The three things that stand out about food here in New Zealand are their love of (In order) Ice Cream, Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes (known locally as Kumara).
Let’s cover the last first, when I first saw it listed on the menu I just assumed that Kumara was a strange type of sausage. But it seems that Kumara is the name of a type of Polynesian sweet potato, brought here by the Maouri; and when combined with deep fryers, brought here by the English you have Kumara Fries.
Sweet, sweet Kumara fries. If that isn’t a lesson in the benefits of social integration between Europeans and the native Maouri nothing is.
Secondly, pumpkins. Kiwi’s can’t get enough of them. They are pumpkin crazy! Of our first three meals here two of them had a pumpkin ingredients. You can find pumpkin in your curry, pumpkin in your hummus, pumpkin in your soup and pumpkin sliced or diced in your produce section – when it’s out of season. I’m still investigating how this fascination with the pumpkin began, and my work is delicious.
And lastly, Hokey Pokie – or really ice cream in general – or really dairy in general. They love it, which is good because there are a lot of cows down here.
There are no convenience store here, they’re called “The Dairy”. Milk and ice cream are everywhere. In the states we think we have flavored milk right? Chocolate milk is fun and tasty. Down here they have chocolate, banana, strawberry and …lime. Yes! Lime flavored milk, but how does it taste you ask? Delicious. This is a million dollar idea they’re sitting on, someone should patent it.
And then there’s ice cream. It’s a national obsession, every day we see people eating it, LOTS of it. And the big kahuna of flavors is Hokey Pokey. I have no idea what it is, maybe just a mishmash of other flavors all rolled into one, but they can’t get enough of it.
So there you go, no need for Got Milk' ad’s down here, they have it covered. And if you’re lactose intolerant, maybe they’ll let you move to Australia, because you aren’t going to do too well here.