28 May 2019

10 Must-Try Kiwi Foods in New Zealand

If you're heading to New Zealand, be sure to try some of our much-loved and iconic Kiwi cuisine. Although there are some similarities to Australian and British, New Zealand has some very distinct foods that are must-tries as you can’t find them anywhere else!

Here are ten of our top favourite Kiwi foods to try in New Zealand:

Hokey Pokey ice cream

No trip to the beach is complete without our most well-loved ice cream flavour. Hokey Pokey is a creamy vanilla ice cream flecked with golden nuggets of honeycomb toffee. Tip Top ice cream is the most popular in New Zealand and any flavour made by them is a winner. If you go for a double scoop, try Goody Goody Gum Drops as well. It’s another unique Kiwi taste made up of a green bubble gum flavour bursting with gumdrops.

Meat pies

A popular on-the-go meal for many Kiwis, pies are hand-sized pastries filled with meat and gravy. Mince and cheese is always a classic and even better when paired with Watties tomato sauce. A good pie should have golden, flaky pastry on the outside. You can find hot pies from any bakery, dairy, supermarket and service station. My all-time favourite pies in the country are from Fergbaker in Queenstown (next door to Fergburger).

NZ Chocolate & Lollies

New Zealand sure knows how to do chocolate and you can’t go wrong with any made by the biggest and most-loved brand, Whittakers. Their family-sized blocks come in many delicious and unique flavours. If you like nuts, go for a classic bar-sized Whittaker's peanut slab. Other special Kiwi chocolate to try include Moro Bars, Crunchies, Pineapple Lumps, Jaffas, Pinkys, Perky Nanas, Buzz Bars and Chocolate Fish. If you like your lollies then don't miss K bars, Mackintoshes, Jet Planes, Milkshakes, Eskimos and Minties, to name a few.


With 15,000 kilometres of coastline, it should be no surprise that freshly caught seafood is a common staple in many Kiwi’s diets. Whitebait fritters, paua, Bluff oysters, crayfish and greenshell mussels are favourites unique to New Zealand. Classic fish and chips are a popular takeaway meal for Kiwis and great to share on the beach in fine weather.


Still a sore topic for many Australians, it was recently proven that the humble pavlova did, in fact, originate in New Zealand. It’s a favourite Christmas Day and summer dessert made of meringue and impressively topped with whipped cream, fresh strawberries, kiwifruit and anything else you may like. It is perfectly paired with Hokey Pokey ice cream.


Eating a Hāngī meal is an amazing experience that you should keep an eye out for. It's a traditional Maori way of cooking, underground in a pit. Roast dinner style ingredients are used, such as lamb, pork, chicken, potato, kumara (sweet potato) and pumpkin. The cooking process takes many hours and makes the food tender and delicious with an earthy, smoky flavour - it's the best roast you'll ever have! Rotorua is a great place to try Hāngī.


“World famous in New Zealand” as the saying goes, L&P or Lemon and Paeroa is the most iconic fizzy drink in New Zealand. It’s similar to lemonade with its own unique twist. Created in the small town of Paeroa in 1907, it was originally made with lemon juice combined with carbonated water. Now manufactured by Coca-Cola, it’s a very refreshing soft drink that is perfect on a hot day. There's even a giant statue of an L&P bottle in the town of Paeroa.

Bakery Goods & Biscuits

While you're in NZ, go nuts at our bakeries. They're full of delicious baked goods and are an inexpensive option for a sweet snack. Try our custard squares, lamingtons, cream doughnuts, lolly cake and caramel slice to name a few. Some Kiwi biscuits to look out for at a local supermarket include any Griffin's Biscuits, such as Mallowpuffs, Toffee Pops, Gingernuts and Squiggles. Other Kiwi faves include Cookie Times, Afghans and ANZAC biscuits.

Marmite & Vegemite

Different than the British version, New Zealand’s Sanitarium Marmite is a standard item in most Kiwi’s pantries. It’s a yeast extract spread combined with a few herbs and spices. Try it on a sandwich with some Bluebirds chips, Kiwi as. When the Christchurch earthquake damaged the company’s factory, a Marmite shortage was declared which prompted a national panic. Similarly, the Australian Vegemite is another much-loved yeast spread in New Zealand. A small piece of advice with both spreads: less is more and use plenty of marge.

Kiwi Chips & Dip

Another must-try is the classic combo of Kiwi Onion Dip with Bluebird chips (Green Onion is a choice Kiwi flavour). It's a regular at parties or perfect as an afternoon snack. This is the number one thing I missed when living abroad and would often ask family to send it to me. Other fun chips to try (without the dip) include Bluebird Grain Waves, Twisties, Burger Rings, Rashuns and Cheezels.

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Do you have any other fave Kiwi foods to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for New Zealand travel tips? Head to my NZ posts here.

Happy Travels,

This post contains some images that are not my own.


  1. What about ice cream sodas. Ice cream filled in a glass or cup filled with a nice fizzy drink.

    1. Rosedale Ginger Kisses and Lindauer Brut Sparkling Wine... Peanut Slabs, Almond Gold and Curry Springrolls!!! We LOVE New Zealand!!


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