Must-not-miss experiences when trying New Zealand cuisine

New Zealand is indeed a paradise for food and wine addicts, so putting all of the suggested ideas below in the New Zealand itinerary is highly recommended. 


1.    Visit the wine fields

New Zealand is renowned for a huge amount of worldwide exported wine, making it become the island of wine. Thereby, wine is the first thing you need to try when visiting New Zealand, at least a sip of wine if you are not a wine lover. In addition, New Zealand offers 10 popular wine fields that allow tourists to visit and explore. Walking or cycling along the wine trail surely leaves you unforgettable memories with fresh air enjoyment. 


Walking along wine fields


Heading to Marlborough, Martinborough or Hawks Bay for a wine tour is commonly chosen by tourists. Those wine fields offer tourists various services and wine tours depending on the case of each people: cycling then lunching and tasting a slight drink before backing to the accommodation. Visitors can freely discover the wine fields by themselves or with local guides. Along the way of enjoying the field’s beauty, you can learn about history, geography, culture, and people there.    




2.    Have a dish full of fresh seafood

New Zealand is a country full of port cities and boasts about 15,000 kilometers of coastlines. It is not to mention the potential river and lake where precious salmon and trout can be found. Therefore, with these favorable conditions, fresh fish is one of the best specialty in New Zealand. Either in North or South Island can you find a true seafood restaurant for a gourmet.

North Island

Wellington and Auckland must be the first cities to be mentioned in terms of port cities and white sand beaches. From the gourmet experiences, you should head to the Auckland fish markets where the local people will help you make the most of your choice and even give you the best recipes for cooking unwell-known fish. However, in recent years, this iconic market has been refurbished with new eateries, world-class fishmonger, bringing more luxury experiences for gourmets. 



Daily fresh fish sold at the markets are caught from the Hauraki Gulf with a wide selection of different species, making it an interesting destination for both domestic and international visitors. 


There are so many other restaurants on the waterfront in Russel, and the Gables restaurant will be a good suggestion for you due to its location in a historical building and a menu that will please different demands. In addition, visiting Whitianga (a town in the Waikato Region of New Zealand's North, located on Mercury Bay) at the right time of the Scallop festival will be surely a good chance for seafood lovers to try this specialty in New Zealand.  



The Whitianga scallop festival is a celebration of Whitianga marine heritage, which is held every September.  



The seasons for the booming of fresh scallop runs from October to March. 


South Island

Southern New Zealand is home to many rare and precious fish that tourists must try once they come to the country. Do not hesitate to tempt your taste buds with below special seafood in New Zealand:

  • Kaikoura: There is no better place to eat than Kaikoura because it is the crayfish/ lobster capital of New Zealand. To taste the freshest “catch of the day”, try the Kaikoura Seafood BBQ - a beachside shack that feeds hordes of hungry visitors to the nearby seal colony. 
  • Mt Cook Salmon: New Zealand accounts for over half of the world’s production of King Salmon. Living in the fresh, swift and cool water, King Salmon is rich in healthy Omega 3 and natural oil that is very nutritious for the human heart, blood, and immune system.


Mt Cook Alpine Salmon

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon is commonly served as sashimi in fine dining restaurants. 


  • Green-lipped mussels: that kind of seafood can be eaten all year round, but it is better to have them around Marlborough. There is nothing better than having a glass of Marlborough wine and indulging in this local delicacy. 


Furthermore, Moeraki, which is a small fishing village, is also a good place to indulge in seafood taken from Moeraki Bay. The menu offered to tourists is very fresh because it depends on the amount of catch of the day. 


3.    Cook “Māori Hāngī” with Māori people 

In addition to the special “Haka” dance, Māori people are also known for their unusual way of cooking with the Hangi oven. They’ve maintained this traditional style of cooking for a thousand years. The indispensable ingredients when cooking in the Māori oven is meat (pork, beef, chicken, mutton, …) and vegetables (pea, carrot, pumpkin, …). They are all placed on a hot stone, covered with several layers of leaves and soil for about 3-4 hours until cooked. However, to ensure the hygienic reason, nowadays, Māori people use foil papers instead of leaves. 




To indulge in the real Hangi made by the Māori, tourists should come to Rotorua, where bubbling mud pools are located. You can enjoy the out-of-this-world scenery and explore this traditional cuisine at the same time, what an extraordinary experience! 



Taste the smoky flavors from the natural hot spot will warm you after a long walk. 


4.    Wake up early in the morning and heading to farmer’s market 

It will be a big mistake if you just have breakfast reserved in the hotel. For instead, you should go out and mingle with local people. The farmer’s market is initially open with the purpose of supporting local food and giving customers access to regional products. As time flies, many international travelers consider local markets as a good place to explore the seasonal delicacy of the region they visit.  

Here are some suggested local markets formed by farmers that welcome all visitors in New Zealand:

  • La Cigale: this is a French-style market, so that is the reason why crepe, cheese can be found here. Moreover, there is a wide selection of top quality products from not only New Zealand artisans but also overseas producers.  



Most markets in New Zealand occur on weekend mornings.


  • Matakana Famer’s market: Only an hour driving from the north of Auckland, Matakana is a true food heaven with many food boutiques and spectacular vineyards. 
  • Harbourside Market: Not only sell farm products, but the market is also filled with jewelry and clothes.
  • Hawke's Bay Farmers Market: It is one of the oldest farmers’ markets in New Zealand. Every Sunday, a playground area is set up for children to draw, read books, play toys, … while waiting for their parents. 


5.    Pick your own local fruit and go fishing  

New Zealand witnesses a booming of fruit between December and June. New Zealand boasts all sorts of berries and stone fruit in summer, while pears, apples, and citrus come on in autumn. However, most farmers welcome visitors to pick the freshest fruit on their farm. Picking your own is a fun way to experience the countryside and taste fruit fresh from the source. The fruit is surely fresh and clean from the market stall to the salad bowl. 



Be noted that you must check the time that farms are open for self-picking.


Besides, you can drive to Huka Prawn Farm, which takes you only 10 minutes from the north of Taupo. The farm offers guests with fishing service, allows guests to fish prawns from the farm’ ponds after buying entrance tickets. Once you fill your bags with prawns, you can cook them in the riverside restaurant or take them home. 


Before booking your 2020 trip to New Zealand, remember to check whether these activities are included in the itinerary plan. Getting New Zealand Visit eTA, there will be no barriers stopping you from exploring New Zealand culture. 


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