Pulling from the land, sea and Māori tradition, New Zealand is an exciting food destination defined by innovative chefs, a fervent appreciation for locally sourced products and a diversity of ingredients to work with in the kitchen.
Its thriving agricultural economy and 14,000 kilometers (about 8,700 miles) of coastline put dishes like green-lipped mussels, slow-roasted sweet potatoes and fish and chips on menus throughout the island nation, while an abundance of sweet treats, such as pavlova and hokey pokey, balance out the often organic and healthy Kiwi diet.
Adding to the foodie adventure, New Zealand’s variable climate and cooler seas from north to south bring new ingredients and local specialties to regional tables across the nation. Avocado, nuts and citrus fruits are freshest in the north near Auckland, while lamb and beef are best sampled on New Zealand’s South Island and in the Hawke’s Bay region. The seafood varies by latitude as well, with snapper, hapuku, tarakihi and flounder more common in the north and grouper, sole, brill, blue cod and turbot plentiful in the south.
While the fjords of Milford Sound and the neck-craning heights of Mount Cook leave lasting impressions long after your trip comes to an end, prepare yourself for New Zealand’s cuisine to do the same.
With its extensive list of fine restaurants, locally produced ingredients, Pacific Rim and Māori influences and award-winning wines to pair with every meal, the gastronomic experience in New Zealand is top notch.
As New Zealanders have become increasingly more ingredient aware, chefs are careful to stock only the freshest, highest-quality products on their menus. This means many of New Zealand’s dining establishments are of the farm-to-table and sea-to-table varieties, and their menus often list exactly what farm or angler the food came from.
Yes, the dining landscape in New Zealand is sophisticated and quality oriented, but it’s also relaxed and laid back, especially during the summer months, when meals are popularly enjoyed alfresco.