03 February 2017

Noumea - Self Catering at the Hilton and the YHA ~ New Caledonia

To get the most out of Noumea eating-wise it's best to get an apartment where you can cook with all the imported French goodies and fresh local produce that you can fill your bag with. You'll need fridge room for the wine and cheese and a spot to look out over the water at sunset. Aaah, this is the life.

Shawn's mum shouts the family to an apartment at the Hilton Promenade: kitchen, view, joy! We also stayed at the YHA on this trip, there's a bit of a contrast in our digs. But no matter what your budget you can cook up a storm.

Noumea isn't Paris, there isn't a boulangerie or charcuterie on every corner, but if you sniff around there's a lot of food treasure to uncover. This post shows you the range of what you can find in patisseries, boulangeries, supermarkets, chocolatiers and markets.

While only a small shop front, once you enter Noumea’s oldest bakery A La Vielle France, an ever eye widening cave of cake goodness is revealed.

Often the store is so busy only a few customers can fit in at a time, so you will need to be patient and wait for your turn. In the meanwhile you can try and sneak a peek at the macarons, eclairs, chouquettes, cakes, pre-made sandwiches, country style breads and large celebration gateaux. 


We love the tiny petit four sandwiches here, perfect for a picnic or a light lunch. Their over the top specialty is the ‘Caledonut’, a fried classic square doughnut filled with fresh cream.

A La Vielle France  is at 77 rue de Sebastopol in the Quartier Latin, Phone: +687 27 50 41

Street stands selling roast chicken (le poulet roti) brings a little bit of Paris market food to the tropics. Snack Hai Duong, right near Au P’tit Cafe, has hot freshly roasted chooks ready to take away and is a popular spot to grab one.

The roasting station is almost outside the small shed/store. The chickens are then packed into a foil bag and most magically of all, a ladle or two of onion gravy is poured over the chook in the bag creating an insanely addictive sauce.

The standard accompaniment is a packet of potato crisps and a fresh baguette, and believe us you don’t need much more. The standard eating location is down by the beach, spreading out the feast on a beach mat and digging in. Our only disappointment was they don’t have the chicken fat soaked potatoes at the bottom of the roasters a la Paris, but we will happily overlook that for another mouthful of that gravy covered chicken.

Snack Hai Duong is at 79 ave Marechal Foch (cnr ave des Freres Carcopino). Phone +687 75 95 27.

A large pastry store along Route de Port Despointes is the sister store of L’ Atelier Gourmand in Anse Vata. This branch has a much larger selection of cakes in one long pastry case.

You could go into a slight trance just staring at all the shiny colourful cakes, moving slowly along the case putting your choices into order. 

Just when you thought you had looked at all the cakes, you then need to work through the bread selections. 

There’s a small table and chair spot inside and a cheap DIY coffee machine for a caffeine hit, perfect if you just can’t wait to scoff your selections.

Le Paradis Gourmand is at 51 Route du Port Despointes, Faubourg Blanchot. Phone +687 23 83 10.

One of our favourite 'I'm so full I can't eat anymore' cures is a good fish soup, which the French do with some considerable skill even with a supermarket variety. These are usually in the fridge and are a thick tomatoey pink based broth that goes down well with just a fresh baguette and loads of butter.

The other side of the spectrum are Toulouse style sausages that mother buys from the butcher inside the Simply Supermarche and cooks in our apartment. We always think we're too full to eat one but they never fail to get wasted.

A distraction from the food. This is 'Henri Terrier'. He is Alison's favourite dog in Noumea. He's a bit shy, and patiently awaits her return each year.

Just down the road from Henri is Pains & Delices in Val Plaisance, a secret patisserie that only Shawn's Dad has ventured into. We like the very un-secret cakes he returns with.

We've also not ventured into Patisserie Candi at the top of Rte Anse Vata, there's always room for next time.

Thiriet is a frozen goods store, snapped cold and imported from France. Everything they sell is frozen, from bread, cubes of soup and sauces, herbs, vegetables, pre cooked meals through to desserts. We've got our eye on the vegetables here, they are expensive in Noumea so having a good supply is a find for the self caterer.

L’ Atelier Gourmand has fresh made baguettes (try the country style or ‘ancienne’ with a pointy end.) The ready to eat flammenkueche (a French/German cross border open flat savoury pastry similar to a pizza) is good, as well as the prefilled baguettes and panini. For sweets, the cream filled chouquettes are delicious and hard to stop at one. There’s an excellent range of cakes to take away for morning coffee on your balcony or back down by the bay, and a few seats inside where you can eat in.

L’ Atelier Gourmand is at 141 Route de l'Anse Vata. Phone +687 23 73 11

In the supermarches a favourite local product is the pickles (pickled lemons shown here). There's a number of varieties, they make a fine accompaniment to cheese, cold meats and a crisp baguette.

In Centreville we ventured into this alimentaire and ended up with some good local honey. Next door is a Kava bar which last time we came seems to have closed down.

An example of a feast, made possible by the fish markets, Hai Dong rôti poulet and some careful salad buying at the supermarche. The mud crabs we steamed at home in a large pot, well Shawn's Mum wonderfully did. We eat them without any extra flavourings, they are so sweet they shouldn't be adulterated with anything else. Salads can be bought pre-shredded which makes it easy to knock up a colourful plate and it all needs to be washed down with rosé and Number One beers.

Back over in the Quartier Latin Aux Delices du Noumea is a patisserie and boulanger. A large shopfront makes this bakery easy to find and to browse all of the breads and sweets on offer. We love the chouquettes here, tiny little balls of puff pastry coated in large hunks of sugar. There is a large range of breads and the large cake selections in the fridge are incredible. It’s open on Sunday morning, so perfect if you have been to Le Marche and need some bread and sweet cakes to go with your morning market purchases.

Aux Delices du Noumea is at 21 rue Eugene Porcheron. Phone +687 27 25 24 

This is a man is proud to be a chocolate maker. From the windows inside the Moana Arcade you can watch Monsieur Patrick Morand making his chocolates and confections, then go inside to buy either a bag of mixed treats (100g for 1090F) or the preprepared bags of chocolate treasures. Our favourite is the salted butter caramels (available as either lait (milk) or noir (dark) chocolate) and the Earl Grey Tea infused squares.

Pre packed bags of sweets to take back home.

Or just buy what you want by the weight. Try a few of the different grades and sources of chocolate on offer from across the world. 

There’s also a range of sweet treats from France and quality teas from the UK.

Sweet fruits syrups for crepes and desserts, even the crepes themselves in jar.

Fruits poached in rum.

Rose scented biscuits from Reims.

Chocolats Morand is at13 rue Eugene Porcheron (inside the Moana Centre). Phone +687 27 31 77.

You just can't help but meet friendly folk in Noumea.

Casino Johnston on the jetty front in Centreville is a cavernous space which also stocks books, homewares, clothes, shoes, fabrics, haberdashery and gardening and hardware goods. Especially handy store to replace something you might have forgotten, lost or broken on your travels.

The wine cave is also well stocked with French wines, champagnes and beers and a huge range of spirits, especially rum. 

The selection of rum from Martinique and the Caribbean is superb, brands you either can't find in Sydney or will set you back your parrot, wooden leg and your eye patch. We've found the Saint James brand in Carrefour in China, but not in Sydney. Maybe there's a fear of another Rum Rebellion if it all gets out of hand.

Aaargh, more rum me hearties!

Not a bad selection of champagnes, but don't expect them to be cheap.

You'll also find casks of the finest Australian wines, pure quality. And don't expect these to be cheap either!

If you miss the Port Moselle market the seafood selection here has some quality selections.

The fresh food section is huge, with butchers, cheese cut to order, a large bio (organic) range and frozen goods. 

There's a wide range of soft cheeses imported from France, you would have trouble finding these in Australia.

Some of the meat products are imported, including rillettes. Order what you need and they scoop it out of the ceramic bowls.

The base for desserts ready made in a carton. We're tempted just to buy this and drink it down neat.

This seafood loving town also loves sushi, preprepared packs ready to go.

Finally to tempt you, a jar of Dutch speculoos biscuits crushed in pieces with pear compote.

This store gets very busy, especially on Sunday when it closes at 12.30, so expect to queue.

We at B-Kyu only eat Chicken Greg's, the finest eggs. Chicken Greg is also a spunky chicken farmer, and he has a dog. Oh, and I bet he speaks French.. oh my.

Around the 'burbs we find lots of small businesses, we'd love to try these duck and foie gras products.

Opened in 1991 after the regular markets moved from Coconut Place (amongst other sites), the Port Moselle Marche a true locals market for farm produce, meat and seafood and a tourist market for souvenirs and take homes. It’s also a market for the early riser, don’t expect to see anything here after midday except a few lone cleaners and foraging seagulls. The blue roof of the market buildings are easy to spot at the start of Port Moselle.

One of the benefits of staying in an apartment, or at least a room with a small kitchenette, is being able to take advantage of buying your own food to cook and eat at home. The quality of the seafood here is excellent, when the mud crabs are available they are our favourite and the price is fair. 

Parrot fish (le parroquette) are colourful as well as tasty. The most popular fish is tuna (thon), prepared every way ready to cook or as a plate of fresh sashimi you can buy ready to eat.

Apart from the crabs, the local prawns are worth a try if available, most get exported so they can be harder to find and a little expensive.

Fruit and vegetables are not easily grown in New Caledonia due to the quality of the soil and imported produce is usually stocked in the supermarkets. We’ve found the local goods sold at this market to be better than the supermarket stock (not really a surprise) and often cheaper. The local papaya is sweet and makes an excellent dessert with a dollop of coconut ice cream or a spoonful of fresh passionfruit.

Le Marche du Noumea is at 50 bis rue Georges Clemenceau. Open early until about 11.00, Tues to Sun. Closed Mon (except public holidays and in December)

The supermarche holds more splendours, in particular our most local market the Simply Michel Ange. Frozen cakes, tarts and patisserie delights are available if you can't get to one of the many real stores (they're not that hard to find!)

A favourite for a light dinner are these pre sliced and diced tuna and salmon packs, as well as salmon rillette. Tuna chopped and served raw with soy, coconut or with mayonnaise is a perpetual favourite and on most menus in Noumea.

The boucherie is in store here, you can order your cut as you like or buy the ready prepared meat. It's refreshing to see it just like a store front and not wrapped in a plastic tray.

You can stock up on foie gras to bring back to Australia. It's OK tinned, but make sure you pack it in your checked luggage as it could be confiscated in your hand luggage.

Near the Simply is Le Pavillon Des Vins, a handy spot for quality wines and spirits.

Further down the road is our favourite boulangerie, Le Mitron 2. From the outside, the stacks of chopped wood lining the walls are a giveaway of what’s cooking inside. A heavy iron door holds in the flames of a wood fired oven that makes all the magical difference in the bread here. 

From larger loaves to small and pointy ‘l’ancienne’ baguettes, we’ve never had a bad loaf from here. 

As well as bread, the cake selections are wide, colourful and sweet and it is worth a stop to grab something for dessert or afternoon tea or to have a quick treat after shopping at the supermarche.

Closer to Baie des Citrons is The Bakers, a good quick cake and bread pitstop.

After the Hilton in Anse Vata, we've gone done the chain in accommodation and also stayed at the Auberge de Jeunesse, the youth hostel at the top of the hill in Centreville. They had the most ingenious food storage system, a walk in fridge with separate locked cages for each room. No claims of your food getting stolen here.

You can fill your bucket with all the cheese and chocolate you desire.

First you need to carry it up the hill and the steep stairway that leads to the hostel. It's a killer.

Then it's a short walk down a roadway, where the hostel lies at the bottom of the street just to the left.

Once settled though, the killer walk turns into a killer view.

Not too shabby a view for a rest on the balcony. The digs themselves are pretty spartan.

We dream of staying in these retro looking cabins one time, they're right at the top of Baie des Citrons and look a treat.

There's so much more food than just the hotel restaurants in Noumea, it's easy to find and very easy to eat. Buses take you around to all the key areas, most are walkable and there's simply no excuse to put up with a less than fresh baguette. Being able to self cater is one of the key reasons we keep on coming back, we could just spend a week eating food from the markets and supermarches, it's that good. Try some French, try some local, try it all.


  1. Thanks thats more wonderful help. My wife and I visited last year and are going back this year. Stayed at the Hilton and ended up sitting on the balcony eating french bread and cheese from the markets with local beers and french Rose most evenings watching the sun go down. We had plans to cook too but found the Caesar Salad from the Ulysses snack just down the road fed two of us for a light meal which was all we needed after good lunches and plenty of that cheese. Au Petit Cafe was superb and also enjoyed a great lunch at a brassiere at the Marina. You site was very helpful. Cheers

    1. So glad we could help. We are heading back in three weeks time and will be doing exactly what you did. We're also putting together a more comprehensive guide as an e-book, perhaps it will be ready before you go again. Bon voyage!


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).