“Snack Centralma”- a Vietnamese restaurant in New Caledonia

(VOVworld) – Do you love food and always want to try new dishes? If your answer is yes, join me today for a visit to “Snack Centralma” restaurant in New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the Pacific, which is serving the best of Vietnamese cuisine. I’ve decided to omit my diet for one day for this experience. What else to wait for? Here we go!

It takes me a whole morning to wander around Noumea, the capital city of New Caledonia, to find a gift for my hubby. The shopping really makes me hungry. Wow! You cannot guess where I am now. A hint for you! I’m standing in front of a favorite restaurant right at the heart of the city. Hey, don’t talk to me anymore about diet. I’m stepping in…

Unfortunately, “Snack Centralma” is full. I have no other way than standing and looking at others dining while my stomach were gurgling. Cannot waste my time here. I will walk around to hear diners’ reviews of this restaurant.

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"Snack Centralma" restaurant is full. (Photo: VOV)

 “I love rice noodle with beef and shrimp curry. The daily menu is great. The ingredients are fresh and taste very good.”

 “I love this restaurant for its easy accessible location.”

 “I love rice noodle with beef and beef rattles the most. They are very delicious.”

 “My favorite dishes are shrimp salad, spring rolls, and fish paste. Very tasty.”

 “I’ve been here for years. I have both Vietnamese and French dish. The restaurant serves very good food at reasonable price.”

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Octopus salad at "Snack Centralma" (Photo: VOV)

Bon Appettite, my friends! I cannot wait anymore to order. Rice noodle with beef (“bun bo”), beef rattles, spring rolls, and fish pastes. They may sound new to those living in New Caledonia but not to a Hanoian like me. Such unfamiliarity make diners fascinated about this restaurant, according to Thuy and Huyen, two owners and chefs at “Snack Centralma”. Thuy says: “People here love Vietnamese food and try all the dishes in the menu: fried spinach with garlic, shrimp sauce, and pork organ congee. Many of the customers are descendants of poor Vietnamese laborers who came here in the 20th century. The Vietnamese food here reminds these customers of their parents”.

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Thuy, Huyen, waiters, and waitresses at "Snack Centralma" (Photo: VOV)

I’m standing at the kitchen, a favor that Thuy and Huyen give me. Rice noodle, some slices of beef, shrimps, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, sweet and sour sauce, roasted nuts, and fried onion. No one can resist such a fragrant and eye-catching dish of “bun bo”. Thuy again: “Many customers come to my restaurant again and again just to have only “bun bo” though I want to introduce them more of Vietnamese food. This dish at “Snack Centralma” is listed in tour guide books of French and Japanese tourists. They order “bun bo” right after they arrive at the restaurant”.

On the menu is “bun bo special” – a bowl of “bun bo” with spring roll, another favorite dish here. As many as 300 spring rolls are sold each day at “Snack Centralma”. Thuy elaborates: “Vietnamese normally make spring roll filling with pork but here we replace it with chicken to make spring rolls softer and lower the cost while remaining their traditional taste. No country in the world consumes more spring rolls than New Caledonia. Local people have invented new ways of enjoying spring rolls: with breads or with coffee”.

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"Bun bo special" is served at "Snack Centralma". (Photo: VOV)

There is a special treat from “Snack Centralma” on Saturday, the only day in a week that the restaurant serves rice noodle, fried tofu, and shrimp sauce, placed on green bamboo leaves on a bamboo tray. The colorful tray delights diners with white of rice noodle, yellow of crispy fried tofu, purple of shrimp sauce, and green of fresh herb. Thuy tells us: “Rice noodle, fried tofu, and shrimp sauce are offered only Saturday when my loyal customers often take all their families here to enjoy Vietnamese food. Many of them don’t bother a great amount of driving time to get here which makes us very happy”.

For desserts, “Snack Centralma” offers “café gourmand”, a combination of coffee, cakes, and seasonal fruits or smoothies. Thuy explains: “Most of restaurants here offer pure juices but I want something different. “Snack Centralma” makes smoothies of avocados or custard-apples, which are unfamiliar to New Caledonian citizens, mixed with condensed milk or fresh milk. Such drinks are loved by customers”.

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"Snack Centralma"offers "cafe gourmand".(Photo: VOV)

Anything else about “Snack Centralma” that I haven’t told you? Ah, its address is No.18, Georges-Clemenceau Street, Noumea city. You should come earlier than meal time to avoid waiting.


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