While New Zealand may be Australia’s neighbour to the south, the cultures, history and cuisine of the two countries are completely separate. If you ever make your way to New Zealand for a holiday, or for business, there’s a laundry list a mile long of amazing attractions to see and try. But, after doing all of those activities, you’re bound to get hungry. So, what are you going to eat while in New Zealand? Luckily the country has a number of delicious meals and snacks for you to try when your stomach starts growling. Traditionally, New Zealand cuisine has a mix of native Maori and European influences and when you head to larger cities like Wellington and Auckland, you’ll find a bigger Asian influence in the dishes. Satiate your stomach with Cover-More’s guide to food from New Zealand.
A meal that may be associated with England more than New Zealand, fish and chips (or “fush n chups” as many Kiwis pronounce it) is immensely popular in New Zealand. It’s a quintessential meal for Fridays, weekends or just any day you don’t feel like making a meal. Generally the fish that is served will change according to what was caught and what’s available like Hoki, Gunard or Blue Cod. It’s cheap, fresh and greasy, and it’s guaranteed that nothing will taste better on the beach or during a picnic.
If you’re wandering around New Zealand and feel your sweet tooth kicking in, opt for Hokey Pokey ice cream. You can find Hokey Pokey ice cream at almost any corner store for as little as $2. This sweet treat is a great example of Kiwiana, or iconic, New Zealand elements. Essentially Hokey Pokey is vanilla ice cream with bits of sponge toffee mixed into it. With a crunchy, butterscotch flavour, it’s a hard to resist treat. The flavour is also used in candy bars, so if you ever see one with “Hokey Pokey” flavouring, you’ll know what that means.
New Zealand unequivocally produces the best lamb in the world and the meat from this country is exported around the world. Still, you won’t get the best flavour until you try the lamb in New Zealand. It is a more expensive dish, though it is absolutely worth the cost to try. If it’s warm out when you’re trying it, go for grilled rack of lamb or for lamb chops. When it gets colder outside, try roasted lamb or lamb stew.
L&P pairs perfectly with the “fush n chups” and its short for Lemon and Paeroa. The drink has been brewed in New Zealand for decades and the taste is next to impossible to describe accurately. While there is a lemon flavour to the drink, there isn’t a flavour for Paeroa—that’s the town where L&P is made! The mineral water has a high magnesium bicarbonate content that lends itself to a unique taste. To truly understand what the buzz is about, you’ll just have to snag an L&P for yourself.
Hangi is a traditional Maori method of cooking. Hot stones come out of the fire and are placed in a pit. The food is then placed on tin foil and buried for several hours, to cook. This allows meat and vegetables to slow cook in the hangi to create a sinfully tender and delicious meal. Restaurants won’t offer this meal though so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for cultural events where you can participate in a traditional hangi meal.
If you are fan of seafood, the very first big meal you should have is a heaping bowl of New Zealand green-lipped mussels. They’re bigger, fatter and juicier than the mussels you’ll find around the world and they’re always going to be fresh. They have a mildly fishy flavour to them and you’ll see them as an option on almost every pub and cafe menu. Often served with crusty bread and a warm, creamy white wine sauce, mussels are a delicious New Zealand tradition.
Try something new and taste the unique flavours available in New Zealand. Seafood, fresh fruit, dairy products and meat are what New Zealand does best and while it’s always important to be aware of what you’re eating, when you’re travelling it’s even more important. Consider choosing travel health insurance to add an extra layer of protection during your holiday. From farmer’s markets to cafes and fine dining, New Zealand constantly delivers delicious meals. Having cover can make your trip even tastier.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Sarah Stewart.