Eat & Drink

Here’s All The Quirky Junk Food You Need To Try In New Zealand

New Zealand food doesn’t get much kudos on the international stage. But if there’s one thing it wins, it’s the junk food game. The land of celebrated ski slopes, hobbits and some of the clearest waters you’ll ever rest your eyes upon hosts plenty of culinary goodies to fuel up on through your adventuring – in the form of New Zealand junk food.

Here is the New Zealand food you best indulge in during a visit:

Whittaker’s Chocolate

Whittaker's Chocolate is a New Zealand junk food staple

Whittaker’s has made waves around the world, but if you’re not familiar with it, it’s a New Zealand-grown chocolate brand. Established in 1896, Whittaker’s has had a long time to experiment. Nowadays it captures the best of Kiwi produce in inventive blocks.

You’ll find combinations like Nelson Pear and Manuka Honey, or Hawkes Bay Black Doris Plum and Roasted Almond. Otherwise, there are the good old classics – including the likes of Almond Gold, Coconut Block, and Peanut Butter.

Deep-Fried Moro Bars

These ingeniously reinvented pieces of confection may be the New Zealand food ever to grace the tastebuds. Moro bars are taken to another dimension by covering them in batter and chucking them in a deep fryer.

As the bar emerges from the oil, it’s commonly thrown in a bath of cinnamon sugar. The result? A crunchy, sweet and aromatic crust that holds an oozy combination of melted chocolate and caramel. Where will you find them, typically? None other than the frying havens that are fish and chip shops. No Heart Foundation tick of approval here, but they’re good for the soul.

Cheesy Weezies

There are some things that taste even better following a day of swimming at the beach or a water hole. Cheesy Weezies fall into this category, an honorary member of New Zealand’s fast food scene. Fried chips are doused with tomato sauce, drizzled with mayonnaise and sprinkled with cheese, then wrapped up in butcher’s paper.

Inside, everything gloriously melts together. When you come to open the carb-rich parcel, the cheese has stuck to the paper while a glistening scene of yellow and red unveils itself. Starchy, sweet and comforting – what more could you want?

Kiwi Onion Dip

There is only one way to make the national dip of New Zealand, and the recipe must be strictly adhered to. Change the ingredients and you’ll offend a lot of Kiwis. A woman named Rosemary Dempsey, who worked in Nestle’s Auckland test kitchen in the ’50s, founded it. Now, it has reached cult status.

The dip concocts Maggi Onion Soup (a powdered soup that virtually only exists to make this dip, rarely used for actual soup), Nestle Reduced Cream (can’t sub this one out either, sorry), and a teaspoon of either lemon juice or vinegar. If you’re making it yourself, chill it for 30 minutes before serving. Eat with carrot sticks, or potato chips if you’re feeling a little cheekier. It’s found ready-made at some supermarkets and grocers. This isn’t just New Zealand food, it’s Kiwi cuisine. 

Pineapple Lumps

 

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Pineapple Lumps could be the least enticing candy name we’ve ever heard of. Ugly, really. But they are aptly named – indeed, quite the rectangular lump – and a staple of New Zealand food. The base is a soft and squidgy pineapple lolly, made with pineapple juice.

The lollies are then coated with a thin layer of chocolate, making for a fruit and choc combination that splits the crowds. You’ll either like really them, or lump them.

Lemon and Paeroa

 

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Take a glance around in summer, and you’ll see a lot of Kiwis sipping on Lemon and Paeroa, also known as L&P. Its legacy is over 110-years old, starting in the town of Paeroa on the North Island. The soft drink was first created using the town’s local mineral water – carbonating it and adding lemon.

L&P offers a refreshing tang; it’s gently zingy, with a ginger-like after taste. The soft drink is so iconic that Whittaker’s has also made a chocolate bar version of it.

Hokey Pokey Ice-Cream

 

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A famous flavour around the globe, scoops of hokey pokey were first made in New Zealand. After vanilla, it’s the second-most sold ice-cream flavour in the country. Its beauty lies in its simplicity – vanilla ice cream with honeycomb chunks weaved through.

Most ice-cream stores will serve it. As for those who don’t, we imagine some national guilt would come into play. Otherwise, you can head over to a supermarket to get your hands on a tub.

Steak and Cheese Pies

 

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In New Zealand, milk bars are referred to as “dairies”. Ask locals for a milk bar and you’ll get a confused look back your way. These dairies often house a pie cabinet.

One of the most iconic pies is the steak and cheese pie, trickling down from British migration. A humble classic, where meat and dairy harmoniously unite – favoured by many.

You should also try the coffee in Auckland, which they say challenges Melbourne for its quality. We are not adding Pavlova to this list because that’s an Australian invention, as we all know.

(Lead image: Pascall Lollies Pineapple Lumps)