Food in NZ is same-same, but different to what we have back in the UK.
Let me make this clear. Wattie’s and Heinz are the same company but they are NOT the same in any other way. Stay away from Wattie’s beans, spaghetti, tomato ketchup etc. – you won’t like it. They may look the same as Heinz but don’t be deceived, they’re not the same. However, Kiwis love it. Wattie’s Tomato Sauce is even considered part of Kiwiana.
Pies are also very popular. New Zealand has roughly 70,000 different fillings available for pies, all with the option of cheese. My personal favourites are steak, steak and cheese, butter chicken, butter chicken and cheese, lamb and mint, lamb mint and cheese, bacon and egg, bacon, egg and cheese. These are all on the absolute must list for things to do in New Zealand, so forget the bungie jump that you planned on doing and spend the money on pies instead. On my Stray trip I took pride in visiting a different bakery in a different little town each day and sampling the local pies. My “pants” no longer fit the same.
New Zealand also has sweets for every occasion, although like Aussies they like to call them “lollies.” I know what you’re thinking. What do you call a lolly if sweets are called “lollies” and the answer is probably a lolly – I’m not sure, but if in doubt point and nod your head. This has got me by on numerous occasions.
The king of NZ lollies is the Pineapple Lump which sound pretty rubbish, but honestly they are a lot better than you’d expect. So much so that I’m eating a pack as I write this. Unfortunately, the name is deceiving and they do not contain any fruit and as such are not considered 1 of your 5-a-day no matter how many you eat. They are however one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets, a delicious chocolate covered chewy lolly and a must try for all visitors to NZ. Now if only someone could make a Pineapple Lump pie hmm…
The Hāngi is a traditional Maori way of cooking food in the ground and the result is an amazing roast-style dinner with fried bread replacing your Yorkshire pudding and kumara (New Zealand sweet potato) for the potatoes. This is a meal that can’t be missed while you’re here! There are lots of other “Kiwi classics” that you have to try. The pavlova is a desert that NZ has fought long and hard for (as the Aussies try to claim it) and it’s worth a try for that reason alone. Hokey Pokey ice cream has honeycomb in it, need I say more? Domino’s and Pizza Hut offer $5 pizzas, that’s £2.50 for a whole pizza. Even the poorest of travellers can afford that.
Lastly, I feel I need to mention L&P which is New Zealand’s favourite drink, just edging out ginger beer. It’s like lemonade but different. Now I’m an R Whites drinker and that’s not going to change. But if you’ve not pledged an allegiance to a lemonade yet then give L&P a go – 4,000,000 Kiwis and 1,000,000 Chinese can’t be wrong.
So pack up your picnic and head to the beach, although they may not appear as we Brits know them…find out more in my next post!
Guest blogger Sam Berwick recently arrived in New Zealand from London. As a Brit in the ‘land of the long white cloud’ for the first time, he now describes Kiwi culture as “funny, strange and down right crazy” and that’s after only a few months! In this blog series, Sam’s shares his unedited thoughts, observations and advice as a Kiwi culture survival guide for all visitors.