Once heavily grounded in its British colonial roots, New Zealand cuisine is growing up and becoming big news in the world foodie scene. Blending native Māori and European influences, New Zealand’s food is a showcase in how to put your amazing local produce centre stage. With a thriving café culture in many of the major cities, a strong tradition of indigenous cooking styles, and an outstanding wine scene, there really is no shortage of delicious things to try during a trip to New Zealand.
This being said, sometimes it is the simple things in life that give you the most pleasure and this is definitely true of the unique treats the local kids are raised on. From astonishing fizzy pop flavours to outstanding seafood you won’t find anywhere else in the world, this guide shows you all the things you can’t miss out on during your trip if you want to get a proper taste of New Zealand.
The sheer number of sheep in New Zealand is astonishing – six for every one person. It’s not an exaggeration to say that NZ has a lot of sheep. This translates to New Zealand having some of the best lamb in the world and you won’t find it much fresher or cheaper anywhere else. You’ll find it on almost every menu (really, they even do it in Subway), in a variety of cuts, cooked in every way you can imagine. Whether you prefer lamb chops, lamb shank, lamb rack, or even lamb burgers; you’ll be able to find it in NZ and it’s likely to be the best you’ve ever tasted.
Hokey Pokey Ice Cream
Loved by local kids and adults alike, Hokey Pokey ice cream is a New Zealand institution you just have to try. If you ask a NZ native what it is, they’ll look at you like you’re mad, so we’ll explain this delicious sweet treat for you. Hokey Pokey is a spectacular taste sensation of creamy vanilla ice cream, laced with chunky bits of honeycomb toffee to crunch through. It has unrivalled healing power for anything from a stubbed toe to a broken heart, and it’s an absolute must-try on your trip to New Zealand. Be warned, plain vanilla will never quite cut it ever again.
L&P Fizzy Drink
L&P is another treat that is grounded in nostalgia for many New Zealand natives. The initials stand for Lemon and Paeroa, although the latter refers to the small town where it was first made rather than a bizarre ingredient. The mineral water in Paeroa has a high magnesium bicarbonate content and was combined with lemon to give this drink its distinctive taste. These days, it is manufactured en masse by Coca-Cola, but it retains its unique fizz of bitter lemon flavours. It’s the perfect beverage for swilling down most of New Zealand’s culinary treasures, but it’s particularly good at cutting through the loveliness of fish and chips.
Green Lipped Mussels
Green lipped mussels are native to New Zealand, so although you can find them on fancy restaurant menus in other parts of the world, you’ll never get to try them fresh from the ocean anywhere else. If you’ve only ever had regular mussels you won’t be able to believe the size of these huge, delicious crustaceans. Like other types of mussel, they’re definitely best cooked in a white wine sauce and eaten with a great deal of mess. You’ll find mussel pots on plenty of menus, with some places even doing special offers on certain days of the week. Wherever you try them, be sure to have plenty of crusty bread or a big bowl of fries to dip in the sauce afterwards!
The Delights of Fergburger
Fergburger is an eatery rather than an actual food, but it’s just too good not to make it on to the list. This heavenly Queenstown establishment serves up enormous burgers that are not for the faint of heart. Unlike many supersize burgers, these are as delicious as they are novel, with an exciting menu of tasty flavour combinations. Try the Mr Big Stuff burger or Little Lamby if you’re a dedicated carnivore. If you’re not, it’s all about the dangerously named Bun Laden, which combines falafel, lemon yoghurt, and chipotle chilli sauce to create veggie heaven. It’s no surprise Fergburger is famous worldwide for serving the best burgers in New Zealand.
Hangi is a traditional method of cooking honed by New Zealand’s indigenous Māori people. Trying food that has been cooked in a hangi oven is essential while you’re visiting the country, not just because it’s educational, but because it tastes delicious too! Hot stones are placed in a pit and topped with food wrapped in tin foil, which is all then buried for several hours to cook. The result is delicious, melt in your mouth, smoky and flavourful food. You won’t find this type of food on a restaurant menu, but lots of Māori cultural experiences offer the chance to try food cooked in this way.
New Zealand’s thriving café culture is built on the back of outstanding coffee and there’s no better way to try it than in New Zealand’s signature form: the flat white. A single or double shot of espresso is topped with a little bit of flat, foamy milk to create this delicious drink that is designed to showcase the flavours of the coffee. Order one in a trendy, independent coffee shop to appreciate coffee like a true New Zealander.
You might not get the chance to try this Māori delicacy during your stay, but you if you do you definitely should. These huge beetles look like giant maggots and can be found in the crevices of rotten wood. Don’t sound delicious yet? Find one when you’re out walking and you’ll discover what all the hype is about: they taste like peanut butter.
New Zealand Wine
Of course, you can’t visit New Zealand without trying a bottle (or two!) of their world-renowned wine. You can find great wineries all over the country, but some of the best are definitely in Marlborough, which is the sunniest and driest region. We recommend going for a Sauvignon Blanc, which some critics are starting to call the best in the world.
If this list of delicious foods and drinks has got you excited to visit New Zealand and try them all, why not book a deal on one of Cruise1st Australia’s amazing New Zealand cruises? Browse the full collection online or call our friendly sales team on 1300 857 345.