Subject: 'French Polynesia Report by Emilc'
Posted by emilc on: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 12:23 PM PST
I just returned from a trip to French Polynesia (June/July 2011) and would like to report the following:
Yes, it is true that it's hard finding vegan options in FP, but I have found that most restaurants were accommodating. There are no pure vegetarian or vegan restaurants, sadly. This is mostly due to the influence of the French diet, as well as the fact that the restaurant industry caters mostly to tourists, many of whom come from countries with meat-heavy diets, such as the US. In general, most places offer pasta or pizza dishes. In such cases, you can request no cheese or butter. Substitute butter sauces for tomato-based ones. Also, salads are available, but most come with some kind of meat. Again, request that it be left off. I had no problems adjusting menu items to exclude any kind of dairy or egg. You can also use the allergy line, if necessary ("I'm allergic to milk and egg products.") So, you don't necessarily have to survive on baguettes and lettuce to survive in FP! Specifically here is my personal experience:
* Stayed at the Hilton Moorea Resort. Their restaurants feature numerous vegetarian options, especially pastas and salads. An arrabiatta pasta was one option, as an example. At their crepe bar, I asked for no cheese in my veggie crepe, and the chef obliged, and added more veggies to my crepe. Breakfast buffet has plenty of fresh fruit and pickled veggies, breads and jams. Not worth paying the ~$50 for the breakfast buffet, though.
* Ate at Les Tipaniers restaurant. Numerous vegetarian options on menu, especially pastas. Request "no cheese."
* Supermarket in Pao Pao (on water side, right by bridge) stocks soy milk and other products that are vegan, including produce.
* The restaurants at the InterContinental resorts, which I stayed at, have some veggie options on their menus, but not many. Again, insist on no cheese or butter, and pasta dishes should be fine.
* Le Bounty restaurant offered some veggie pasta and pizza dishes. I got a veggie and tomato pasta one time, and a veggie pizza with no cheese another time. Food was good and the waitress was friendly and accommodating with requests.
* La Villa Mahana--the "fanciest" restaurant, apparently. I have mixed reviews, to be honest. I e-mailed the chef a month in advance, told him I am pure vegetarian (no meat, no fish, no dairy, no eggs). He said "no problem," so I made reservations. Once I arrived, however, the staff and chef seemed a bit confused and almost bewildered, asking "so, no butter?", then, "so, no milk?" After confirming, and explaining my situation, the chef created some vegan dishes for me. They were good, but nothing spectacular. Lots of meat meat meat at this place. And super expensive. I'd say it's a "no" for me.
* Supermarket in Vaitape town has some produce. Not a huge selection, though.
* More options here. Many large supermarkets, including Carrefour, which have TONS of produce and vegan options
* Food trucks ("les roulottes") line up in front of teh cruise ship terminal in Papeete, starting at about 6 pm. Lots of vegetarian options in most places, and good prices. Just be sure to specify "no butter or eggs."
* Hotels tend to have some vegetarian options on menu. Just mention the usual "no butter, dairy or eggs, please."
In summary, go for the fresh tropical fruits when you can. And specify your dietary needs: most places will be happy to accommodate. This is certainly no vegan paradise, but not a vegan hell, either. Hope this was helpful.
Subject: 'French Speaking but Not Vegetarian Friendly'
Posted by Chia on: Saturday, September 16, 2006 at 09:17 AM PST
Was just in Tahiti and Moorea islands September 2006 and was disappointed to find ZERO vegetarian restaurant or health food stores. Most restaurants serve only seafood and meat dishes and very littel or no vegetable dishes except a ovo-lacto salad or two. Best advice is to bring your own foods!