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Best New Zealand Food & 27 New Zealand Recipes

New Zealand Food and 27 New Zealand Recipes
We have compiled a list of New Zealand Food and 27 New Zealand Recipes for you to treat your family. These are foods from many cultures including the Moari, one of the first humans to live in what is now New Zealand. This makes it one of the last known areas on our planet to receive human inhabitants.

New Zealand Food

One of the earliest island dwellers is known as the Lapita​ people, identified by remains of their pottery which has distinctive patterns of indentation. Lapita sites first appear around the Bismarck Archipelago (New Guinea) about 3350 years ago, and the Lapita were the first people to settle Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa, about 3000 years ago.

Pavlova, one of the icons in Australian and New Zealand food.

New Zealand food is largely driven by local ingredients and seasonal variations. An island nation with a primarily agricultural economy, New Zealand yields produce from land and sea. Similar to the cuisine of Australia, the cuisine of New Zealand is a diverse British-based cuisine, with Mediterranean and Pacific Rim influences as the country becomes more cosmopolitan.

Historical influences came from British cuisine and Māori culture. Since the 1970s new cuisines such as New American cuisine, Southeast Asian, East Asian, and South Asian have become popular. The Māori term kai is widely used in New Zealand to refer to food, especially traditional Māori cuisine. We have tried to infuse both imported and authentic New Zealand food traditions and recipes of New Zealand to show you how diverse the food options are here.

New Zealand Man Mountain Climbing

Contemporary New Zealand Food Scene

As a result of various developments, the food scene of New Zealand in the early 21st century is in a state of flux: cosmopolitan Pacific Rim fare’s reign is now the norm in much of metropolitan eating out scenes, and traditional hearty settlers food, now dubbed Kwisine Kiwiana, but reinterpreted through Pacific Rim cooking knowledge, is a popular cooking style for eating out scenes even in the most remote rural regions.

Most of the home cooking prepared at households in Auckland is now a mix of traditional Kiwiana dishes heavily modified by the Mediterranean and Asian techniques and ingredients and adapted versions of Mediterranean, Chinese, and Indian dishes. In the more culturally traditional parts of the country, such as rural Canterbury and the West Coast, however, traditional Kiwiana fare is still the norm at many homes.

Certain vestiges of traditional Kiwiana dishes remain popular throughout the country, such as fish and chips, meat pies, custard squares, pavlova, and others. An active nostalgia movement supports the traditional New Zealand food, as spearheaded by the popularity of the television series Kiwi Kitchen presented by Richard Till, which is believed to be a public response to a common perception that the traditional Kiwiana dishes are disappearing from the New Zealand tables. Home baking is particularly believed to be the last bastion of New Zealand food still unaffected by international trends.

Concurrently, food habits are changing in Australia to lighter fares influenced by the Mediterranean, and subsequently Southeast Asian, styles of cooking. The proximity, common history, and strong modern political, economic, cultural, and family ties between the two countries means many New Zealand diners and chefs have always been well informed of the trends in the Australian dining scene. Many chefs had worked in Australia and endeavor to learn from their trans-Tasman counterparts, and in time the changing Australian culinary scene has trickle-down effects on the New Zealand food as well.

New Zealand Food FAQ

1. What Foods is New Zealand famous for? – New Zealand Food

While you’re in New Zealand, seek out a couple of the following quintessential Kiwi foods. Seafood. With more than 14,000 kilometers of coastline, New Zealand is home to some amazing seafood.

a. Roast lamb
b. Māori hāngī
c. Fish and chips
d. Cheese and wine
e. Barbeque
f. New Zealand desserts
g. New Zealand lollies (sweets and candies)

2. What is Traditional Kiwi food? – New Zealand Food

Popular kinds of seafood include mussels, pipis, tuatua, bluff oysters, kina, paua, and if you venture upriver ‘Whitebait’ is considered a delicacy often made into ‘Whitebait Fritters’. A classic kiwi meal is ‘Fish ‘n’ Chips’ where fresh fish is deep-fried in batter accompanied with hot fries and served wrapped in newspaper.

3. What is a typical breakfast in New Zealand? – New Zealand Food

Breakfast. A typical New Zealand breakfast consists of cereal (especially the iconic Weet-bix for kids) and some toast which is accompanied by a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of juice or milk. Sometimes on the weekend, there is time for a cooked breakfast.

4. What is the most popular drink in New Zealand? – New Zealand Food

Lemon & Paeroa: L&P can be found in many Supermarkets in most countries, and it’s said to be the most popular drink in New Zealand.

5. What is considered to be a New Zealand dessert? – New Zealand Food

Pavlova is a traditional dessert in New Zealand, and Australia claims it as well. It is a meringue base that is filled with whipped cream and usually kiwifruit.

6. Why is New Zealand ice cream so good? – New Zealand Food

New Zealand food is world-famous for the quality of its dairy products, which are in turn the result of a clean environment, year-round grazing on outdoor pasture, a technologically advanced dairy industry, and strict quality and hygiene standards.

Authentic New Zealand Recipes for Dessert - Lolly Cake

27 New Zealand Food Recipes

1. New Zealand-Style Beef & Cheddar Pies – New Zealand Food

1. New Zealand-Style Beef & Cheddar Pies

Grab some of the best pies you’ll ever eat from any gas station along the road. They carry a wide range of warm hand pies ready to be picked up and eaten on the go, no utensils required. You’ll find them in hot cases near the checkout counters.

Flavors are a-plenty, ranging from bacon and egg to steak and cheese, butter chicken, chicken and mushroom, smoked fish, and my all-time favorite—mince and cheese (beef and cheese).
Check out this recipe

2. New Zealand Kiwi Bread – New Zealand Recipes

2. New Zealand Kiwi Bread

This yummy quick-bread is great with a hot cup of tea or coffee! Follow directions and turn cake onto a wire rack with a plate below to catch the extra icing.

Spoon icing over cake. Wait ten minutes. Scrape icing off the plate and over the cake again. Repeat twice. It's how to maximize the icing.
Check out this recipe

3. Lolly Cake Recipe – Recipes of New Zealand

3. Lolly Cake Recipe

A lolly cake or lolly log is a New Zealand cake or confectionery that features "lollies" as a key ingredient. The exact origins of this cake are not really known.

Lolly cakes are known to have been consumed in the 1940s, but were not commonly available until the 1960s in supermarkets.
Check out this recipe

4. Stuffed Leg of Lamb – New Zealand Food

4. Stuffed Leg of Lamb

Feed the troops with a roast leg of lamb - this version has a sweet and nutty stuffing made with almonds and prunes. This recipe is so good yet it doesn’t require too much time, effort or ingredients. It’s easy & fool-proof, even for you first-timers!
Check out this recipe

5. Kiwifruit, Ginger and Honey Cake – New Zealand Recipes

5. Kiwifruit, Ginger and Honey Cake

Scented with ginger and cinnamon, this honey cake sparkles with seasonal warmth. The sweet, almond batter is flecked with the flesh of kiwifruit, the little black seeds adding an intriguing crunchiness. Occasionally, cream is called for with cake, and this is certainly one of those occasions.
Check out this recipe

6. Lemon Curd and Pomegranate Pavlova – Recipes of New Zealand

6. Lemon Curd and Pomegranate Pavlova

Don't save the pav just for the festive season. Make a dinner party celebratory with this gorgeous dessert. The twist on the classic comes from the lemon curd and little pomegranate gems.
Check out this recipe

7. Crumbed Fish and Kumara Chips – New Zealand Food

7. Crumbed Fish and Kumara Chips (1)

This simple homemade version of the Kiwi classic will make you wonder you keep you going for the takeaway versions. Cleaner and healthier ingredients produce a superior result.
Check out this recipe

8. Pastry Caramel Tarts Recipe with Hokey Pokey – New Zealand Recipes

8. Pastry Caramel Tarts Recipe with Hokey Pokey (2)

The caramel can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until needed - just keep your fingers out! When it comes to spreading on the base, warm the caramel to room temperature. Just before serving, sprinkle the tart with hokey pokey straight to the plate, ready to go.

As an alternative try topping with salt flakes or berries. This recipe can also be made into 24 mini tarts if you need a sweet treat for a number of people. However you choose to serve them, they are divine.
Check out this recipe

9. Steak and Mushroom Pie – Recipes of New Zealand

9. Steak and Mushroom Pie

A meat pie is as Kiwi as it comes. We just love the rich meaty filling of this steak and mushroom pie, and who can resist the utterly tempting allure of crispy golden pastry. Nothing beats a fresh pie straight out of the oven during the cold months.
Check out this recipe

10. Classic Lamingtons – New Zealand Food

10. Classic Lamingtons (3)

Lamingtons have a nostalgic feel with memories of childhood picnics and birthday parties. Sweet and delicious, they really are a treat. The chocolate and raspberry cakes look gorgeous plated together.
Check out this recipe

11. Cheesy Bacon and Egg Pie – New Zealand Recipes

11. Cheesy Bacon and Egg Pie

Pack a picnic or recreate the atmosphere at the dining table with this classic bacon and egg - made extra cheesy for good measure - that will bring smiles of glee all around.
Check out this recipe

12. Afghan Biscuits – Recipes of New Zealand

12. Afghan Biscuits

The quality of the cocoa can make a huge difference to the outcome of both the flavor of the biscuits and texture of the icing on the afghans. Take the time to find a pure cocoa product without additives. A small jar of the best quality cocoa you can afford may be pricey, but it's worth it to get such a delicious result.
Check out this recipe

13. Whitebait Fritters – New Zealand Food

13. Whitebait Fritters

Mention whitebait fritters and suddenly everyone is in the kitchen eating them straight from the pan with a squeeze of lemon. Hardly anyone can resist whitebait fritters, making them the perfect canape. The flavor speaks for itself.
Check out this recipe

14. Manuka and Ginger Honey Bliss Balls – New Zealand Recipes

14. Manuka and Ginger Honey Bliss Balls

For a sweet treat that's made with nutritionally-dense and naturally sweet ingredients, you must try these Kiwi-inspired bliss balls. Try this recipe using manuka and ginger honey.
Check out this recipe

15. Kumara & Lamb Cakes – Recipes of New Zealand

15. Kumara & Lamb Cakes

Two of our most-loved ingredients - lamb and kumara - collide in this incredibly versatile pattie. Serve this off the barbecue, either as a pre-dinner snack or for the main event.

These tasty patties make a great standby dinner
Check out this recipe

16. Potato & Lamb Sliders – New Zealand Food

16. Potato & Lamb Sliders

Who can say no to rare sliced lamb served with a tarragon-infused potato salad stuffed into a slider? Serve in brioche buns to bring a sweet and buttery texture. And maybe a chilled beer. What could be better?
Check out this recipe

17. Raw Coconut Fish – New Zealand Recipes

17. Raw Coconut Fish

For a moreish start to a casual meal, this raw coconut fish is perfect. Place a lettuce leaf on a slice of fresh white bread, pile with fish, wrap and eat. Try this delectable but easy recipe for raw coconut fish.
Check out this recipe

18. Smoked Kahawai Mishmash – Recipes of New Zealand

18. Smoked Kahawai Mishmash

One of Al Brown's favorite breakfasts, this is a potato-based hash with plenty of herbs. Serve with poached eggs, and a good hit of fresh lemon juice. Smoked kahawai mishmash, potato-based hash where there are no rules when it comes to what you throw in.
Check out this recipe

19. Maori Fry Bread – New Zealand Food

19. Maori (NZ) Fry Bread

I was given this recipe by a Nagati Tarawhai cook while in New Zealand. The bread was wonderful . . . I've never tried to make myself, however I believe I've converted the recipe into U.S. standards. I made the original recipe notation in parenthesis.
Check out this recipe

20. Kumara and Ginger Mash – New Zealand Recipes

20. Kumara (Sweet Potato) and Ginger Mash

A nice side dish from New Zealand. These sweet potatoes are absolutely delicious. The fresh ginger is a wonderful surprise. It compliments the sweet potato so well and adds a little zing along the way. Delicious!!
Check out this recipe

21. Baked Garlic, Basil and Camembert Stuffed Chicken Breasts – Recipes of New Zealand

21. Baked Garlic, Basil and Camembert Stuffed Chicken Breasts (3)

I have based this on my Easy Garlic and Basil Stuffed Chicken Breasts as a variation. I used panko but you could use plain dried breadcrumbs. This recipe can easily be doubled.

This is a new favorite "company" recipe. It is superb. The basil and garlic and cheese flavors are delicious. I thought it would be hard to make but it was simple.
Check out this recipe

22. Super Simple Scallops – New Zealand Food

22. Super Simple Scallops

Salt and pepper the scallops and then dust them lightly in all purpose before putting them in the hot skillet. Two-three minutes on each side following rest of recipe and you will NOT be sorry.
Check out this recipe

23. Kiwi Crisps – New Zealand Recipes

23. Kiwi Crisps

This is New Zealander version of chocolate chip cookies. There are no kiwis or Kiwis harmed in making this recipe. As the recipe name indicates, they are crispy, rather than soft.
Check out this recipe

24. Mandarin Orange Coffee Cake – Recipes of New Zealand

24. Mandarin Orange Coffee Cake

This makes a super moist bundt cake. I've served it at brunch or as a dessert. Dust with powdered sugar when completely cooled.
Check out this recipe

25. Salmon and Chive Muffins – New Zealand Food

25. Salmon and Chive Muffins

These are good sliced in half and spread with cream cheese or just butter if preferred. I used a can of pink salmon and made some into normal size muffins as well as some mini size muffins.

A lovely savory muffin with wonderful flavor. Smoked salmon can be used, it is perfect, and the chives set it off beautifully.
Check out this recipe

26. Traditional Lamb Shoulder Roast – New Zealand Recipes

26. Traditional Lamb Shoulder Roast

It's no secret that Australians and New Zealanders love lamb. They eat it by the rack, in a stew, and as biryani (an Indian lamb and rice dish). But perhaps one of their favorite ways to prepare this tender meat is to roast it.

This recipe is very easy, and once you taste its marvelous flavor, you'll likely want to put this into your regular meal rotation, perhaps with some mint sauce on the side, as Australians often do.
Check out this recipe

27. Pan-Fried Trout With Garlic and Lemon – Recipes of New Zealand

27. Pan-Fried Trout With Garlic and Lemon

This recipe for pan-fried trout uses simple ingredients—garlic, lemon juice, and a little butter—to let the subtle flavor of this delicious fish shine through. All the fillets need are buttery mashed potatoes and roasted cherry tomatoes for a stellar meal. Luckily, the two sides are included in this recipe, creating a perfect dinner for two.
Check out this recipe

You might also like some of the articles from our website about recipes from other countries.

17 Heartwarming Traditional Irish Food & Recipes
24 Best German Food and Recipes
My 15 Favorite Traditional Norwegian Recipes
16 Great Recipes for Scottish Food
14 Truly Great Traditional English Recipes

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