2019 Kiwi Kai for International Students to Try

Thursday, June 6, 2019

If you don’t see kai (food) that you think should be in this blog, you can find our 2018 version of this blog featuring six other delightful Kiwi delicacies to taste, including: pineapple lumps, pavlova, pies and kumara, here.

1. L&P

Kiwi gold, this soft drink is made with lemon and carbonated mineral water from a now famous Paeroa spring. Paeroa is a Coromandel town found an hour and a half drive from Auckland. The history of the company is long, with many owners from the original inception of Robert Fewell’s Paeroa Natural Mineral Water Company in 1910 to the current owners Coca-Cola Amatil. However, the key things to note are;

- The Paeroa factory, established in 1934 right next to the spring, closed in 1980, with the ownership of the spring remaining with the firm but the whole production team shifting to Auckland.
- The famous L&P bottle that can still be seen in Paeroa today was originally a 7-metre-high, 1.3 diameter structure painted to resemble a rocket ship for L&P’s 1967 Christmas promotion. In 1968 it was repainted to resemble a bottle and in 1969 it was re-erected for good. In 2002 the bottle was moved 20 metres back into its current position in Ohinemuri Reserve to keep tourists off State Highway 2. Next year, L&P will turn 110 and Kiwis still rate it as their favourite soft drink thanks to its sweet, unique and refreshing taste.

2. Hāngi

Classic Māori cooking and a unique eating experience, ‘hāngi’s’ are meals that are a combination of veggies, meats and other foods that can be gathered from the land. Traditional hāngi foods include kumara, fish and chicken, but you could also include pumpkin, potato or lamb. The ingredients are wrapped in flax, or placed in cloth sacks/wire baskets and lowered into a pre-dug pit with hot stones at the bottom. The pit is then covered with a wet cloth and a mound of earth, which traps the heat and cooks the food, like a natural oven. The hāngi food is left in the ground for 3-4 hours to cook and then dug up, blessed and eaten by everyone involved. If you want to do your own hāngi it is advised you consult someone more experienced to help ensure your hāngi is successful – please see this step-by-step guide for more information.

3. Whitebait fritters
Quintessentially Kiwi, this is a must-try if you are a seafood fan. Known as a delicacy in these parts. 
They are fast to fry and extremely tasty served with lemon.
Here are the ingredients and preparation methods, according to the Edmonds Cookbook:

  • catch the whitebait
  • drain it well
  • whisk together egg, flour, baking soda, salt and pepper and add the whitebait
  • put mixture in fridge for one hour (its your choice whether you want to chill the mixture or put it straight in the frypan).
  • heat oil in fry pan and fry large tablespoons of the mixture until golden brown on both sides
  • drain on paper towels and serve with lemon wedge (some Kiwis prefer their whitebait in fresh battered white bread)

For Kiwis whitebait are elvers (not to be confused with sprats) and their numbers are getting lower every year, which has meant that this delicacy is becoming more of a rare treat than a common meal.

4. Feijoas

A staple in New Zealand households, most Kiwis either have a feijoa tree in their backyard or know someone who has one. Feijoas are a green fruit with a textured skin that can be eaten but also ignored in favour of the soft yellow/brown centre. Feijoas are in season from mid-March to mid-June and are famously used in everything from salads, to smoothies, to chutneys and even baking. Their powerful flavour and smell making them instantly recognisable and used in both sweet and savoury meals.

5. Goody goody gum drops
The most interesting ice-cream flavour you will experience (aside from Hokey Pokey of course!) If you like bubble-gum flavoured anything and if you are a fan of chewy gum drop lollies, then this is the ice-cream for you! If you are living and studying in NZ, you owe it to yourself to give this flavour a try in summer. Head down to your local dairy for a scoop or stop by a supermarket and buy a tub if you want to share it with your flatmates.

6. Kiwifruit
We may claim this delicious fruit now, but they originated in China as far back as the 12th century and were cultivated in New Zealand only recently, in the 20th century, after seeds were brought from China to NZ in 1906. The ‘Chinese Gooseberry’ only started being called ‘Kiwifruit’ in 1962 by NZ growers to give it more marketing appeal. The climate in NZ was ideal for the fruit to grow. These green (sometimes gold) and hairy fruits are great to eat, sometimes sour, sometimes sweet and always tasty. You can choose to eat them with or without the skin, depending on what your thoughts are on the texture! New Zealand supplies 99% of the world production of kiwifruit and 95% of the crop is harvested within 35 miles (56 km) of the little town of Te Puke, Bay of Plenty.1
[1] https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/kiwifruit_ars.html

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