• The Knackered Truth

Things We Love About New Zealand: Coffee & Food


Coffee and Food. Isn’t that a Prince song? Just kidding.

Here’s my list of coffee and food surprises we’ve had to adjust to since living in Middle Earth.

First surprise is the importance of taking a break to eat. British tradition is followed for meal times during the day. There’s breakfast like usual, and then there’s morning tea, a mid-morning light snack; lunch; afternoon tea, a mid-afternoon snack; and finally dinner. It’s rare for employers not to accommodate these breaks for morning and afternoon tea (particularly morning tea). I have a conference coming up with morning & afternoon tea breaks actually listed in the itinerary. My husband recently had to report for jury duty and morning tea was provided. So don’t skip out!12239866_10153680190408555_2418199572029077528_n


I’ve always been a one-cup of coffee sort of person, but not down here! I actually can’t say I’ve seen regular coffee makers with filters and built in timers sold here. I’m sure they are, but I don’t know anyone who owns one. We make plunger coffee (French press) at home but when out, options are a flat white (steamed milk with espresso, no foam), long black (or called an Americano; an espresso with water, which would be closest to an American cup of coffee), or short black (espresso). Most cafés also offer something for kids to sip during coffee time, called a fluffy. It’s the foam taken from a flat white, with cocoa powder sprinkled on top and served with a marshmallow.



There’s no tipping. The tip is calculated into the bill.

It’s common to pay at the counter rather than waiting at your table for the check.

Many fruits and vegetables are known by a different name. For example: kumara (sweet potato), coriander (cilantro), rocket (arugula), capsicum (bell peppers), courgette (zucchini), rockmelon (cantaloupe), cos lettuce (romaine).

Kiwifruit is cheap at $2/kg.

Food is more seasonal here. Many things aren’t available if it’s out of season, or they’re expensive like limes which can be $30/kg. We also once paid $26/kg for courgettes! Lemons, however, are super cheap because everyone knows someone with a lemon tree.

Ingredients for Asian food are widely available… even places like Pak n’ Save will have things like kaffir lime leaves, bean sprouts, daikon, etc. Even dairies sell coconut water and roti. Most types of Asian food are common place. 

Meat pies are sold everywhere. It’s rare to find a fruit pie.

Fish n’chips shops are everywhere. You can pick what kind of fish you want, how you want it, what sort of chips you want and what cut.

Barbeque. Kiwis love to barbeque. Notice I’m not saying grill. There are even solid stone barbeques set up at various parks so you can start it up while resting from a trek.

I can’t eat lamb, maybe someday I’ll like it, but today I don’t. My husband, however, loves it. New Zealand is obviously known for it’s abundance of sheep (in 1982 it peaked at 22 sheep per person at 70.3 million with a population of 3.18 million, according to the NZ Herald), but as of last year, there are only six sheep per person. It’s actually cheaper to buy NZ lamb outside of NZ because so much of it is exported.

Marmite is delicious. It’s a yeast spread and is nutritional with vitamin B12 and is a great source of iron. It’s an acquired taste, usually eaten on toast with cheese.

I have yet to find a delicious pizza. It’s expensive and thin crusted here, and the sauce just isn’t the same. We actually make pizzas at home… but still… it’s on the top of my list to order whenever we travel back to the US. That and s’mores. There aren’t any graham crackers here unless sold in the American aisle of a store, but it’s rare. A year ago around the fourth of July we were able to locate American beer AND graham crackers. A sweet taste of home.


Am I missing anything? Comment below!

(Also, I can’t figure out how to caption my photos. Thankfully I’m married to a foodie who loves to document his every meal and he’s allowed me to post his pictures here. I knew they’d come in handy someday!)

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