Local Food Guide: Get a Taste of New Zealand

With rich landscapes, plenty of inland places that are still close to the sea, and a good climate, it is no wonder that New Zealand has a thriving agricultural industry. Especially known for its succulent lamb and the native kiwi fruit, there are plenty of other tasty dishes to try when you’re travelling around New Zealand.

Want to know what to expect? Here are some of the most popular local dishes to sink your teeth into in New Zealand:

Mince Pies

Very different to the sweet and fruity Christmassy fare in the UK, New Zealand’s mince pies are savoury pies that are filled with meaty goodness and gravy. Some types contain a mixture of vegetables too. A popular take away amongst locals, why not grab one for lunch or on your way back to your accommodation at the end of the day?

Sausage Sizzle

Another meaty snack, a sausage sizzle is very much like a hotdog; it’s a sausage on white bread with lashings of tomato ketchup and / or mustard, topped with crunchy fried onions. Once you try one, you’re likely to want more!


Tuatua is a type of shellfish that is found in the waters around New Zealand. Its fairly mild flavour makes it a hit with people who don’t like their seafood to taste too “fishy”. Soft and succulent, tuatua were originally a Maori delicacy but are now enjoyed by all people countrywide.

Colonial Goose

Don’t be fooled by the name – it’s likely that a goose has never even clapped eyes on this popular dish! It is actually made from leg of lamb! It was created by early pioneers who missed their favourite dishes from back at home. To try and replicate the goose that they enjoyed previously, they improvised with a boned leg of lamb, stuffing it with onion, herbs, and breadcrumbs, and adding a sweet twist with apricots and honey, before soaking it in a red-wine sauce to cook.


Kumara are sweet potatoes, usually baked in a traditional earth oven, a hangi. Filling and tasty, there are no many ways of enjoying the humble root veg, including as chips, wedges, and croquettes.


A true New Zealand favourite, the small fish of whitebait is typically prepared as a crunchy fritter. The flour and egg coating creates a deliciously crispy batter that is sure to make your taste buds ant to sing! The best months to enjoy this treat are August and September.

Spaghetti on Toast

A simple but well-loved meal, this is exactly what it sounds like – lots of canned spaghetti with tomato sauce on a slice of toasted bread, which is then topped with cheese and grilled so that the cheese is soft, bubbling, and piping hot.

Paraoa Parai

Created by the Maoris, you’ll find paraoa parai in almost all food markets and bakeries. Essentially fried bread, it can be served with stews and soups or enjoyed as a sweet treat with the addition of jam, honey, etc


One of New Zealand’s native fruits, it is sweet and juicy with a particularly appetising scent. Available in greengrocers and markets, it’s packed full of goodness and tastes great too!

Hokey Pokey

Despite its really funny name, hokey pokey is taken really seriously in New Zealand, so much so, in fact, that it is estimated that around five million litres of hokey pokey are enjoyed in the country each and every year!

Providing a great sugar hit on a warm day, it consists of smooth vanilla ice cream with deliciously crunchy pieces of caramalised sugar mixed into it.

Try a hearty boil up in the colder months, fill up on Anzac biscuits or afghans, and indulge your sweet tooth with lolly cake or pavlova.

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