CRAYFISH in Kaikoura has been ranked number seven on the list of 500 top food experiences in the world by Lonely Planet’s new publication, the Ultimate Eatlist.
Outranking the likes of pizza in Naples and dim sum in Hong Kong, crayfish in Kaikoura was New Zealand’s highest entry in the book, which also included whitebait fritters, hangi, the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, manuka honey and the hotly contested pavlova (joint Australian and NZ entry).
Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist travels the world with an insatiable appetite to present the definitive foodie bucket list.
The team of expert food editors was aided by a panel – made up of chef and TV presenter Adam Liaw and food blogger Leyla Kazim – that evaluated entries according to the taste of the dish, its cultural importance, and the special atmosphere of the location.
Best places to experience New Zealand’s ultimate eats:
Crayfish – Kaikoura, the town named after the crayfish, is the obvious choice when tasting these local delicacies. Check out Kaikoura Seafood BBQ, the food caravan by the sea which serves them freshly cooked with a stack of bread and butter and a slice of lemon. Just how it should be.
Whitebait Fritter – These can be found all over New Zealand when in season, but there are none better than those at Curly Tree Whitebait on the West Coast of the South Island.
Hangi – This is the traditional cooking method of the indigenous Maori people. Meat like pork, chicken or mutton is cooked alongside traditional veggies such as cabbage, potato and, of course, kumara. The food is cooked in baskets placed on hot stones, covered with wet cloth and a mound of earth that traps the heat around the food. The result is an earthy, smoky meal and a testament to the phrase, good things takes time. Visit Nativ Connectionz in Whakatane for a truly authentic hangi experience.
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival – This is an annual celebration of the weird and wonderful cuisine of New Zealand. Try huhu grubs, snails and mountain oysters (sheep testicles). A fantastic festival for the adventurous foodie.
Manuka honey – Packed full of healthy stuff, the honey is often a prized souvenir for visitors. Visit Comvita in the Bay of Plenty to see how the honey is collected and try some of the liquid gold out for yourself.
Pavlova –The pavlova is fluffy marshmallow, encased in meringue, covered in cream and often adorned with kiwifruit and berries. You can buy one from any supermarket in New Zealand or befriend a local and ask their nanna to whip one up for the real deal experience.
The top 10 food experiences in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist are:
1. Pintxos in San Sebastian, Spain
2. Curry laksa in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3. Sushi in Tokyo, Japan
4. Beef brisket in Texas, USA
5. Som tum in Bangkok, Thailand
6. Smorrebrod in Copenhagen, Denmark
7. Crayfish in Kaikoura, New Zealand
8. Bibimbap in Seoul, South Korea
9. Pizza margherita in Naples, Italy
10. Dim sum in Hong Kong