Fresh, diverse and delicious, Kiwis love their food. While you’re in New Zealand, seek out a few of the following quintessential Kiwi foods and drinks.
1. Crayfish and seafood
With more than 14,000 kilometres of coastline, it's no wonder New Zealand is home to some of the bestseafood in the world. Known for it's amazing crayfish, the small town of Kaikōura has ‘seafood caravans’ dotted along the coast. The most famous is Nin’s Bin(opens in new window), which is operated by a local family who have been selling crayfish there since 1977. Creamy green-lipped mussels can be found in Marlborough, especially in Havelock. And Mount Cook is known for delicious king salmon.
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2. New Zealand lamb
Succulent and tender, roast lamb is a favourite for Kiwi's. New Zealand lamb(opens in new window) is held in high esteem throughout the world and is one of the country’s top export meats. Best enjoyed flavoured with rosemary and served alongside plenty of seasonal roasted vegetables, roast lamb is a meal that is sure to impress. You'll find it featured on the menus of our best restaurants nationwide.
3. Hāngī - food cooked under the ground
The Māori hāngī is a traditional earth oven style of cooking. Now saved mainly for special occasions, foods cooked in a hāngī include chicken, pork and mutton, as well as pumpkin, potato and kumara (sweet potato). One of the best places to enjoy this cultural feast is Rotorua, in the central North Island, where you can also taste food that has been steam-cooked in naturally heated geothermal pools. You might also get to savour a delicious hāngī-steamed pudding for dessert.
4. Fish and chips
Best enjoyed while sitting by the beach on a balmy summer evening, fish and chips(opens in new window) are a Kiwi favourite. Consisting of fresh fish, coated in a crispy batter then deep fried, along with a generous serving of hot chips. You can find fish and chips in almost every town in New Zealand. This take-away meal is usually accompanied by fresh white bread and tomato sauce. You'll find fish and chips on most restaurant menus too, usually served with seasonal salad.
5. New Zealand wine, beer and other drinks
In terms of wine, New Zealand punches above its weight. Enjoy full-bodied pinot noir, light and fruity sauvignon blanc and the deep, peppery flavours of a New Zealand syrah. Craft beer breweries are gaining popularity, as are cideries. Created in 1907, Lemon & Paeroa (better known as L&P) is a non-alcoholic soft drink made from lemon and carbonated water, the name stems from originally being created in the town of Paeroa. Feijoa juices, healthy kombucha creations and other fruit drinks(opens in new window) can be found in shop fridges throughout the country.
6. Kiwi summer BBQ
Call it a ‘barbie’, barbeque, barbecue or BBQ – the act of cooking outside is an essential part of Kiwi culture. Lamb, beef, sausages and poultry are usually barbecued at home in the backyard during the summer months. Potato salad, garlic bread and fresh vegetable salads are also prepared. Then, family and friends come together to enjoy the the meal together outside on the deck. To experience a Kiwi BBQ in style, take the Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ in Queenstown.
7. New Zealand pavlova and fruit salad
Kiwis are passionate about good ice-cream, be sure to try hokey pokey(opens in new window) (creamy vanilla ice cream with tiny balls of crunchy honeycomb). New Zealanders also love pavlova. A meringue-based dessert that’s topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, pavlova is a permanent fixture at the Christmas table. For something a bit healthier, try some New Zealand stone fruit or a fruit salad featuring delicious kiwifruit, feijoas and passionfruit(opens in new window).
8. New Zealand lollies, chocolate and sweet treats
Ask any New Zealander what their favourite chocolate is and the answer will likely be, Whittaker's chocolate(opens in new window) - Whittaker's peanut slabs, creamy caramel and jelly tip chocolate are just some favourites, keep an eye out for new creations! Individually wrapped, the Cookie Time Cookie(opens in new window) is a range of different sized biscuits with flavours such as triple chocolate, gingernut and macadamia and white chocolate. Pineapple Lumps and Jaffa's are other favourite New Zealand lollies (sweets or candy).