‘Sweet as’ Travel Links to help you plan the best New Zealand Campervan Holiday
New Zealand Food & Drink
Roast kumara - the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) roasted in the same manner as potatoes and often served instead of or alongside. May also be deep fried like potato chips and known as kumara chips - nice served with sour cream but rarely done well as kumara cooks at a different temperature than potatoes, so it needs a skilled chef for the dish to be done perfectly.
Pavlova, or pav, a cake of whipped egg whites baked to have a crusty meringue-like outside but soft in the middle, topped with whipped cream and decorated with sliced fruit. The dessert is also common in Australia, and there is debate between the two countries as to where it was first invented.
ANZAC biscuits - Plain hard biscuits made primarily from oatmeal bound with golden syrup. Originally made for and by ANZAC troops during the First World War. Also found in Australia.
Pies - New Zealanders eat large numbers of non-flakey-pastry meat pies containing things like beef, lamb, pork, potato, kumara, vegetables, and cheese. Some companies now market ranges of "gourmet" pies and there is an annual competition for the best pie in a variety of categories.
Kiwifruit - A plum-sized green fleshed fruit, with fine black seeds in the flesh, originating from China, selectively bred in New Zealand, and first known to the home gardener as the Chinese Gooseberry. Now commercially farmed, with production centred on Te Puke but in many orcharding areas. Slices often served on pavlova. Known by its full name of kiwifruit and never shortened to kiwi in New Zealand, as kiwi are endangered birds or New Zealanders (note that kiwis refers strictly to New Zealanders; the plural for the birds is kiwi, with no "s").
Whitebait - The translucent sprat or fingerlings of native freshwater fish species that migrate from spawning in the sea each year. After being caught in coastal river mouth set or hand nets during November/December, this highly sought after delicacy is rushed to all ends of the country. Served in a fried pattie made from an egg based batter. May be seasonally available from a local fish and chip shop. Is served without gutting or deheading.
The Maori also have a distinctive cuisine…
The hangi or earth oven is the traditional way that Maori cook food for large gatherings. Meat, vegetables and sometimes puddings are slowly steam-cooked for several hours in a covered pit that has previously been lined with stones and had a hot wood fire burn down in it.
Kaimoana (literally: sea food) - particularly shellfish gathered from inter-tidal rocks and beaches as well as crayfish (rock lobster) and inshore fish caught on a line or with nets. Species such as paua (blackfoot abalone) and toheroa have been overfished and gathering restrictions are strictly enforced, while green mussels are commercially grown and sold live, or processed, in supermarkets. WARNING While it is almost extremely common to see people collecting shellfish, crustaceans and other kaimoana, there are a number of rules one must be aware of. Often these are posted on signs at the approaches to the collecting area. If in doubt, check with a local. Rules may be seasonal or all-year catch limits set by the Ministry of Fisheries, or they may be that certain areas are reserved solely for tangata whenua, or a combination. Also at times areas may have a prohibition against them for health reasons.
New Zealanders have a reputation for enjoying their beer. Although there are now only three major breweries, there are many regional brands, each with their own distinctive taste and staunch supporters. Take care when and where you indulge in public. New Zealand has recently introduced liquor ban areas - that means alcoholic drinks cannot be consumed or even carried in some streets, such as city centres and popular beaches, at certain times of the day or night. Police can instruct you to empty bottles and arrest you if you do not comply.
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