Food and travel are the perfect partners and luckily for us New Zealand has plenty to offer for both. From the top of the North to the bottom of the South, there's sights to see, things to do and some of the best food and drink to taste. So if you're off on a Kiwi adventure check out our guide below to help you eat and drink your way around NZ.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Kiwi chefs have never received due respect for their contributions to global cuisine. Name a Michelin star who'd have the insouciance to add beetroot and fried egg to create the Kiwiburger, the culinary appropriation of an indigenous vegetable into kumara chips or foreshadow the planetary search for alternative proteins by serving huhu bugs?
Up and down – not to mention across and sideways – the four corners of Aotearoa, 8740 cafes, pubs, bistros, bakeries, takeaways and restaurants employ 71,220 staff to fry, bake, roast and poach every day, according to industry statistics.
That's a lot of food options, so to help narrow it down we asked locals and experts to tell us about the unique dishes in their towns and great spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Any food lover who has travelled with fussy kids will know it's a special kind of agony being in a city with magnificent culinary options but dining somewhere deeply average because your little angels needed chicken nuggets.
Don't despair, we've hunted out a few places around the country where everyone's a winner. Parents get fab food, kids get the chance to try something new - and there are "less-adventurous" options as a backup if everything goes to the wall.
Walking up an appetite
Perhaps one of life's greatest satisfactions is hunkering down trailside with a homemade sandwich and a handful of scroggin. The only thing that tops it? Rewarding yourself with a hot meal and a cool drink once the adventure is done.
Having trekked the trail and hiked the hill you deserve a good refuelling spot.
Winter comfort food
The best companion for cold weather is some seriously comforting nosh.
Savouring a few Bluff oysters is a delicious way to celebrate the cooler months and as they're in full swing till August, it's the perfect time to get your fill.
If seafood isn't your thing then why not treat yourself to a hot chocolate made with melted chocolate and cream. Or some Apres-ski eclairs as you make your way off the mountain this winter. There's plenty to choose from to keep you toasty this winter.
Meals that give back
Indulging and giving back don't have to be mutually exclusive — you can have your cake and eat it, too.
New Zealand has plenty of eating options that not only keep you well fed but also give back to the community. Whether it be through donating food to those in need, or promoting sustainable living, it's easy to find community-minded places to grab a bite.
The best New Zealand pubs
If you're looking for something a bit stronger than a bit to eat, don't panic, we've got you sorted on that front too.
At the centre of gravity in every regional New Zealand town you will find a public house.
It's a mythical place, decorated with three generations of sports memorabilia, a roaring log burner, and yarns that stretch time, space and credulity with each retelling.
A place where adventures start and perhaps some failures end.
You'll find it somewhere in the intersection of good food, within earshot of a battered jukebox and at the end of a long, meandering walk.
NZ's best wine and food festivals
Pinot noir in Martinborough, crayfish in Kaikōura, or whitebait on the West Coast? New Zealand regions love to put on a show to celebrate their local delicacies.
Although 2020 made it difficult to plan and carry out events, the remainder of this year is looking positive for the multitude of food and wine festivals and events planned around the country.
Some are old favourites back up and running, whereas others are brand new, launched to help support local hospitality and tourism economies recover from the pandemic.
So get out the calendar, block out some dates and start booking your flights to enjoy the best of New Zealand's culinary and mixology delights.