The typical New Zealand dinner is “meat and three veg” (vegetables). The vegetables might include any three combination of peas, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, or kumara (sweet potato). The meat is usually roast-something, like beef or chicken, but the best of all is roast lamb. Lambs are, of course, baby sheep. They are very cute, but unfortunately for them, also very delicious. Adult-sheep meat, called mutton, is not a popular food in New Zealand, and mutton is usually made into food for dogs or cats. Many Japanese people don’t like roast lamb, saying it has a bad smell or unpleasant texture. This is fine, because it means there is more roast lamb for me. Roast lamb is usually eaten with gravy or mint sauce and the best lamb in New Zealand comes from the mighty plains of the Canterbury region.
There is perhaps no food more “New Zealand” than the humble meat pie. Meat pies are usually made of steak, mince, or some other kind of meat, inside a pastry pie crust. There are many popular types of pie; mince, mince and cheese, steak, steak and mushroom, but the best of all is steak and cheese. Pies are eaten year-round, but are especially good in winter. The classic pie is bought at a bakery, dairy or from the “servo” (service station, or “gasoline stand” in Japanese). A New Zealand “dairy” is similar to a Japanese convenience store, but not as clean or tidy. In the last 20 years or so, service stations are often built with a convenience store attached and many are open 24-hours a day. In both a dairy or service station, you should be able to find a pie warmer near the register. Pies are often extremely hot, almost thermo-nuclear, so please remember to always blow on the pie before eating it.
There are many great chocolate bars on our planet Earth; Mars bars, Snickers, Kit-kats, even Toblerones, but none compare to the greatest of all chocolate bars: New Zealand’s Moro. Moro’s are made of a whipped nougat and caramel center, covered in chocolate. They are the most popular chocolate bar in New Zealand and a Moro is eaten somewhere in New Zealand every 2 seconds. The standard size Moro bar costs about $1.60 (125yen) and in addition to the classic Moro, there are two extra flavours that nobody likes. One particularly gruesome variation of the Moro bar is a deep-fried Moro, available from many fish and chip shops. Copied from the Scottish practice of a deep-fried Mars bar, a Moro bar is dipped in a deep fryer and then cooled-off, leaving it covered in batter. If you would like to die of heart failure at a young age, I recommend deep fried Moros.
L&P, which stands for Lemon and Paeroa, is New Zealand’s most famous non-alcoholic drink. Paeroa is a town on the North Island and L&P was originally made with lemon juice mixed with mineral water from the Paeroa area. The mineral water and natural lemon juice was said to be very healthy, but nowadays, L&P is made by the Coca Cola company. The slogan for L&P is “World famous in New Zealand”, which is also a popular saying in the country for many other things. If you go to New Zealand, you should try a bottle of L&P. It tastes best with fish and chips eaten at the beach., but watch out for annoying seagulls, also known as “flying rats”, who want to eat your chips.
A popular cookie in New Zealand are Cookie Time brand cookies. No one knows why these cookies are popular. They don’t taste especially good, nor are they especially cheap. However, they can be found all over New Zealand, and now even in Japan too. A Cookie Time shop recently opened in Harajuku and they have been very popular. Next time you’re in Harajuku, by all means, buy a Cookie Time cookie and be disappointed.