Activities,  Food Trail

Unique local food in New Zealand

Trying new food in the place you are visiting is always an amazing experience, but we understand it may be overwhelming to find out what you should actually try. Everywhere you go, there will be people who swear by a certain dish! But fret not, because we have compiled a list of quintessential New Zealand food you can eat until you are full – or, as the New Zealanders say, chocka!



Given that New Zealand’s national bird is the Kiwi, you would be forgiven for thinking this burger is a delicacy containing the bird’s meat. Thankfully, no feathered friends were harmed in the making of this dish. Interestingly, there are also no kiwi fruits involved! Created in 1976, the burger consists of a juicy beef patty, a fried egg, tomato, lettuce, cheese, onions, mustard, ketchup, and, the most important component of all – beetroot. Sandwiched between two fluffy buns, the combination is nothing short of amazing. If you have doubts, just know that McDonald’s put it on their menu and other notable burger joints have done the same!


Where to try:

The White Lady,

Corner Commerce Street &, Fort Street, Auckland 1010, New Zealand


Whitebait Fritters

Similar to anchovies, whitebait are tiny freshwater fish that can be eaten whole. In the spring, these little creatures travel upstream from the sea, swimming in shoals near the river’s edge – a delight to watch. Like with any other good dish, there’s more to it. The secret is cooking them in a warm, fluffy omelette, served with slices of buttered white bread and a lemon. Uncomplicated and oozing in flavour, this easy-to-eat dish will keep you snacking non-stop. 


Where to try:

Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill,

Ferry Building Level 1/99 Quay Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1001, New Zealand


Māori Hāngī 

Tradition sees the Māori people cooking in an underground pit called hāngi, with the food wrapped in flax leaves. Nowadays, the dishes are usually wrapped in cloth, aluminium foil or wire baskets instead. The food is then put into foil containers and covered, to be placed on hot stones at the bottom of the hāngi. To retain moisture and prevent heat from escaping, the wrapped food is covered with a wet cloth and a mound of earth, then left to cook for 3-4 hours. While fish, chicken and sweet potatoes are the traditional choice, contemporary versions offer pork, mutton, lamb, pumpkin, cabbage and stuffing. The long, arduous process results in fragrant, tender meat infused with an incredible earthy taste you can’t really replicate above ground!


Where to try:

Go on a Tamaki Māori Village Tour, where the hāngi cooking is part of the experience.



For better understanding, kina is basically sea urchin. This traditional food of the Māori people is usually eaten raw, the method being to crack open its shell with a rock and remove the roe by hand. Other methods of eating include deep frying it, and even more interestingly, in a pie! The creamy, briny taste is rich on the tongue, making it not something all can appreciate. For most, it is an acquired taste. 


Where to try:

Sea Urchin NZ,

1047 Purangi Road, Whitianga, New Zealand


Huhu Grubs

The larvae of huhu beetles are commonly known as huhu grubs, and hatch from eggs. They live in wood cavities for two to three years before reaching a pupal stage which lasts for 25 days. After that, they come out as adult huhu beetles. When cooking, the grubs produce their own natural oil so there is no need for oil or butter – all organic! With a texture like that of peanut butter and a taste like buttery chicken, this delicacy will easily be your new favorite snack. 


Where to find:

During the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival (


Feel like visiting New Zealand yet? Check out Traveloka to inspire your trip. 


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