New Caledonia Food

Food in New Caledonia

New Caledonia Food

Types of Food in New Caledonia

New Caledonia offers a great variety of food that satisfies the taste of the tourists. New Caledonia Offers 3 major types of food. 

  1. Fish – Fish is the major dietary staple food of the Pacific Islanders. As the corals provide enough food to the fish here, there are around 300 varieties of fish in the waters. They are easily available on the shores and one need not go deep fishing. Fish is eaten raw, grilled or poached without any garnishing or processing.

  2. Fruits – Large quantities of fruits are eaten fresh and also cooked. There are many traditional dishes made of fruits like poi, bougna, etc.

  3. Coconut – Coconut is not consumed in raw form. Rather they make the milk of coconut and it is the major cooking ingredient. The bread fruit which is another staple food of the Islanders is peeled and mashed and then dipped into the coconut milk. This is one of the most common ways of eating bread fruit here.

Grilled Fish in New Caledonia
Best foods in New Caledonia
Best foods in New caledonia

Safe Food To Experience While In New Caledonia



Yam – Yam symbolises the status of a person. It is considered royal and is reserved for the elders, Ancestors and the headmen in the tribal group. They are usually consumed by boiling, roasting and are used as fritters. The Yam is also added in curries

Sweet potato

The food is not known to the Kanak population, it was associated with the Polynesians. However the Kanaks believe that it is their traditional food as it has been in their meal for ages now.

The Polynesians are also considered to hold strong roots to the soil. But they do not belong to here. They migrated to New Caledonia.


The leaves and roots of the plant are consumed. The roots of the plants are 30cm long. It is rich in fibre, calcium, iron. It is an energy booster


It is also called tapioca. The roots and leaves of the plants are eaten

Mangrove Oysters and Crab

The crab is simply roasted in Mayonnaise oil. The Mangrove forests are rich in oysters and crab. It is in Ouemo, near Noumea.

It takes 15 minutes to reach Ouemo from Noumea in car. The Oysters are served with vinaigrette – salad, wine and vinegar.

Coconut Crabs

The Coconut crabs are found in Loyalty Islands. The crab feeds on coconut and hence the name.

The pincers of the coconut crab are extremely strong. This helps them to crack open the coconut. The traditional people of the Island possess special type of stones to break the pincers off.


Bulime / IILe od Pines

It is a traditional local delicacy that can be found only on the Island of pines. It is cooked in coconut milk, garlic and other local herbs.


The dish is traditional and has been consumed mainly in the regions of Grand Terre. It is made of the Rusa Deer. Deer Hunting is extremely popular in New Caledonia especially between July and October. The dish is prepared simply by cutting the meat, stewing it and adding some salads to it


Lobster is prepared during special events like Christmas and New Year these days. However, the ancient Malenesians and the Polynesians had Lobsters during their traditional festivals. The Lobsters were usually cooked by making fire on the beach with the help of wood from the forest.

Today however lobsters are served in the same way, caught fresh from the sea but are garnished with garlic and cream.

Fish Salad

The varieties of fish are caught, their skin is removed. They are mixed together with lime juice and eaten raw

new Caledonia cuisine

Lobster in New Caledonia

Cuisine of New Caledonia

The New Caledonia food is the perfect opportunity for you to taste a variety of different meals. This cuisine is specific because it has the influence of the French cuisine and also from the local communities. Some of the French methods of food preparation can be noticed in the New Caledonian cuisine.

Despite the influence from the French cuisine, in this cuisine can be felt the influence from some different cuisines than the French such as the Melanesian cuisine, Indonesian cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine and some other. The migrants from Melanesia brought several of their traditional dishes such as “Bougna”.

The same happened with the people from Tahiti who introduced their traditional dish ‘Tamara’a’. The Indonesian also contributed to this cuisine by introducing the Caledonia people to a new dish called “Bami” and the Japanese contributed to this cuisine with their traditional meal ‘Sashimi’.

Tropical Food in New Caledonia

In the New Caledonia cuisine can be found some ingredients such as fruit, vegetables, escargot, tropical fruits, fish, eggs, milk (especially coconut milk) etc. The right combination of these ingredients and some others can result in delicious meals which can activate your stomach.

The food in New Caledonia  is usually being braised or steamed in order to keep the nutrients from the food. There are some recipes which require the food to be raw such as some salads.

The inhabitants living in the islands of New Caledonia celebrate the food traditions and festivals which are also celebrated in France such as  New Year’s Day, Labor Day, Whit Monday, Armistice Day, Easter, Christmas and many more. During the celebration of these holidays and during the celebration of some other festivals and important events, the tourists are able to taste some of the most delicious traditional dishes. One of the most important festivals in New Caledonia is the Festival of yam and generally is held in the month of March. During this festival, tourists have the opportunity to try the dish called ‘Civet de Roussette’. On 14th of July traditional French dishes and the traditional New Caledonians dishes are cooked because of the celebration of Bastille Day.

Fine Cusine in New Caledonia
Best foods in New caledonia
Kava in New Caledonia

Traditional drinks of New Caledonia

Kava is one of the most famous traditional drinks of New Caledonia. It is made from the root of the pepper plant – Piper Methysticum. Researchers say that the plant does not belong to the soil of New Caledonia. It was brought by the Polynesian navigators from Vantau.

The drink gives a numb feel around the mouth after a sip. It is supposed to have medicinal properties. It has sedative and muscle relaxing properties. The drink is common in the ceremonial practices of the Islanders.

The drink is sold in New Caledonia in Kava bars. But it does not have alcoholic effects on the human body. It is antibacterial and diuretic. It reduces anxiety, depression and pressure. It is also used as a natural pain suppressant. Unlike alcohol, kava does not induce aggressive behaviour.

The drink tastes bitter. It does not create drowsiness like marijuana and other alcoholic drinks. Rather it releases physical toil from the body. The drink is offered in coconut shells. The coconut is cut into 2 halves. After removing the pulp the shells are smoothened to remove the fibres around the shell. The Malynesians drink Kava and go in search of a dark place and rest for few hours. One full large shell of Kava costs 3 NZD. The place where the drink is sold is called Nakamal.

Try Kava in New Caledonia
food festival in New Caledonia

FOOD FESTIVAL in New Caledonia

Festivals associated with the traditional food

If one wants to try the traditional food of New Caledonia, the food festivals are the right time. During the festivals the ethnic groups living here prepare all kinds of seasonal foods that are abundant and available during that season.

For instance, the Rousette, the bat food is in abundance during April as it is the only month during which the adults do not feed their little ones. It is a tradition of the Islanders to eat Rousette only during the month of April.

However, today one can find Rousette throughout the year in restaurants though hunting of the flying fox is banned.

food festiva New Caledonia
Festival of Yam – Month of March

The Yams are checked by the elders if they are ready. Once they announce the yams are ready, some of the yams are pulled and presented to them in front of the chief.

The chief signals the beginning of the harvest festival. And the harvesting begins. All the members of the clan participate in the harvest. They are pulled up with hands. No tools are used.

The following day the harvested yams are presented to the chief priest. He blesses the harvest and distributes it to the villagers. The villagers then prepare various traditional dishes of yams and display them.

Today yams are sold to the tourists interested in trying the traditional dishes. Earlier they used to eat the dishes prepared together and store some for later use.

Yam festival New Caledonia
Avocado Festival – Month of April

The festival is held in the villages of Mare Island. The farmers here show case their produce. It began as a festival to honour the harvest of avocado.

The tourists can stay with the tribesmen during the festival and try various dishes that are produced with the harvest. Usually they are simply cooked in fire.

Lagoon festival New Caledonia
Lagoon festival – Month of June

The festival is a marine heritage of the Island. All the sea produce is promoted during the festival. This is because month of June is rich in marine species of all the months. The Kanaks celebrate the festival to thank the goddess of ocean to offer them the food.

However these days the festival is celebrated as water sporting, food tasting, music, dance and fishing competition. A lot of traditional fish, crab, lobster, shellfish, snail food varieties are prepared during this season. This season is the right time of visit for sea food lovers.

The country beaches are plate full of sea foods at cheaper rates as compared to other months. This is mainly due to the marine life abundance during this month.

Vanilla Festival – Month of October

The festival happens in the Lifou Islands which is at a 3 hours of sea drive from Noumea. The Vanilla plantations in Lifou Islands are world famous.

Though Vanilla was not traditionally consumed by the New Caledonians, they used it as ornaments and home decors for their smell. However some even say that vanilla was brought by the Malenesians to New Caledonia and was consumed as a festival dish.

Today, however Vanilla is widely used in Caledonian cooking.

Festival of sea, Borendy – Month of December

The festival is devoted for marine produce. It includes lobster, shellfish and smoked fish. The fish are usually cooked in wood and are eaten without any other garnishing. The ancient people used to eat raw fish salads that are made of variety of fish.

Today the festival is celebrated with weaving contests, coconut peeling contest and spear shooting. It also includes fishing contests.

There are varieties of foods especially made of lobsters during this season. It is the best season to visit to taste exclusive lobster recipes of the Island country.

There are other food festivals that are not traditional to the land but are celebrated due to the fusion of the western culture. They have become traditional to the current population as it has been in practice for more than 100 years now


Cheese Festival – Month of June – Over 130 cheese specialties are served during the festival. Various chefs of the region participate in the festival

Bourail festival – Month of August – It is an agricultural and crafts fair. It includes horse riding, tasting local foods, car racing, etc

Gatronomy festival – Month of September – The fusion of French and Malenesinan Cuisines can be tasted during the festival.

Beef Festival – November.

Food in New Caledonia

The cuisine of New Caledonia offers delicious dishes and it can satisfy the taste of every tourist. The right combination of the ingredients offers some tasty meals that activate all of your senses. It has been influenced by many other cuisines so you can try something traditional or international.