The 21 Best New Zealand Eats

Food. One of my favorite subjects…and New Zealand has a lot to offer in that department. From fruit and brekkie to drinks and dessert, you’ll never go hungry in NZ. These are 21 of the best foods (and drinks) to try:

  1. Lamb.                           new zealand food

    • Remember how there are more sheep than people in New Zealand? Well, that means you can get your fill of lamb pretty much anywhere you want. I never thought of myself as a big lamb person, but NZ changed me. Lamb salads are popular and delicious, but my personal favorite would have to be Pedro’s House of Lamb. We had it our very first night in NZ when we got to Christchurch. We had walked past the food cart earlier in the day, and it smelled like heaven. Food trucks always make me a little nervous, and I was especially hesitant since it was our first night in a new country. Buttt, it smelled so good. We walked over, saw that you could order a half rack of lamb with rosemary potatoes for $35, and it served two people. Seemed like a great deal. We must’ve looked like we had no idea what we were doing because a local asked, “Have you never had this before?” When we replied “no” she said, “Oh! You’re in for a real treat!” Say that in a kiwi accent. She was right. It was amazeballs and one of our favorite meals to this day.
  2. Wedges with sour cream & sweet chili sauce

    • The perfect side dish. Make sure to mix the sweet chili sauce and sour cream for an unbeatable combination.
  3. Flat White                  new zealand food

    • New Zealand has some of the best coffee, and while they have cappuccinos and americanos like you’re probably used to, flat whites are where it’s at, in my opinion. Double (or single if you’re weak like me) shot of espresso and steamed milk. It’s so good, one is never enough, but then I end up shaking all day.
  4. Eggs Benedict

    • If you’re at a café, you can pretty much guarantee eggs benny will be on the menu. It’s an extremely popular breakfast dish, or maybe I just have an addiction?
  5. Poached Eggs

    • Poached eggs are obviously a main ingredient in Eggs Benedict, but they’re so good they deserve their own section. It seemed that most breakfast options included poached eggs rather than any other type of egg. Lets just say if New Zealand was Julia Roberts’ boyfriend in Runaway Bride, she’d like her eggs poached. Anybody?
  6. Haloumi

    • Being from Wisconsin, I have a thing for cheese, and New Zealand has a thing for Haloumi. Since I have a thing for New Zealand, I also have a thing for Haloumi. Make sense?
  7. Muesli & Yogurt

    • Another breakfast staple in Kiwi country, and one of my personal favorites. Greek yogurt, homemade granola, some fruit, maybe a little honey, I don’t know, the possibilities are endless.
  8. Hokey Pokey

    • Ice cream to die for. Vanilla with caramel swirls that have a little crunch to them. Eating this is experiencing another aspect of New Zealand’s culture, so you don’t have to feel guilty for indulging. Call it immersing yourself in the culture.
  9. Tim Tams

    • Same goes for these guys. They have all sorts of flavors, including dark chocolate, caramel, red velvet, and more, but you better go original the first time. Try not to eat the whole sleeve in one sitting.
  10. Fergburger

    • If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand, you’ve probably heard of Fergburger. It’s a famous burger joint in Queenstown that always seems to have a line out the door. The burgers are humongous, scrumptious, and definitely heart healthy. Mrs. Ferg is next door for ice cream and milkshakes. And the people that work there are the nicest of the nice Kiwis in New Zealand.
  11. Lemon, lime & bitters

    • When somebody ordered this my first night bartending, I had no idea where to begin. Should I squeeze some lemon and lime into a glass? I learned that lemon means lemonade which means Sprite in NZ. Start with that, add some lime juice, shake some bitters, and you’ve got yourself a pretty refreshing beverage. I prefer to add vodka to mine, but to each their own.
  12. Beetroot

    • Just like New Zealand turned me into a lamb person, I have a new addiction to beets. They like to add beets to salads, especially lamb salads, and that my friend, is a dynamic duo.
  13. Green mussels

    • NZ doesn’t just have mussels, they have green mussels. My only complaint is that the mussel capital of the world, Havelock, was out of mussels on a day we were there…some things just can’t be explained.
  14. Fish & Chips

    • A typical lunch and dinner item, and you really can’t go wrong. Although it does get confusing when half the people refer to fries and chips and the other half refer to fries as fries.
  15. Sauvignon Blanc    new zealand food

    • New Zealand makes some of the best in the world. Make sure to refer to it as sav if you want to sound like a local.
  16. Breakfast                  liebster

    • Have I talked about breakfast enough yet? Seriously, some of the best breakfasts I’ve had happened in NZ. Ritual in Blenheim and Vudu in Queenstown were just a couple of my favs.
  17. Kumara

    • Kind of like sweet potato.
  18. Pies!!

    • Steak and cheese, mince and cheese, mmmm, so good. A pack of 6 frozen pies is one of the cheapest things you can buy in the grocery store, but you’re going to want to go for the fresh ones. They’re simple, yet so fulfilling, especially from the local BP station at 4 in the morning. Don’t forget the ketchup aka tomato sauce.
  19. Passion fruit

    • So yummy. Grab a spoon and scoop or get creative with your own fresh fruit juice.
  20. Feijoa

    • While not my personal favorite, it’s very typical, so you’ve gotta try it. You’ll see a sign for it on the side of the road at some point – follow the arrows, and consider it an adventure.
  21. Anzac Biscuits

    • An oat cookie associated with the Australia New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and often used as a fundraiser around Anzac Day, a day in which New Zealanders remember the soldiers who fought in World War I – a very significant day in NZ’s history (April 25th).

A few other tips for eating in NZ:

  • Water is free, and a jug will most likely be brought to your table right away or located somewhere in the restaurant where you can serve yourself.
  • Tipping is not necessary.
  • Silverware is called cutlery.
  • Go to the front/bar to pay at the end. It’s not typical for servers to bring the bill to the table.
  • It’s also rare that you’ll have one specific server. One person might bring you water, another may take your order, and a different person could bring out your food.
  • Totals will be rounded to the nearest 10th…there are no 1 cent or 5 cent pieces in New Zealand.
  • Credit cards are accepted everywhere. They use Eftpos machines. If you’re card has a chip, insert it, if it doesn’t, swipe it. Swiping means you’ll have to sign the receipt.
  • An average meal will cost between $15-20NZD.
  • Alcohol is expensive. Beer/Mixers are between $7-10NZD. Cocktails will be around $15, and wine has a wide range… starting around $7/glass.

Bon appetit!

Want to know some of my favorite restaurants? Check out the different city guides, like Wanaka, Rotorua, Wellington, Queenstown, and more! What are your favorite New Zealand eats?

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