What I find strange and what I love in New Zealand (Food edition)

Since I’m new here in New Zealand (is 9 months ‘new’?), I’m still trying to get my head around these Kiwi customs and food.

Hmmm… Strange.

  • Marmite – It’s a spread on toast and crackers, and often spread with butter. It’s a sticky, dark brown paste with a distinctive, powerful flavour. There’s only one time I tried this and I don’t think I’ll ever try it again (sorry Marmite lovers). It’s extremely salty for me.


  • Hundred and thousands sandwich – It’s white bread covered with butter and hundreds and thousands sprinkles which stick to the spread. It’s also known as the fairy bread. It looks cute, but nah, I guess I won’t pick it up again if it’s served in a party. 😛

hundreds and thousands

  • Baked beans – Well you’d never get me to eat pork-and-beans even when I was in the Philippines. This seems to be one of Kiwis breakfast staples but… I wouldn’t include this in my grocery list.


  • Hokey pokey flavoured ice cream – It consists of plain vanilla ice cream with small, solid lumps of honeycomb toffee. It’s also a chocolate flavour of Whittakers. If you have a serious sweet tooth, you’d love this, but since I’m quite the opposite… I feel like I’m going to have a sore throat just thinking about having this.


  • Gingernut biscuit – This is probably one of the most popular biscuits in New Zealand, it’s sweet, flavoured with ginger and other spices like cinnamon. It’s very tough to bite this so it’s often dunked in tea. If I have nothing else to munch on a sleepy afternoon in the office, I’d get some in our pantry and have a cup of tea. Good combination!


  • Pineapple Lumps – Pineapple flavoured chews coated in chocolate. Again, since I’m not into sweets, I wouldn’t pick this in the lollies jar. I’d get Starburst instead.



Meanwhile, I’m loving…

  • Stuffed peppadews – Peppadews is a cross between a pepper and a cherry tomato, it’s sweet and mildly spicy, and stuffed with cream cheese. Often eaten with rice crackers. This may not be distinctly Kiwi, but it was here where I first tasted this.


  • Beetroot – Beetroot can be boiled, steamed, or baked and then eaten as a salad or part of a sandwich or burger. They’re sweet, with a soft carrot-like consistency. I first tasted this as one of the ingredients in a Subway sandwich, which was something new to me but for some reason, I loved it.  Don’t buy the ones in tin cans, it’s better to buy it fresh from the root. They stain everything though, but it can be easily washed off.


  • Traditional kiwi dip – It’s easy to make this. Place these ingredients in a bowl and mix well: Nestle Reduced Cream, Maggi Onion Soup mix, and a teaspoon of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. You can serve this with bite-sized fresh vegetables, crackers, or chips. Sooo yum!


  • Salmon bagels – Perhaps other countries would have this as well, but Wholly Bagels & Pizza here make them reeeally good. Fillings are cold smoked salmon and capers, red onion with choice of flavoured cream cheese. It’s a bit pricey (NZD 9.90), but once in a while I indulge… Otherwise, I try to create it myself. 🙂

salmon bagel

  • Anything with avocado – Before I came to NZ, I’ve always loved avocados since we have our own tree in our home. Sadly, I find it expensive here (NZD 2.49 per piece for a Hass avocado) but I still buy them anyway. When I have nothing to eat for lunch, I’ll just prepare a delicious avocado topping in my Cruskits.


  • Lamb steak! – There would be pre-marinated lamb chops you can buy in the supermarket (as low as NZD 5 on special). Or sometimes I would still put rub salt all over with rosemary, thyme, olive oil and include garlic before I pop it in the oven. If I’m feeling carnivorous, this would be one of my first choices. You may catch me ordering this in a fancy resto as well.


  • Pinot Gris, Chardonnay or Riesling wine – Ever since I’ve experienced that series of wine tasting in Napier last autumn, I’ve somehow learned to differentiate these types of wine and I know now what I prefer. (I guess that got more stuck with me than my trip in Napa Valley). So I’m more of a white wine person than red. Funny ’cause red is usually paired with my favorite steak above. Oh by the way, I hardly drink my favorite cocktails now (bye mojito and margarita?!) ’cause it’s more expensive than a glass of wine. Hahaha! Whaaat…

Wine & Grapes

So I hope I didn’t offend anyone with the food I found strange here. You’d probably find some of our Filipino food even more weird. Aaahh, just learn to embrace it. 🙂 Cheers!


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