|Destination: New Zealand|
|What To See
Upper North Island
Bay of Islands
+ Bay of Islands
Lower North Island
+ New Plymouth
Upper South Island
Lower South Island
In The Know
Did You Know?
food & drink
New Zealanders like to eat and drink well and visitors will find no shortage of good places to eat. As well as authentic New Zealand food, often served in restaurants displaying a "Taste New Zealand" sign, there are many ethnic restaurants to choose from, and a profusion of new cafés offering lighter foods in casual settings at lower prices.
The international fast-food chains are well represented and takeaway (food-to-go) places are common. Many shopping malls have a food court offering a selection of inexpensive light meals.
Fish dishes feature snapper, orange roughy, hapuka groper, flounder, blue cod, and John Dory. Salmon are reared in the south but trout, although a popular game-fish, is not caught commercially, nor offered in restaurants.
MeatLamb is the traditional meat of New Zealand, usually served roasted with mint sauce or jelly, but beef, pork, and chicken are all popular. Canterbury lamb is esteemed. Hogget is one-year-old (the tenderest) lamb. Meat pies, filled with steak, mince or chicken, sometimes with cheese or potato toppings, are a New Zealand favourite.
SeafoodSeafood delicacies are available throughout the country either as starters or main courses. These include Nelson scallops, Marlborough and Coromandel mussels, Bluff (deep sea) oysters from the far south of the South Island, and West Coast whitebait. Seafood soups, especially chowders, are also popular.
Fruit and VegetablesA wide variety of locally grown vegetables is available, from supermarkets or direct from the growers in the countryside, where prices are generally less expensive and the produce is freshest. Kumara is a native sweet potato. Seasonal fresh fruit, grown locally, includes apples, peaches, pears, plums, and apricots. The prickly skinned kiwifruit (bright green inside) was known as Chinese gooseberry until the Kiwis decided to market them as their own. Now they are branded as Zespri.
DessertsFresh strawberries, raspberries, and boysenberries are a summer favorite, served with creamy New Zealand ice cream, and in places you can "pick your own" fruit straight from the vine. The dessert New Zealanders claim as their own (although Australians refute this) is pavlova, a meringue base covered with a layer of whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit.
DrinkNew Zealand's tap water is safe to drink, although bottled water is popular. Water from streams and lakes should be purified before drinking. A pot of tea is an essential part of Kiwi hospitality, while good coffee is widely available in cafés. Fresh milk and fruit juice are inexpensive. Traditionally, New Zealanders are a nation of beer drinkers and, while brands like DB, Lion, and Steinlager dominate, many local boutique brewery labels have added interest to the market. New Zealand wines are now well established internationally, with Marlborough sauvignon blancs acclaimed. Leading labels include Cloudy Bay and Montana.
MealtimesKiwis usually have a light breakfast and lunch, and a substantial evening meal ("dinner" or "tea"), eaten between 6pm and 8pm. Most motels offer cooking facilities, but will provide a cooked breakfast on request.