8 things you must eat in Reunion Island
I think the title is pretty clear on that one, here's a list of eight (edible) things you don't want to sleep on when coming to Reunion Island !
1 - Bouchons
Bouchons are steamed bites, usually made with a pork or chicken filling. My favorites are the pork combava bouchons, they're so good. Eat them with siave (local name for soy sauce), chinese chili paste and mayo.
Don't miss the chance to eat a "pain bouchon" at Barachois, Saint-Denis. It's a sandwich with bouchons inside, your favorite sauce and some cheese. If you're hungry, try the "americain bouchon" which is the same thing but they add fries inside too.
2 - Bonbons piments (chili candy)
They're little fried bites made from cape beans and chili. They're eaten as an appetizer or just as a snack throughout the day.
You'll usually find them on the same stalls as samoussas at the market.
3 - Caris and rougails
Chicken, pork with potatoes, sausages, smoked meat and eggplant... There's something for everyone ! Stop at a small take-out place to buy a "barquette" (a take away container) like the locals and eat it on the beach.
If you're scared of spicy food, you can say it and they won't add any chili paste but it's so much better with a little bit of it so you can try for a 100% authentic experience !
A few useful words :
Boucané : smoked meat, often pork or chicken.
Bringelle : eggplant
Zourite : octopus
Sarcive : inspired by the chinese char siu, it's pork or chicken roasted and glazed with a honey sauce.
4 - Samoussas
Very different from indian samoussas, these ones are usually filled with caris or cheese and it's delicious. There are food stalls selling them pretty much everywhere and you can also find them on farmers' markets.
A touristy (sort of) place but the samoussas are delicious : Chez Loulou in Saint-Gilles.
5 - Achards
Reunion Island achards are made with marinated or confits veggies. They're usually marinated in vinegar, salt or lemon, chili and turmeric. Veggies can be carrots, cabbage, green beans or chayote, papaya, heart of palms.
Achards are served as a side dish or as a starter. They can also be put in sandwiches.
My favorite : the dakatine/achards sandwich. So good !
6 - Fruits
It's common sense but if you're there during summer (December to April), eat fruits every day for every meal ! Go to the farmers' markets, buy letchis, pineapples, mangoes... Have fun ! They're cheap and so so yummy.
If you're visiting the island in July/August, there's less fruits to enjoy but there still will be avocados, passion fruits, bananas, papayas... Don't sleep on them.
7 - Bichiques
Bichiques are Reunion Island caviar, they're small fry that they eat in cari.
A dish of choice, not cheap but delicious. You'll find them in some restaurants during the season.
If you're visiting in October, don't miss the bichique festival on the east coast.
8 - Wasps larvae
If you're adventurous and like to try unusual things, this one is for you ! Wasps larvae are eating fried or in cari, it's a very expensive meal. It's worth a try !
I think it kinda tastes like hazelnuts and cheese...! Not bad. I'll put a link to the recipe below.