Wednesday, September 12, 2007

eating & buying local...well sort of...

In New Caledonia, there was a lot of opportunity to have seafood. Vegetables we found out were very expensive, so most times you only have a little veggie as garnish.

This ceviche at Ilot Maitre had raw shrimp, pineapple, tomato and passion fruit, Satoshi really liked this.

Vine ripened tomatoes at the local market looked gorgeous, I'm not sure if 530 XPF per kilo (about 768 yen or US $6.67), is expensive or reasonaable, since I don't usually buy in bulk it seemed kind of expensive.

Shrimp is plentiful and I found out that they trade them with Tahiti for their black pearls. If you want to buy black pearls, you probably will get a better buy in New Caledonia because they get them cheap (the jewelers pay no tax because of the trade)! This dish was delicious, shrimp fried in a light batter on a bed of shredded lettuce, julienned carrots and cucumbers with a chimchurri sauce--we ate this twice on Ilot Maitre.

And look how big this papaya was.

We paid 960 XPF for this salad (about 1391 yen or US $12) at George's Traiteur, it was a nice change from eating panini or filled baguette sandwiches.

Satoshi's friend who lives in Noumea sent us this basket of tropical fruits while at Ilot Maitre. (Thank you!)

A popular dessert in New Caledonia is creme brulee, this one wasn't too sweet, but look at the amount--three demitasse cups! (and I ate it all by myself...hee hee)

Crayfish salad. I would be scared to see this crayfish in the river--it was huge!

Cafe Lola is the local coffee and is grown by a Japanese who started a coffee farm in the 90's on New Caledonia.

A delicious appetizer at L'hippocampe (Le Meridien Noumea)with cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomatoes, onions, a squeeze of lime topped with tobiko (flying fish eggs)--I wish they had served this with bread or toast.

Local jams made by Les Confiseries de Ninou. I discovered them at breakfast on Ilot Maitre and really enjoyed the Confiture de coco a la vanille (coconut with vanilla jam)--shredded coconut with flecks of vanilla, great on brioche and pancakes. I found them in Noumea and bought myself a large jar and bought the smaller sizes to give away, Gelee a Jamelon (black plum jelly), the coconut with vanilla and Confiture de Pomme-liane Papaye (passion fruit with papaya).

At the farmers market, I found this official checking out the fish.

Niaouli (melaleuca viridiflora) is used for medicinal purposes (I think we call this paperbark tree or bottle brush tree in Hawaii). When you break the leaf it smells like eucalyptus. The oils are used for cough syrup and antiseptics.

I bought some Niaouli bath salts from Pacifico Nature.

My best buy (or so I felt) was Lifou Vanilla (250 XPF for one pod--362 yen or US $3.15). There are 3 outer islands of New Caledonia called Loyalty island--Ouvea, Lifou and Mare. Look at the size of these vanilla pods!--the shriveled up one is one that I had at home, which I think I paid twice as much for. When you buy it from the morning market, the lady lets you stick your hand into a big glass jar and pick out the pods you want to buy! She also sold vanilla pods that were grown in Vanuatu for the same price. The vanilla really made my suitcase smell nice. (I hope it was okay for me to bring these back without going through agriculture, if not, pretend you didn't read this).

These chips were French, we found out afterwards that they have a local brand called "stone chips". The beer was definitely not local. New Caledonia imports the hops from France then sends them to Japan to brew and the beer was imported back to New Caledonia.

And what would a vacation be without chocolate! We found some local chocolatiers in Noumea.

Tonton Jules's palet d'or and almond bon bon--pricey goodness.

Chocolats Morand--ganache te (tea) noir and Noisette au lait--delicious. I was surprised that he specified the cacao percentage and where he gets his chocolate from on his bars as the other chocolatiers didn't.

Boulangerie Marais' mendiants--a delicious treat while window shopping.

George's Traiteur
Centre Ville 5 av du Mal Foch
Phone: 28.80.70

Tonton Jules
Ctre Ville 7 bis Rue du Gal Magnin
Phone: 27.39.49

Chocolats Morand
Quartier Latin 13 rue Eugene Porcheron
Phone: 27.31.77

Pacifico Nature
4 rue du Dr Lescour
Phone: 24.12.54

Les Confiseries de Ninou
Mont Dore
Phone: 41.19.22

Boulangerie Marais
Quartier Latin 21 rue Eugene Porcheron
Phone: 27.25.24

p.s. you can also find pasta, but be warned, New Caledonians like their pasta quite soft, so you may be disappointed.

Whew! that was a long post and a lot of food, there was also veal sweetbreads (a first try) and sarawak ice cream (spicy goodness!).

Since coming back to Osaka, we've had sushi and ramen! Baguettes and croissants are delicious, but you cannot beat rice!

I hope you enjoyed our adventure as much as we did!


Brilynn said...

The vanilla beans will be fun to use, they really do impart so much flavour!

K and S said...

I'm looking forwar to using them, Brilynn!

Thanks for stopping by and take care!


Rasa Malaysia said...

Wow, the crayfish in New Caledonia is HUGE, I thought it was a lobster. LOL. The crayfish here in the US is sooooo small. ;)

K and S said...

I know Rasa, we freaked when we saw this on our plate too.

Thanks for stopping by and take care!

Rowena said...

You!! Enjoyed reading up on your adventures but my favorite has got to be the Lifou Vanilla (again I repeat the first sentence...You Lucky Girl You).

I am so ready to travel to a seafood-rich place after reading this post.

K and S said...

Thanks Rowena, the day before we went to the market ourselves, we had gone with a tour. I spotted the vanilla in the jar and knew that that was what I wanted to buy. I hope you get to travel to eat some seafood soon.

Take care.

Anita said...

What a wonderful trip you had, Kat! Thanks for sharing!

K and S said...

You're welcome Anita, hope you had fun :)

Take care.

Anonymous said...

you new caledonia posts make us want to go there now! -bourgogne

K and S said...

I hope you get a chance to go there, Bourgogne. You're lucky because you can speak French :)

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm just interested on knowing what price has a vanilla bean in Tokyo (or somewhere in Japan) I'm from Mexico and I'm trying to make a school proyect about Export (Vanilla to Japan) ... of course it's just theory... thanks!

K and S said...

Hi Anon,

One pod in Japan is about 350 yen. I've also seen 10 pods for 2900 yen. Hope this helps your project.

Take care.