Yummy Sunny Vanuatu

Coconuts © John NichollsThink of fine dining and French cuisine often springs to mind, with its classic elegance and rich sauces, but the beautiful island nation of Vanuatu can give Paris a run for its money when it comes to all things gourmet. Thanks to a mouth-watering blend of French, Melanesian and Pacific Island cuisines, this South Pacific nation boasts some superb wine and food offerings.

Vanuatu’s cosmopolitan capital of Port Vila is fast earning a reputation as the Gourmet Capital of the Plating Up © Poppys on the LagoonSouth Pacific – and that means you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out in style. In Port Vila alone, there are some 70 eateries offering everything from succulent Santo beef steaks and French-style snails to traditional delicacies such as coconut crab served with chilli, garlic, coconut or curry sauces.

For those who want to try the local specialties, these include nautou (ground pigeon), escargots (snails), rousette (flying fox or fruit bat), Au Peche Mignon, Pastries © Poppys on the Lagooncrevettes (prawns), poulet or chicken fish, mangrove oysters and nems (spring rolls). El Gecko Lounge  is a favourite with a French-style menu that includes rich delicacies such as pan-fried foie gras, magnet of duck, king prawns, prime rib beef and fresh seasonal produce, or head to local French institution, L’Houstalet, where flying fox, snails and coconut crab are on the menu alongside traditional French desserts.

Local delis, bakeries and butchers offer a range of Traditional Food, Port Vila Harboursidegourmet delights including organic beef, hot crusty baguette, Moet Champagne and locally caught house-smoked marlin, while coffee addicts will have plenty of choices to kick-start their day. Try the divine pastries at Au Peche Mignon or watch the world go by over a cup of the locally grown and roasted Tanna Coffee. If you’re visiting in November, you can get your caffeine fix in seriously good company, as that’s when the competition hots up for Port Vila’s annual Barista Competition.

Elizabeth Sam, winner of the Vanuatu Barista National Championships 2007 © Poppys on the LagoonAnd if you’d like to get your teeth into something uniquely local, then head along to one of the traditional Melanesian Feast nights. Many of the larger hotels and resorts run a feast night and it’s a great opportunity to sample the local culture along with dancing and traditional foods.

Getting There
Vanuatu’s international airline, Air Vanuatu, operates flights from Auckland, phone (678) 23 878, email sales@airvanutau.com.vu, web www.airvanuatu.com

Vanuatu Visitor GuideVanuatu Visitor MapHandy Information