New Zealand Cuisine

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007 at 12:00 am

New Zealand cuisineNew Zealand cuisine is mainly influenced by the those that came from Europe, Asia as well as Polynesia. This unique culinary influences make New Zealand cuisine quite a mouth watering treat with a variety that would suit almost anyone’s tastes.

With an economy that is based in agriculture, New Zealand always has an abundance of fresh produce to make use of for cooking up its wide array of delicious dishes.

The resources that New Zealand enjoys, coming both from land and sea, have provided its people with a variety of ingredients to work with. From the land, there’s a variety of meats that the "Kiwis" can use as main ingredients for their dishes. There’s lamb, beef, pork and even venison that can be cooked up into a variety of delectable dishes, New Zealand style.

For seafoods, there’s an abundance of salmon, crayfish or lobster to work with. Other interesting dishes that you may find as part of a typical New Zealand fare may also include oysters, mussels, scallops, and a number of shellfish choices.

Culture and long-held traditions make up most of what New Zealand cuisine can offer. Traditional or ethnic cuisine is made up mostly of up dishes of Polynesian influence. Foods like taro and kumara or sweet potato is the staple for the Maoris, New Zealand’s indigenous people.

Fowl as well as a variety of meat dishes along with food plants make up most of Maori cuisine. It was through Polynesian influences that enabled Maoris to prepare their food mostly in earthen ovens. Roasting is also the a popular way to prepare Maori dishes.

Aside from the Maoris, the European influence in New Zealand cuisine came a bit later when the first European explorers first came to New Zealand sometime in the late 18th Century. Most of these European visitors were of British descent and so owe a lot of their cooking to British cuisine.

The Europeans also brought foods with them that were also quickly adopted by the Maori. Notable of those include pork and potatoes. Wheat, pumpkin, sugar and mutton also became a part of New Zealand cuisine due to the European influence. This influence from European cuisine became known as Pakeha cuisine, the Maori term for people of European descent.

The Asian influence on New Zealand cuisine became more pronounced as the country started opening its doors to immigrants from Asia during the 1980’s. And as the Asian immigrants arrived in New Zealand, they began to open up their own restaurants and gave the Kiwis a taste of Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Malay and other Asian cuisines.

At first, the first Asian immigrants imported certain ingredients from their home country in order to capture the true essence of their own ethnic cuisine. But as time passed by, due to some restrictions and difficulties, they began using local ingredients as suitable alternatives and therefore began to emulate their dishes more to the taste of the locals.

The combinations of the different influences has made New Zealand cuisine as one of the most varied and interestingly unique cuisines in the world today.