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Cuisine and Culture

Noumea is the haute cuisine hub of the Pacific with over 150 restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets. Savour delectable French cooking, beautiful wines and champagnes and many patisseries selling mouth-watering macarons, éclairs and chocolates.  Or, experience unique flavours served up by New Caledonia’s innovative chefs who blend Melanesian and French cuisines in a seamless fusion of flavours.

Seafood features on many restaurant menus with freshly-caught prawns of every denomination, lobsters, oysters, marlin, mackerel, crab and mussels for delectable bowls of moules marinières.

Of course there is also the chance to indulge in a wide selection of French wines – many of which you won’t find available in Australia.

Local delicacies include Bougna, which is a traditional Melanesian dish combining chicken, lobster or fish with yams, bananas, sweet potatoes and coconut milk wrapped in banana leaves. The food is then steamed in an earth oven heated by hot stones. Bougna is served with a variety of other dishes, including seafood, coconut milk and tropical fruit.

Other delicacies include small mangrove oysters, New Caledonian prawns and, a pastry filled with seafood and cream sauce. On the Isle of Pines visitors can try the endemic Ille des Pins escargot (snails).

For a dining experience that’s a little different, try ‘table d’hotes’. Here, guests are welcomed into the homes of locals who serve meals of venison, wild pig, coconut crab and fish.

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Noumea is a bustling capital with fantastic food and fashion stores; Rue de Sébastopol is one of the main shopping boulevards where guests will find boutiques, selling French labels from high street to high end.

A true gourmet holiday may involve enjoying the local cuisine in top eateries, but it’s also fun to take a DIY approach. This way you can experience local food in a different way, by preparing your own gourmet feast. In Nouméa it’s easy to shop for ingredients to prepare yourself, and to buy ready-made meals to heat and eat. And don’t forget dessert, with many delicious chocolatiers and patisseries to choose from.

There’s also ample opportunity to pack a delicious picnic to enjoy sprawled on a beach somewhere in the glorious sunshine.

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Noumea comes alive at night, especially the waterfront regions around Anse Vata Bay and the Baie des Citrons, with bars and nightclubs to suit all tastes. There is nothing better than unwinding in the warmth of the setting tropical sun, and then watching it rise again. Some of the hotspots include:

  • La Bodega Del Mar: The place to be when the sun goes down. Nestled in one of the world’s most beautiful bays, La Bodega del Mar is the ideal place to watch the sunset over Duck Island and enjoy the best live bands of New Caledonia
  • L’Endroit: One of the city’s most popular bars and tapas restaurant, L’Endroit is a great place to start the night or dance the night away
  • Les 3 Brasseurs: The place to head for a pre-dinner drink overlooking the beautiful Baie des Citrons