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New Zealand: A Short Survey of New Zealand Foods

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On “Gordon Ramsey: Uncharted,” Chef Ramsey visits Chef Monique Fiso in New Zealand to see how Maori cuisine gets combined with fine dining. He chops his way through the forest to get to “bush asparagus.” His mouth burns with the flavor of horopito, a bush pepper tree. He scales a Fuschia tree to get to the bright purple berries.

I don’t think we’ll have to go to those extremes if we get to New Zealand. The country is full of food delights and local cuisine.

Hokey Pokey ice cream sounds like it’s what it’s all about. Caramelized honeycomb in vanilla ice cream is reportedly New Zealand’s favorite flavor. Pavlova is meringue, whipped cream and fruit. It sounds like it was invented in Australia, but New Zealanders say otherwise.

Meat pies are a big deal. You can get mince, steak, and fish in your pies. Lamb is apparently a staple. There are more sheep than people in New Zealand, and seafood is readily available with paua (sea snail), whitebait fritters (immature fish in an omelet), kina (sea urchin) on the menu.

According to Auckland Natives Sheena and Thomas, hangi at the Maori Kitchen is authentic indigenous food. The plate they were served was pork, stuffing and pumpkin. It sounds like Thanksgiving to me. Hangi is cooked underground for seven hours. Many places are now cooking it in stainless steel, above ground, gas powered hangi cooker. Traditional hangi is difficult to find in restaurants.

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