When we first booked our trip to New Zealand, I didn’t now what we were in for food wise, besides lamb of course. So I was taken by surprise by some of our favorites, and disgusted by others, but that’s what traveling is about. WWOOFing offered us a great insight into Kiwis homes and see what they eat and enjoy. So here we go the good and the bad.
Lets start with my favorite Kiwi food, Hokey Pokey. I had never heard of hokey pokey, well besides the dance, which oddly enough Kiwi kids (that we knew) did not know about. Anyways Hokey Pokey is a toffee candy, it is sponge like and light. You will often find in covered with chocolate (I just found some at the American grocery store Sprouts, labeled “chocolate covered honeycomb”) or by itself in ice cream. Cadbury’s version of it is the Crunchie Bar. My first taste of Hokey Pokey was a “Crunchie Bar” and I thought that it tasted and had a similar texture of an American “Butterfingers”. Through out our time in NZ Hokey Pokey was our go to sweet fix.
Fish and Chips
Now being a couple of islands in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean and a past British Colony, it is no surprise that Fish and Chip shops are everywhere. Fish and Chips are EVERYWHERE, a town that only has one gas station probably has two fish and chips shops, they are that popular. Fish and Chips no matter where you go, are going to be about the same (it is a cheap fried food after all), but you choose from a selection of fish ranging in prices. Make sure to purchase tartar and tomato (see below) sauce, because they do no come with.
Pavalova is a Kiwi dessert that is a meringue based and usually topped with fruit and whipped cream. We enjoyed this dish while wwoofing at the historic homestead on the North Island. Our host made it for the many events that they hosted and catered. How can you not love a giant meringue?!?! The only issue is that Kiwi whipped cream is just that, its whipped cream, no sugar, no sweeteners. It always felt like something was missing (and for all deserts with whipped cream as well). But other than that it was delicious and I just might have to whip one up state side!
We tried every flavor of Tim Tams while in New Zealand. Tim Tams are chocolate covered biscuits with chocolate or other flavored filling. They are not necessarily kiwi, since they are from Australian, but we still had a love affair with them. We never went a road trip with out a package at the ready for the nights dessert. It’s no wonder I gained 10 pounds while in NZ…
Wine & Beer
I officially became a wine lover in New Zealand! Everywhere you go in New Zealand will be a different wine region (Napa Valleys everywhere! I swear!). We were fortunate enough to stay with a few families, that enjoyed a glass or two of New Zealand’s best wines every night. My two favorites were Sauvignon blanc and Pinot noir.
Beer on the other hand we were a little disappointed with. We drank kiwi favorite such as Tui and Steinlager quite a bit, but they were no more than a crisp lager. We did visit a couple of breweries in our time and enjoyed some $9+ pints. Because of the high price tag (they have to tax something…I guess), we did not get to know beer as intimately as we like here in the states.
Whitebait is a New Zealand’s delicacy. What is Whitebait you might be asking? Well its baby fish from the galaxiidae species, if that means anything to you. During our time in NZ we heard about whitebait off and on, mostly with people we knew going whitebaiting (catching the fist) or people telling us how delicious it was. We were fortunate enough to be served whitebait at one of our WWOOF hosts in the form of a fritter (the most common way it is eaten). I could not taste the fist, all that it tasted like to me was scrambled eggs…
Let me just say Bryan and I never once went out to a fancy lamb dinner (is that a thing…) during our time in NZ. We did however eat a lot of lamb & mutton. One of the best things about WWOOFing was eating what the locals ate. One of my favorite days was butchering a lamb (we did not do the killing, just the cutting) later that day we ate a lamb roast, and later that week liquid lamb… or lamb stew so cooked down that it was liquid. The same sheep was literally the best meal and worst meal we had the entire trip. We did learn by the end of our NZ journey, that Kiwis referred to all sheep as lamb, even though a good portion we are was probably mutton.
Oh canned spaghetti, where to even begin with you?? I did not even know you were a thing in NZ for the first 4 months… That is until my Bryan walked in on our WWOOF host chowing down on a can for breakfast! From then on we saw it everywhere! In toasty sandwiches, our wwoof host cupboards, and grocery store displays. I spared myself one and didn’t try it out.
Baked beans in the States are often found to be a side for a bar-b-que dinner. In New Zealand baked beans are a breakfast item. But hey, I’m not complaining! I ate them on toast, I ate them with eggs, I found that I love baked beans no matter what the time.
One thing I found that I do not like is beet root (just beets for you Americans). Before New Zealand I think the last time I ate beets of any kind was when I was 10 months old, no joke. But Kiwis LOVE beet root! We ate it by itself, in salads, baked, in dishes, basically anyways you can think of. But to me beet roots taste like dirt…
Before New Zealand tomato sauce never crossed my mind as a condiment, but rather just an ingredient. In New Zealand ketchup is almost non-existent. Everything we would eat ketchup with/on (french fries, burgers, hotdogs, ect.) tomato sauce is eaten, specifically Watties brand. By the end of our five months all I wanted was french fries and ketchup.
I love me some L&P! L&P is the local New Zealand soda flavor. Lemon of Peoria. I do drink soda regularly but I did enjoy L&P during our travels. It tastes different from Sprite, with more of a peppery flavor, if that makes any sense.
Other Kiwi food not mentioned
Kiwi fruit, Paua, manuka honey, Vegemite/Marmite, lemonade fruit and Feijoa fruit.
If you have been to New Zealand, what was you favorite food?