Fly, drive, walk, bus, train, ferry – all ways to travel around a country such as New Zealand. While we strongly recommend driving as the best form of transport (winky face) we can also strongly recommend…eating your way around.
Aotearoa is home not only to a considerable amount of sheep, epic scenery and great rental cars (another winky face) – but also to some of the freshest and tastiest produce and locally-made products you could ask for.
So before you ask, here is our pick of the must-try Kiwi cuisine for you to tickle your tastebuds while in the land of the long white cloud.
Potentially the most divisive of edibles to come from Kiwi kitchens, at least one finger dip of the black stuff must be tried on your trip here. Salty? Kinda. Yeasty? Also kinda. It’s hard to explain, but spread some on buttered Vogels and judge it for yourself.
Imagine all the components of your meal neatly packaged into a pasty casing, and you are picturing the ultimate Kiwi classic. While the golden pastry should always be hot and crunchy, the fillings can vary from the classic mince, to more adventurous combinations including but not limited to: Pork belly, bacon and egg, steak and cheese, vegetarian, vegan Mexican, salmon, curry, leek and blue cheese, butter chicken, Moroccan lamb, and the list continues.
You will see Kiwi munching on these morning, noon and night – and we agree the best time of day for a pie is any time.
Don’t listen to anyone from Australia, this is a bona fide Kiwi creation. Whipped, fluffy and sweet – these giant misshapen meringues are best covered in cream and dressed with fresh berries.
Traditionally served at Christmas, pavlovas are commonly sampled in summer as they are served cold, often at barbeques and preferable in large portions.
What is furry on the outside, green in the middle and named after a flightless bird? Surprise, it’s the Kiwifruit. A little sweet, a little tangy – these green fleshed fruit can be eaten straight from orchard, chopped up in a fruit salad or sliced a top your slice of pav.
NOT a latte. No, no, no. New Zealand flat whites are a high quality espresso with hot, creamy milk. Served in a smaller size than lattes, these deliver a stronger coffee taste with a delicious milky finish. The perfect addition to any early morning road trip – or stop-off anywhere during the drive.
Some say Bluff oysters are the finest in the world. They are grown slowly in the cold clean waters of the Foveaux Strait, right down in the south of the South Island.
Dredged from March to August, these shellfish delicacies make their way up the country to be served in all the best eateries.
Salty, succulent and addictive, “Bluffies” are best eaten straight from the shell, off ice and washed down with a glass of bubbles.
If you can’t make it to Bluff to shuck your own, don’t worry about finding some elsewhere: Establishments are known to enthusiastically promote their stocks, so you won’t need to look far for a (literal) sign.
CENTRAL OTAGO CHERRIES
Fresh, big and sweet – cherries hailing from Central O are hot commodities. Their delicious red flesh is sought after not just by locals, but are a sought after export fruit, too. So you’ve got to get in quick, before your pip(fruit)ed to the punch.
FISH AND CHIPS
Battered, fried and finger licking fantastic, Fish’n’Chips are a quintessential Kiwi favourite. Served wrapped in grease stained newspaper, generously salted and constructed of fresh fish and New Zealand-grown spuds, a visit to the beach is rarely complete with a serving of these bad boys.
So tasty and moreish is this national dish, that even the local wildlife can’t get enough – so watch who you share your chips with or some unwanted gull-shaped visitors will crowd your ocean views.
Drink matched with an L & P, of course…
HOKEY POKEY ICE CREAM
Honeycomb pearls embedded in frozen creamy goodness, there’s not much else to say…
HAWKE’S BAY APPLES
Crunchy, tangy and juicy, Hawke’s Bay knows how to grow dem apples. The northeastern region has a warm, dry climate perfect for producing all sorts of crops – which the apples are arguably the cream of.
So good at growing, is Hawke’s Bay, that there is a selection of varieties to suit any preferences. From sweeter to the more sour options, bigger sizes or smaller handfuls – the breeds are mixed and matched to produce a whole heap of appley goodness.
Yes, yes the pink fish swims globally, but we reckon ours are a bit spesh. Especially those sourced from Akaroa – a quaint, hard-to-access fishing township on Banks Peninsula near Christchurch.
What makes Akaroa salmon so good it makes this esteemed list, you ask? Well, born and bred in the wild waters, these salmon thrive with a hands-off and sustainable approach to farming, one which is so successful, the products are used by the best chefs here and abroad.
Sweet, chewy oat biscuits – sometimes containing raisins – which are named after the soldiers of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps who received these naturally long shelf-lifed goodies in wartime care packages. We recommend dipping your bikkie in a nice hot cuppa for added enjoyment.