Blog view

Food in New Zealand

The cuisine is often a highlight of any New Zealand visit. New Zealand is home to a remarkable and unique food culture. With a fusion of diverse food cultures, emphasising fresh seasonal ingredients, New Zealand cuisine has a growing reputation worldwide.

Locally grown

For the uninitiated, the best place to start experiencing New Zealand cuisine is at one of the frequent national and regional food festivals that offer a wide range of gourmet food and boutique wine. These, along with farmers' markets that are held regularly in most towns highlight the abundance of fresh produce available.  

A growing movement of organic, wholefoods has brought a new awareness of food origin and quality. The farmers' markets display a variety of fresh produce along with homemade preserves, bread, wild honey and free-range eggs. Many New Zealanders do their entire weekly food shop at these kinds of markets, where an emphasis is placed on raw unprocessed ingredients at a reasonable price.

Quality fare

New Zealand’s laid back culture is reflected in the way food is prepared. Summer means barbeques outside while winter equals hearty meals by the fire.

Although upmarket eateries and fine-dining establishments continue to focus on gourmet gastronomy, kiwi home cooking is proving popular – and many boutique lodges and bed and breakfast establishments are offering an authentic kiwi food experience with foods such as roast lamb, fish and chips, pavlova, and a traditional Māori hangi.

A European influence

Early New Zealand food stems from a British Colonial heritage; meat, vegetables, pies and fish & chips were the original family fare, until an influx of European and Asian immigrants arrived in the 20th century, leading to an expansion of the kiwi palate.

Up until the late 1960’s families rarely went out for dinner – so fine dining in New Zealand is reasonably new. Although British meals are no longer a staple, fish and chips wrapped have remained a classic go-to and are served across the country. Other foods such as hokey-pokey ice cream, mussels, and pavlova are considered kiwi favourites, as well as a famous local drink Lemon and Paeroa (or L&P if you want to order like a local).

Fresh and Modern

Although best described as Pacific Rim, New Zealand cuisine is a fusion of cultures. Synonymous with fresh quality food, its gastronomic reputation is one of innovation and excellence and is renowned globally.

While New Zealand lamb is seen in fine dining establishments worldwide, this isn’t the only thing Kiwis do well. Fresh produce and just-caught seafood are staples in any restaurant, and enterprising chefs are continually finding new ways to treat ingredients.


Contact us for recommendations of the best restaurants and food experiences to add to your New Zealand tour.

Check out blogs in other categories

Custom New Zealand Road Trips

New Zealand is the perfect Road trip destination. Small enough to explore but diverse enough to surprise you. From the sub-tropical Bay of Islands in the north to the sub-antarctic of the south every corner offers stunning views or incredible experiences.
The team at NZ Road Trip have been creating tailor-made experiences since 2004 and being based right here in Wanaka, South Island NZ, their first hand knowledge ensures you get to see the best of NZ.

Our Road Trips can be as adventurous or as relaxing as you like. From the adrenaline packed Queenstown to the serene beaches of Coromandel and from the rugged West Coast of the South Island to the bustling cafe quarters in Auckland city we can design the perfect New Zealand itinerary for you.