We know that the culinary experiences of a country go hand in hand with travelling. There’s no better end to a day exploring New Zealand than sitting down with a glass of Central Otago Pinot Noir in hand and being served a beautifully made kiwi meal. At MoaTrek, we focus on quality food & wine experiences – we incorporate everything from down-to-earth cafes with a passion for fresh, local fare to a gourmet wine tasting tour at a premier vineyard.

But what makes a quintessentially kiwi meal? Below, we’ve put together a guide to New Zealand’s favourite foods. We apologise in advance if your tummy starts rumbling. 

The ocean’s bounty

Being an island nation, New Zealand is big on fish and seafood. Our coastline is teeming with fish; local favourites include snapper, hapuka and the delicately-flavoured John Dory – best served lightly crumbed with lemon. One could say that fish and chips on the beach is a kiwi weekend institution, and Northland’s Maunganui Fish Shop serves some of the best in the country.  Scallops and mussels are restaurant staples, and delicious Bluff Oysters come into season during the New Zealand autumn. The rich waters off Kaikoura – an hour north of Christchurch – are famous for crayfish. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting New Zealand between September and November, don’t miss tasting some delicious whitebait fritters.

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From pasture to plate

With farming making up the backbone of the New Zealand economy, it’s no wonder we’re a country passionate about our meat. Succulent beef eye fillet or scotch - lightly cooked to perfection – is a specialty, as is roast lamb rump. One of the best red meats money can buy, the lean, flavoursome taste of venison is best served with Kumara (sweet potato) and a glass of full-bodied merlot. 

Rivers and lakes teeming with life

A country home to trophy-size trout and salmon, New Zealand offers ample opportunities to dine on the delicate and delicious taste of these fresh-water fish. Kiwis love cooking their fly fishing bounty for breakfast, lunch or dinner. New Zealand salmon is found in the central South Island, and is commonly served in restaurants with rice or risotto and a slice of lemon. Trout thrives in most inland waterways, and is served predominantly in upper-end game restaurants. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy trout or salmon in New Zealand, rest assured that it will be as fresh as possible – chefs here are passionate about getting the fish from the water to the plate in the smallest amount of time possible.

Artisan offerings

A recent trend towards boutique local farming, sustainability and fresh, seasonal ingredients has created an array of beautiful artisan food specialities. From boutique cheese makers to passionate olive growers and organic bakers, artisans are leading a revolution in the way New Zealanders think about food. Head to a farmer’s market to taste the best of what’s on offer from local producers.

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Raiding the Orchard

Raiding Grandma’s orchard on a hot summer’s day is a fond memory many kiwis have. The stone fruits grown in Central Otago and Nelson are second to none – delicious cherries, apricots and nectarines are juicy and plump. A kiwi favourite, Feijoas are a small, green, slightly tart fruit that comes into season for around 6 weeks during Autumn. Northland’s Kerikeri is the citrus capital of the country; oranges, mandarins and grapefruits here are second-to-none. Strawberries grown just out of Auckland during summer are delicious – a punnet or two is the perfect accompaniment to any picnic lunch. 

All of our tours incorporate unique, quality local culinary experiences – we’d love to chat to you about how we can make your dream New Zealand vacation a reality. Get in touch now, or take a look at our tour here.

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