Although Tahiti has a lot of restaurants offering a very varied cuisine, a trip to Tahiti would be incomplete without a visit to the "roulottes" and I have made it a rule that every friend who visits me here eats at the roulottes at least once as I believe that they offer one of the most authentic experiences that visitors can get in Tahiti.
@ Ty Sawyer / Tahiti Tourisme
These mobile dinners set up shop on the Vaiete square in Papeete everyday around 6pm. When I was a child, not a week would go by without the weekly visit to the roulottes. Set on the waterfront of Papeete, these colorful open-sided food-vans offer the perfect Papeete by night tahitian experience. Families, friends and tourists all gather at the roulottes at night to enjoy a meal in the convivial atmosphere of the roulottes.
As you arrive, take in the smells: grilled meat and caramel. Mmmmmhhhhhh, this is only a prelude to a wonderful meal. The beauty is that you can choose almost anything from French cuisine to chinese, italian or Tahitian, or maybe a mix of all of the above. You can eat there every night and never eat the same, so select your roulotte according to what you feel like eating: barbecued steak with hot chips (don't forget the sauce and butter), grilled fish, with Russian potato salad, poisson cru au lait de coco (raw fish in coconut milk, the traditional dish in Tahiti), pizza, crepes, chinese delicacies, etc. Your imagination is the limit. Each roulotte has its specialty.
My personal favorites when going to the roulottes: Steak with hot fries with butter & sauce followed by a nutella and peanut butter crepe! For a light dinner, I will have the poisson cru or some nice sashimi.
@ Parazit photography
A dish at the roulottes will cost you around 1200 pacific francs (about 10 USD).
All that is left to say is: Tamaa' matai! Bon appétit!
I was glad to share my love for the roulottes with my friend Andrew Evans who wrote a great article on his experience. Please read it!