Best New Zealand Food Recipes

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An image of a traditional Maori Hangi being prepared

New Zealand food recipes that make the produce the hero

The distance New Zealand finds itself from the rest of the world can sometimes be a curse. It can also be a blessing when it comes to food. So let’s focus on the blessing side of the equation. For starters it’s remote location, climate, terrain and small population (4.5 million) means it has one of the more untouched and pure environments in the world. This in turn allows kiwi’s to grow some of the best fresh produce in the world such as lamb, beef, salmon, mussels, honey.

Whilst the remoteness allows for cleaner production of food, it also forces us to be as self sufficient as possible. Yes, logistics has vastly improved over the years which now allows us to no only import more fresh produce but also export our own such as salmon. There is still the imperative need to supply quality produce locally, and that’s what we will be focusing on in our recipes today. Locally produced, quality, New Zealand food which is the hero ingredient of all the dishes.

What food is New Zealand famous for?

Don’t be ashamed to be asking yourself this question, it’s only natural….well, ill informed maybe. New Zealand is spoiled for choice when it comes to fresh food and some of these foods have become our greatest export. These include but are not limited to:

Now for the recipes

As mentioned above, the best recipes we have chosen are because they ensure the hero ingredient is food from New Zealand and is regularly used in kiwi meals. So next time you have a dinner party and want to impress your friends, simply choose one of the below recipes, and ensure you can get your hands on the ingredients.

Maori Hangi

Whilst the Maori Hangi is strictly not just a recipe but a traditional Maori (ethnic group in New Zealand) way of preparing and cooking food with heated rocks buried in a pit oven. It’s probably one of the most famous ways in which food such as: pork, chicken, beef, potatoes, kumara (New Zealand sweet potatoe), pumpkin, cabbage are steam cooked underground together. Not only that, it’s potentially one of the most satisfying ways in which you can produce a meal full of flavour and so tender it melts in your mouth.

If you are looking to impress at your next BBQ then you have to pull this recipe from out of the bag!

Roast Lamb

Lamb is the biggest meat export and one of the biggest exports in general to leave the shores of New Zealand. It’s unique taste and premium quality is something that epitomises how New Zealand’s natural environment works hand in hand to produce amazing food. That is why when kiwi’s cook with lamb, they want it to be the centre piece of every meal and for the accompanying flavours to be rustic but not overwhelming so the real star can shine.

When cooking lamb we couldn’t think of a better recipe than this Slow Roasted Lamb recipe, created by one of New Zealand’s top chef’s – Al Brown.

Gourmet Fish and Chips

New Zealand is an Island nation surrounded with an abundance of fish varieties. So if you are going to show off your kiwi skills in the kitchen then you should never go past the humble fish and chips. Executed well, this dish can be an absolute triumph at any dinner party. The traditional fish which get all the attention and are often used in New Zealand for this recipe would either by snapper or terakihi. However if you want a slight twist with a bit of a talking point then we would recommend trying to get your hands on Blue Warehou for the fish and kumara instead of potatoes for the chips.

To pleasantly surprise the people you are cooking fish and chips for, try out this healthy gourmet fish & chip recipe from a MasterChef NZ winner.

White Bait Fritters

To the people that love white bait, it’s commonly refereed to as ‘white gold’. This reference is actually not too far off considering that they it can be one of the most expensive forms of seafood to purchase (when available). But if you can get access to white bait which has been caught fresh of the river banks of New Zealand, then there is one thing you need to try – white bait fritters.

Don’t waste your time trying to make this delicacy more glamorous than it is. Get the basics right with this recipe from and you will be away laughing.

Green Lipped Mussels

The green lipped mussel is a house hold seafood loved by many New Zealander’s and is hailed by many as a super food. It’s even being made into freeze dried power to help with joint pain. But we think this beautiful shellfish should be revered in the kitchen and any meal that contains it should be accompanied by one of New Zealand’s finest Sauvignon Blanc.

Much like white bait, green lipped mussels should be cooked with the utmost focus on it’s flavour. Therefore we recommend listening to one of our other premier chefs Annabel Langbein and following her steam mussels recipe.


New Zealand is fast becoming a global powerhouse in the production and distribution of salmon. The pure waters of the South Island have proven to be an extraordinary place to farm salmon rich in Omega 3. So much so that New Zealand salmon is being exported to 70+ countries around the world.

There are a million different ways you can have salmon but this recipe in particular as a New Zealand favourite from


So don’t waste any more time reading and start re-creating some of New Zealand’s best food recipes. If you have any questions then don’t be afraid to comment below and one of the team here in New Zealand will get back with a reply ASAP.


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1 comment

  1. Why New Zealand Lamb is So Good - Natural South Reply

    […] Above all else, New Zealand lamb is world-renowned for its superior quality and distinctive flavour. New Zealand is home to superior air, water and soil quality, and when the three combine they create perfect conditions for growing high-quality grass. Raised on fresh green pastures and 100% grass-fed, lambs are slaughtered before they turn 12 months old, therefore resulting in a very tender meat that is perfect for dishes like lamb steak, lamb chops, lamb burgers and roast lamb. […]

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