We know you love food, and New Zealand cuisine is going to satisfy your appetite even more.

When people talk about holidays, it is inevitable to avoid talking about food. To some tourists, food is the sole reason why they go on holidays!

Sure, you can have some Japanese food at your local sushi bar or perhaps grab a bite of the famous pizza downtown, but surely you want to try something truly authentic, right?

New Zealand food is no different. You can try “New Zealand” cuisine in your hometown but nothing beats the original.

The country’s food scene is delicious all over; from the quality of the ingredients, to how it’s cooked, even to how it’s served – you’d struggle to find a country with such excellent food quality.

With its booming farming economy, New Zealand cuisine focuses heavily on using local produce and seafood which means there is almost no imported food. This makes New Zealand dishes extra fresh and even cheaper than its imported counterparts.

For example, freshly prepared lamb, extremely marbled beef, and freshly plucked fruits are available and can be purchased at worthwhile prices all over the country.

New Zealand food history

The country’s gastronomy was first influenced by the British many, many years ago. Without meaning to offend the Brits, New Zealand cuisine used to be prepared and presented exactly the same as British cuisine which made for a stale dining experience.

Roughly 20 years ago, a cultural revolution among New Zealand chefs gave birth to many modern-day New Zealand dishes which began to impart its own unique flavour and style as well as slowly departing from the British tradition.

Modern Kiwi cuisine is a mixture of many cultures with flavours based on American, Australian, Mediterranean, and even Asian cooking. So, a dish made with basil, sun-dried tomatoes, ginger, and coconut (which are ingredients from different cultures) is not out of place in New Zealand.

This ideology spread out to every restaurant in New Zealand which is why if you head into a Kiwi restaurant today, the menu would be incredibly diverse and varied in ingredients to the point where you’d be hard-pressed to make a choice!

How does a typical New Zealand meal day look like?


A typical New Zealand breakfast is simple. Kiwis start off with cereal and toast accompanied by a cup of coffee, tea, freshly made orange juice, or local milk. Unlike Americans, cooked breakfast is not very common except during the weekends.

A cooked breakfast can be made at home obviously but is also ordered at restaurants. This breakfast is similar to an American breakfast; toast, ham, sausages, baked beans, and eggs are served on a plate alongside a drink of your choice.


Kiwis don’t really have a heavy lunch as dinner is the main course of the day. Sometimes, they may have had a cooked breakfast in the morning so they won’t feel too hungry during lunch.

Usually, New Zealanders enjoy sandwiches, meat pies, or salads for lunch. Sunday roasts are eaten during the weekend when locals have time to spare. A Sunday roast is made up of roast beef, roast potatoes, and pumpkins; it’s easy to make but this hearty dish is incredibly delicious and flavour-packed – even to tourists!


Dinner is the main meal of the day and is eaten around 6-7 p.m. which is early compared to some countries. Dinner dishes are usually made up of potatoes (or another form of carbohydrates), vegetables, and a meat of choice.

The most common dinner in New Zealand is fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. Although they are not that healthy, fish and chips are affordable and very easy to take away from restaurants.

Iconic New Zealand food dishes you must try on your trip


Pavlova dessert

Pavlova is an extremely popular dessert not only in New Zealand but also other parts of the world. This country favourite got its name from a Russian ballerina who spent some time touring New Zealand and Australia during the 1920s.

New Zealanders love their pavlova so much that tensions will arise if you say that the dessert is from Australia – that’s how much the pavlova means to the country.

So, what’s the big deal about it anyway?

Pavlova is a meringue covered in tropical fruits like kiwis or strawberries without the texture of a meringue. Instead of being soft, the pavlova has a crispy outer layer with a thick, almost marshmallow-like feeling in the middle of the dessert.

Pavlova is served at many restaurants and even homes all over the country especially during summer. If you have time, try looking for authentic pavlovas made from the locals – you’ll love it!


Hangi meal preparation

Hangi is not actually a dish but a method of cooking practiced by the Maori and is still done today.

It works this way; a deep pit is dug to cook the food. Stones are intensely heated and thrown into the pit, almost like an oven. Next, meat and vegetables are wrapped in leaves, filled in big baskets, then put in the pit.

Finally, the pit is covered with dirt and the heated stones and you’ll need to wait for a few hours for your food to cook. While it sounds tedious and almost novel, a hangi meal is extremely delicious as you get a mixture of Polynesian and earthy flavours in your meat and vegetables.

Even if you are not a fan of smoked cooking, you should try a hangi meal at least once in your New Zealand trip – you won’t regret it!

Meat pies

The meat pie is a soft but crispy pastry with a meat filling which is either beef or lamb. This New Zealand food is served with ketchup (tomato sauce), exactly how the locals like to eat it.

What makes a New Zealand pie different from other pies?

If there are two things New Zealanders are proud of, it is rugby (almost like a religion in NZ) and meat pies. It’s so synonymous with the country that you can find meat pies virtually anywhere!

While you may enjoy meat pies somewhere else, there is a distinct, local flavour to New Zealand’s meat pies that make it so good and addicting.

Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

When you first arrive here as a first-time tourist, you’ll be surprised at how much the locals love their hokey pokey ice cream.

And no, these are NOT your regular ice cream!

The hokey pokey ice cream is a simple vanilla ice cream with honeycomb toffee toppings. Like the meat pies, you can find the hokey pokey ice cream anywhere in New Zealand because of its popularity.

What makes it so special then?

Firstly, it’s all about nostalgia. Many Kiwis grow up eating hokey pokey ice creams so naturally, they will tend to prefer it more than other established brands like Nestle or Ben and Jerry’s.

The next thing that makes it so great is its simplicity. Do you really need an ice cream with 10 different flavours and multiple toppings to go with it?

We don’t think so!

About the Road Trip

We have a reputation for preparation and detail that goes above and beyond – making excellent recommendations for your itinerary as well as including the best stops to enjoy the scenery and take memorable photos on your next time.

We offer a wide choice of Self Drive and private tour packages and you can select one based on your needs and travel expectations.

From an 5-day North Island private tour that covers the very best of the North Island to a 16-day adventure in New Zealand’s South Island, we’ve got your traveling needs covered

We’ll be more than happy to discuss your interests and the length of your stay, before putting together an itinerary that is tailored exclusively for you.

Click here to learn more.

What’s next?

Over here at The Road Trip, we have several tour packages on offer for visitors.

From a 18-day luxury tour that covers both the North and South island to a short 9-day luxury tour for those who don’t have too much time, we have it all.

You can have a look at our packages over at our main page.

We are one of the leading tour provider in New Zealand with a host of awards under our name. You can check out our client testimonials over here.

Have a look at our blog to read more articles like this.

To get in touch with us, send us an e-mail by heading over to this page or call us at 0800 4 ROADTRIP if you are in New Zealand or +64 3 668 1234 if you are outside of New Zealand.