Many tourists coming to New Zealand have no idea about the special cuisine of the country. Sometimes even if you ask locals they don’t exactly know what is their typical food. It doesn’t mean that you will not find anything new to taste. There isn’t a separate Kiwi cuisine, their eating habits are the mixture of Europian, Polynesian, Asian which together with the unique area and huge natural richness open up a variety of flavors and cooking techniques. Let's get to know the most popular ones.
Do you think about being a vegetarian? It might be better to change your mind or just postpone it a little because all the meat which you will eat here you can meet outside happily grazing on the large green areas all around New Zealand which will significantly affect its great taste. You can spot sheep or cows almost everywhere that's because there are more of them here than people.
As a side dish to your steak, you can choose one of favorite vegetable called Kumara, sweet potatoes which you can cook, bake or fry the same like French fries. The offspring of the British settlers also have a considerable baking skill, so you can rely on the fact that they will prepare this first class raw material to create the top quality meal for you.
Another specialty you can taste in New Zealand is Hangi. It is traditional Maori food for festive occasions. To prepare it first they dig a hole in the ground. Then they light a fire to warm the stones, which are then used instead of an oven. Then the Maori put many different kinds of meat on the stones (beef, pork, mutton), add vegetables, cover it and bury with dirt. Then, they wait many hours to steam it properly. It takes quite a long time to make but that is exactly the secret of the perfect taste.
Because deer are the primary enemy of local growing vegetation, they have to be reduced almost everywhere around New Zealand. Therefore hunting is allowed and very popular here. So you might have an opportunity to join some Kiwi and hunt your lunch straight from nature. You can look forward to tasting deer, mountain goats or wild boars.
If you envy the Zealanders with the beautiful nature and the environment, make sure this is not all. There’s another place they get their food from– the ocean. There you can find a range of seafood. If you like fishing you will enjoy traveling around the coast even more. There is plenty of fish hiding under the waves. For example, red sea basses, cod, in the mouths of rivers moving kahawai or in deep water giant boarfish. In the sea, you can catch almost everything and if you also like to eat them, you will soon find out all the different tastes these fish can have. You can buy or prepare them many different ways, like a steak, fried in batters like fish and chips, or raw in sushi. There is plenty of fish types and even more options.
But that’s just the start. There are also many kinds of mussels, clams or oysters. Some of this seafood has to cook first, some you can pick up on the beach, open it with a knife and eat straight away or you can prepare giant Paua mussels as a steak. We would like to recommend those of you who are oyster lovers, to stop for a taste if they see the Bluff Oysters sign. Also don’t forget to taste a giant langouste known here as crayfish, which are a real local delicacy.
Among freshwater fish, we can’t miss fresh trout or salmon. You can often get them not just from a fish farm, but also wild caught in one of many mountain rivers. Another recommended dish is the Whitebait, which is a specific fish found in places where the mouth of the river runs into the sea. The price of the whitebait is not low so local fishermen are ready to spend days even weeks standing in the rivers with the fishing nets just to be there at the right time and catch as many of them as possible. The caught small fish are then fried with flour, mixed with egg, salted, and fried. We as tourists are not patient enough to spend that long waiting for our catch so it might be better to invest some money to taste it originally prepared from the professionals and reward them for their hard work.
Had enough meat? Let's try something different. It’s a sweet time now. Taste local specialty Pavlova. Legendary meringue dessert which is soft inside with crispy crust, whipped cream and fruit on top. Sounds easier than it is. What’s hardest is getting the whites at the correct consistency and baking them to make the cake crisp on the surface and not dry inside. If you are daring you can try making it. If you are daring but lazy then just buy it a enjoy the sweet taste.
The climate of New Zealand also makes a good place to grow fruit and vegetables. Surely try Fejoiu, a typical local fruit with a very specific taste that you either fall in love or hate. Also try local Boysenberry, which is something between our raspberry and blackberry. Fresh or in ice cream? They both are great. Local cherries, blueberries, apples, melons and many more you can buy at the grocery store, on the weekend markets or the individual farms.
Each region has its’ own tastes and customs, and that’s exactly what makes traveling beautiful. Do not be afraid to try local specialties. You will not like everything, but it is an unforgettable experience. And maybe you'll find some local delicacy you'll fall in love with forever.