Amazing Dishes You Must Try in New Caledonia


We need a couple of things to survive, air, food and water, shelter, and plenty more things. However, on this so-called list, we tend to give food the most attention, simply because it can be the tastiest, although water and drinks in general have become a lot more sophisticated in the last century.

Every country and region has its own cuisine which is often in close relation to the tradition and history of that region and the people that live there. What if you wanted to visit an exotic place such as New Caledonia? What kind of cuisine could you expect to try there? Here are some must-try dishes when visiting New Caledonia.


As traditional dishes go, bougna is probably at the top of the list. Bougna is a traditional dish in the Melanesian islands, so there will be a lot of variety as to how the dish is prepared and what ingredients it has.

Traditionally, the ingredients are yam, banana, sweet potato, taro, chicken, prawn, lobsters, fish or crabs, which would be then covered in coconut oil and wrapped in banana leaves. The whole thing is then baked in a ground oven, over hot rocks. There is a tradition of making bougna, so if you stay with the Kanak people, you will likely be invited to participate in the making and eating of the said dish.

Take note that the diversity between how the dish is made means that there will be other types of meat, sometimes, the pteropus, or the flying fox.

Florent Foissac, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Bat Stew – Civet de Rousette

This is another traditional dish of the Kanak people. This might not sound appealing to tourists, but New Caledonia goes at it from a more approachable angle.

The bats are furless, and their meat is marinated in red wine and of course, roasted. The stew tends to have a variety of flavors, depending on the bat in question and what they ate. Bats like eating fruit, so the fruit is often left inside the bat, to make the flavor better. It is a dish for the brave, that is for sure.

Isle of Pine Snails

The Isle of Pine is home to very large indigenous snails, which reside within the island’s pine forests. The main island of New Caledonia often does not get as many snails as people would like, nor for the price that they would like.

Consider visiting the Isle of Pine if you want a traditional French escargot experience. The snails are prepared traditionally, with garlic and wine. There are always variations, but this is what you can find in most restaurants.

New Caledonia has amazing cuisine and these are the dishes to try when you visit.

Last modified: 14 January 2022

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