New Zealand Foods and Drinks You Must Try

Find out all you need to know about the best New Zealand food and drinks before your trip.

Nestled in the heart of the Pacific, New Zealand boasts a culinary scene that harmoniously blends indigenous Maori traditions with contemporary influences, resulting in a feast for the senses. From the succulent freshness of Kiwi lamb to the irresistible allure of the iconic Pavlova, New Zealand’s culinary offerings are as diverse as its breathtaking scenery. In this article, we delve into the delectable world of New Zealand cuisine, exploring the fusion of local ingredients, cultural influences, and the artisanal craftsmanship that defines the Kiwi dining experience.

  • New Zealand’s food culture is deeply rooted in the country’s lush landscapes and agricultural abundance.
  • Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, have a rich culinary heritage that significantly influences the country’s food culture.
  • New Zealand’s culinary landscape reflects the country’s multicultural society, with influences from European, Asian, and Pacific Island cuisines. The fusion of these diverse culinary traditions has given rise to a dynamic and eclectic food scene.

Must-Try New Zealand Foods

Here are the top dishes of the New Zealand food scene that will help you eat like a local:


A quintessential Māori culinary tradition, Hangi involves slow-cooking food using heated rocks buried in an earth oven. Meats, vegetables, and sometimes seafood are placed on the hot stones, covered with wet cloths and earth, and left to cook for several hours. This method imparts a unique smoky flavor to the food, creating a communal and celebratory meal often enjoyed during special occasions.


The Pavlova, a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, is an iconic Kiwi sweet treat. Crisp on the outside and marshmallow-soft on the inside, the Pavlova is typically topped with whipped cream and a colorful array of fresh fruits. This light and indulgent dessert is a favorite during festive occasions and summer gatherings.

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Fish and Chips

A classic dish with British roots, fish and chips have become a beloved staple in New Zealand. Fresh fish, often hoki or snapper, is coated in a light batter and deep-fried until golden. Served with a generous portion of hot chips (French fries), this seaside delicacy is commonly enjoyed with a side of tartar sauce and a sprinkle of salt and vinegar

Whitebait Fritters

New Zealand is famous for its whitebait, young fish caught in rivers during their migration. Whitebait fritters are a popular dish where these tiny, delicate fish are mixed with a simple batter of egg and flour, then pan-fried until golden. The result is a deliciously delicate fritter that allows the natural flavor of the whitebait to shine through.

Kumara (Sweet Potato) Wedges

Kumara, a sweet potato variety, is a staple in New Zealand cuisine. Often used as a side dish, kumara wedges are sliced and roasted until they caramelize, creating a sweet and savory combination. This dish showcases the versatility of local produce and adds a distinctive Kiwi touch to the traditional roasted vegetable experience.

Afghan Biscuits

Despite its name, Afghan Biscuits have become a beloved and iconic Kiwi dessert. These chocolatey treats consist of a simple biscuit base made with butter, sugar, flour, and cocoa powder, which is then topped with chocolate icing and a half walnut. The combination of rich, crumbly biscuit, sweet chocolate icing, and the crunch of the walnut creates a delightful texture and flavor profile. Afghan Biscuits are a classic sweet indulgence often enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee.

Must-Try New Zealand Drinks

Flat White

The Flat White, a coffee creation that has gained international acclaim, originated in New Zealand. This espresso-based drink is made with velvety microfoam, creating a smooth and creamy texture. It strikes a perfect balance between the strength of espresso and the silky texture of steamed milk. The Flat White has become a coffee culture icon, reflecting New Zealand’s commitment to exceptional coffee craftsmanship.

Feijoa Liqueur

New Zealand’s unique flora contributes to the creation of distinctive beverages, and Feijoa Liqueur is a prime example. Feijoa, a green fruit with a tropical and slightly tangy flavor, is used to infuse the liqueur. The result is a sweet and fragrant spirit that captures the essence of this native fruit. Whether enjoyed on its own or as part of a cocktail, Feijoa Liqueur offers a taste of New Zealand’s local flavors in a refreshing and innovative way.

Tours visiting New Zealand

Best Of Northern New Zealand

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