New Zealand Food

Typical Food and Meals

A typical New Zealand Breakfast on the weekend

New Zealand is an island nation with its waters containing a large variety of fish and seafood. Despite this, until recently shellfish hasn't played an important part in the diet of New Zealanders. The consumption of fish has traditionally been low as meat has been the main preference for meals. Having said this, fish and seafood has always been significant in the Maori diet and you will notice that the names of many of them are still used today in Maori.


A typical New Zealand breakfast consists of cereal (especially the iconic Weet-bix for kids) and some toast which is accompanied by a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of juice or milk. Sometimes on the weekend there is time for a cooked breakfast (as appears in the photo at the top). This cooked breakfast can also be bought/eaten at cafés most mornings. A typical cooked breakfast has scrambled egg, bacon, cooked tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns and baked beans. It's very easy to want to skip lunch after such a big breakfast.


Lunch is normally something simple and not too heavy since dinner is the main meal of the day. It is quite common just to have some sandwiches or hot pies for lunch (see below) though some people enjoy the healthier salads and fruit. Sometimes New Zealanders have a "Sunday Lunch" with consists of roast beef (or some other meat) and roast potatoes, pumpkins all slowly cooked in the oven.


Dinner is the main meal of the day and is eaten around 6pm. It normally contains meat and cooked vegetables, especially potato.

Fish and chips is another typical New Zealand meal (a traditional brought over from England) which is commonly sold wrapped in newspaper. They are cheap and a great alternative when you don't want to cook (however not necessarily the most healthy alternative). You can buy this meal at Fish & Chip shops, also known locally as Takeaways. For a more local flavour, you can ask for a variety of the local fish or maybe even a Paua fritter.

Maori Hangi

The Hangi basically consists of putting meat and vestables in baskets and cooking them slowly under the ground. Hot rocks are put in a pit with the food put on top which are then covered with earth so the heat does not escape. After about 6 hours the earth is removed and the food is ready. See more details about How to make a Maori hangí.


The favourite desert in postre favorito en Nueva Zelandia is the PAVLOVA. It is a type of merengue covered in whipped cream then topped with fresh fruit such as kiwifruit (the most common) or strawberries. Why does it have a Russian name? In honour of a Russian ballet dancer that visited New Zealand in 1926.

Hot Pies

Hot pies are a small pastry with a filling of meat, often eating as a snack or at lunchtime.

The most typically pies are mince, mince and cheese, bacon and egg and steak pies. However, now you will find a variety of gourmet pies including lamb, kumara (a local sweet potato) and other interesting ingredients.

Lollies (Sweets)

In New Zealand candy (or sweets) are called Lollies. Some of the favourite ones are:

Minties: a hard, white and chewy, square mint-flavoured sweet (curiously these are of Australian origin)

Pineapple Lumps: a chocolate coated confectionery with a soft, chewy pineapple-flavoured middle.

Jaffas: a small round sweet with a soft chocolate centre and a thin hard red covering with an orange flavour.

Other classic lollies are Winegums, Jellybeans, Pebbles, Jet Planes, Milkshakes and Eskimos. Typical sweets things from New Zealand

Cereals - Cereales

Weet-bix is the most typical breakfast cereal in New Zealand that all local kids seem to eat. It is made from flakes of wheat compacted into little brick shapes. Since the 1960s it has been marketed with the catchphrase "Kiwi Kids are Weet-Bix kids".

Some other typical cereals are Honey Puffs, Muesli, and the Hubbard's range of Cereals.

Potato Chips from New Zealand

Potato Chips (Crisps)

In New Zealand you don't just have plain chips, you can also buy a variety of flavours including Salt and Vinegar Chips, Chicken Chips, Green Onion Chips, Sour Cream and Chives Chips, Cheese and Onion Chips.

Biscuits (Cookies)

Toffee Pops, Mallowpuffs, Gingernuts, Macaroons, Chit Chats, Sultana Pasties, Krispies, Chocolate Chippies, Shrewsberry, Hundreds and Thousands, Anzac Biscuits, Afghans.

Snack Bars

Moro Bar, Buzz Bar, Peanut Slab, Chocolate Fish, Perky Nana, Rocky Road, Pinky Bar, Pixie Caramel, Caramel Chews, Flake, Raspberry and Blackberry K Bar.

Lemon and Paeroa (L&P) - The NZ Fizzy Drink

Originally produced in the small town of Paeroa in 1907 (but now sold all over New Zealand), it was made from local natural mineral water and lemon. It is now sold throughout New Zealand and is considered an icon of NZ. Today, in the town of Paeroa, you will see a 7-metre tall replica of a bottle of L&P.

Lemon and Paeroa Typical drink of New Zealand

New Zealand Beer

The most common beer to be found in New Zealand are Lion Red, Steinlager, DB, Export Gold, Macs Gold, Waikato, Speights and Tui. There are many more smaller breweries producing their own beer too.

Other Sweet things

(Chelsea) Golden Syrup

Hokey Pokey Ice cream


If you found this guide about New Zealand Food interesting or useful, let others know about it:

New Zealand Travel Guide

Free tourist information about the different cities and attractions to see and do in New Zealand.

Discover More

NZ English Dictionary

Our guide to New Zealand English and Slang. Words and expressions that you will hear in NZ.


Connect with us

New Zealand CL on Facebook New Zealand CL on Twitter New Zealand CL on Instagram