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.