When visiting New Zealand, there are some foods you must try as part of your experience. Each food listed below is uniquely Kiwi (Don’t let any Aussies tell you differently!). Be warned – the pineapple lumps are addictive.
1. Pineapple Lumps are a flavoured chocolate covered confectionery with a soft, chewy pineapple-flavoured middle that are unique to New Zealand.
2. Hokey Pokey is a flavour of ice cream in Australia and New Zealand and consisting of plain vanilla ice cream with small, solid lumps of sponge toffee - known as "hokey pokey" in Australia and New Zealand. It is the most popular flavour after plain vanilla in New Zealand!
3. L&P — A popular soft drink, Lemon & Paeroa, also known as L&P, is a sweet soft drink manufactured in New Zealand. Traditionally made by combining lemon juice with carbonated mineral water from the town of Paeroa, L&P can be found only in New Zealand and in specialty New Zealand stores abroad.
4. Lamingtons -A sponge cake cube coated in a layer of traditionally chocolate icing and desiccated coconut. They are sometimes served as two halves with a layer of cream and/or strawberry jam between. There is debate as to its origin – Aussies & Kiwis have differing opinions!
5. Pavlova - A Kiwi food icon – a large cake-sized meringue filled with fruit and cream. It too is claimed by both Australians and New Zealanders as their own.
6. Marmite/Vegemite - New Zealand Marmite is significantly different in taste from UK Marmite – the ingredients include sugar and come in different packaging.
7. Hangi - Refers to the method of cooking in the ground with hot stones, or to the underground oven so created, and to the food so cooked. When you're asked to a hangi, you're actually being invited to a feast of Maori food cooked in the manner described. Various types of meats and vegetables, such as kumara or sweet potato, are wrapped in leaves or foil. These items of wrapped food are then placed in a hole in the ground and cooked with hot stones. Particularly in New Zealand towns like Rotorua, a number of hotels often serve hangi, accompanied by Maori music and folk dancing. This is a real "taste" of Maori culture.
8. Kumara Chips – Kumara is New Zealand’s sweet potato - so Kumara Chips are otherwise known as Sweet Potato Fries!
9. Whitebait Fritters - The New Zealand whitebait is small, sweet and tender with a delicate taste. The most popular way of cooking whitebait in New Zealand is the whitebait fritter, which is essentially an omelette containing whitebait. Foreigners frequently react with revulsion when shown uncooked whitebait, which resembles slimy, translucent worms.
10. Cheese Rolls* – A south island treat! A cheese roll is created by covering a slice of bread in a prepared filling consisting mainly of grated or sliced cheese, and then rolling it into a tube shape before toasting. Cheese rolls are a very popular food in Otago and Southland of New Zealand, where they are commonly found as a menu item at cafeterias and similar food outlets. They are one of only a very small number of recipes which are specific to only one of New Zealand's two main islands.
*One of our Backpacker crew Sharron recently became addicted to these delicacies on her recent road trip – don’t get her started.
Let us know what your fave Kiwi treat is! We’d love to hear from you.