano lager, “the beer of Tahiti”, which has been brewed on the island since 1955, is the perfect accompaniment. Drink it sitting on La Plage de Maui — a white-sand beach with warm, clean waters and, with any luck, no one around for miles.
Photographs: Getty Images; Minneapolis Institute of Art