Famous Foodie Hotspots in New Zealand

When you think about the ultimate travel destination, New Zealand ticks almost every box. Famous for its incomparable landscapes, adventure sports and strong cultural heritage, any holidaymaker is sure to come away a very happy customer after a trip to kiwi land.

All that sightseeing, hiking and general adventuring is sure to work up an appetite. If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that food and travel go hand in hand!

At Economy Car Hire, we are passionate about good grub. There’s no better way to treat your tastebuds then trying dishes from around the world.

New Zealand cuisine is essentially made up of three components: seafood, lamb and the Maori hangi. Where can you sample these delights, and what’s the best way to eat them?


With over 14,000km of coastline, New Zealand is a goldmine of amazing seafood. Whilst you can find the usual shellfish favourites on menus all over the country, New Zealand specialities to look out for include Marlborough green-lipped mussels, bluff oysters and whitebait fritters.

Green-lipped mussels are bigger and juicier than the ones we’re used to in the UK. The kiwis serve them up in a variety of mouth-watering ways. Steamed with white wine and garlic or grilled with bacon and cheese are just two of the most popular variations. Head to Havelock where these tasty morsels grow in abundance in the clear, clean waters. Although both male and female mussels are deliciously sweet, plump and tender, the meat of one is creamy whilst the other is orange. But who can tell us which is which?

If you’re visiting in May, be sure to slurp down a Bluff oyster. These are only in season for a short period of time and not to be missed if you’ve got the chance to try one. Purported to be the best in the world, New Zealand has come up with a few sumptuous ways to consume them. Fished in the Foveaux Strait, these oysters are traditionally served fresh in the shell and seawater that they came in. Just add a squeeze of lemon and a dash of vinegar. If you like a bit more bite to your mouthful, then when not try them battered!

Unlike the whitebait we would recognise in the UK, New Zealand whitebait more closely resembles tiny translucent eels. These are fished and collected en masse in rivers and eaten whole in buttery whitebait fritters. The batter for the fritters is prepared using just egg and a little flour; it’s almost like a whitebait omelette! As a starter the fritters are simply served hot with a squeeze of lemon juice, whilst a main dish will come accompanied with asparagus and hollandaise sauce.

Maori Hangi


There are approximately seven sheep per person in New Zealand. It therefore should come as no great surprise that lamb is a popular dish amongst the kiwis. Most commonly eaten at Sunday roast, Lamb is traditionally dished up roasted with garlic and rosemary and served slightly pink with mint sauce.

Alternatively, New Zealanders are also partial to a hot meat pie. Loaded with lamb and gravy and topped with flaky pastry, these wholesome warming delights can be found at the majority of cafés, delis and takeaways. Great for lunch on the go or a mid-afternoon snack!

Maori Hangi

A Maori hangi meal is a quintessential dish to feast on when in New Zealand. Make the trip to Rotorua for the ultimate Maori eating experience! Eating is a very important part of the Maori culture and the hangi meal is the most famous.

The process of laying or putting down a hangi is fascinating to watch as meat and vegetables are steam cooked under the earth on hot volcanic stones. This traditional way of cooking gives the food a delicious smoky flavour. The hangi dining experience is an ancient tribal feast and a distinct dining experience you will always remember.

The hangi method was and still is today a popular practice in Rotorua thanks to the high levels of geothermal activity in the area. Hot steam shoots out of the ground almost everywhere you look, making the preparation of a hangi meal considerably easier.

So, not only is New Zealand a top destination for action packed adventure and breath-taking landscapes, it’s also a treat for your tastebuds making it an unforgettable experience for all your senses! Whilst the dishes mentioned are New Zealand’s most famous, the kiwis can rustle up a wide variety of tasty treats. Simply ask what’s seasonal or regional and you’re guaranteed to be delighted with nothing less than a true New Zealand special.

Written by Jessica Langlands from Economy Car Hire