Kiwi Kai

Kiwi Kai
  • Written by
  • Abby Beswick

6 foods you need to try

Experiencing a country’s culture is one of the best parts of travelling, and trying local cuisine is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable ways to do it. Not only will you get to taste foods you’ve never tried before, you might also get to experience foods you eat at home in a new way, all while learning about the history and culture of the place you’re visiting.

We’ve compiled a list of some favourite Kiwi foods that define our culture, to seek out during your next visit. Whether you’re a devoted foodie or simply a traveller who wants to soak up the best New Zealand has to offer on a plate, this list is for you.

nice looking hangi on a plate

1. Hangi

This is Maori cuisine at its finest. A hangi is a traditional method of cooking that involves using heated rocks, buried in a pit oven called an umu. It usually involves wrapped meat and vegetables slow-cooked over several hours for optimum flavour and tenderness. Hangi is usually saved for more special occasions because it takes all day to prepare, but for visitors, it’s available to try in many of the cultural tours around New Zealand.

Whitebait fritters in a stack on a nice plate

2. Whitebait fritters

This small fish has a big reputation in New Zealand. Notoriously difficult to catch, during whitebaiting season (September to October) on the West Coast of the South Island you’ll find keen whitebaiters along the river mouths using hand-held nets to fish for this highly prized delicacy. The most popular way of eating whitebait is in a small omlette or fritter. Try them straight from the pan, or slapped between two pieces of white bread.

Bluff oysters on a massive plate with vinaigrette

3. Bluff oysters

Another delicacy to delight the seafood lovers. Put your shucking skills to the test with this speciality of the south. The Bluff oyster season runs from March until August, where oysters are dredged from the cool waters off the coast of Bluff and sent to seafood restaurants and fish and chip shops around the country.

4. Hokey pokey ice cream

Arguably New Zealand’s favourite ice cream flavour, it consists of creamy vanilla ice cream packed with small crunchy pieces of caramelised honeycomb. Head to your nearest dairy for a generous scoop or two of this classic Kiwi treat.

manuka honey in a jar

5. Manuka honey

This world-famous honey is renowned as both a delicious sweet treat and for its medicinal properties. It also makes a great souvenir to take back home. You’ll find it in supermarkets and dedicated honey shops around the country.

Ripe Feijoas sitting in a bowl

6. Feijoas

Due to their popularity and abundance, we tend to think of feijoas as uniquely Kiwi. This oval, green fruit is extremely versatile and commonly used in baking, juices, smoothies and even alcohol. It’s in season from March to June each year, when you’ll find them featured in cafe and restaurant menus and hanging from trees everywhere!

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