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Food in 
New Zealand

 For quite some time the food in New Zealand was often considered very limited and bland with little taste (flat). There was little options on offer, and all foods were based on the English traditional styles such as meat and 3 veggies, or the classic fish and chips. The use of seasoning such as garlic, onion, salt, herbs and spices was always kept to an absolute minimum. There also seem to be reluctance to trying exotic and different foods, as if trying would put them in risk of losing their national identity, and change was seen as a threat.

Until the 1980’s, if for a moment we could stop the country at dinner time, we would probably find that 80% of the population would be eating the same thing – Meat with 3 vegetables. When immigration became more accessible (especially to the Asian countries), things started to change. NZ started to see a move from traditional foods, to more diverse, fresh and exotic food, and supermarkets are increasingly adding more and more different foods to their shelves. However the majority of the Kiwi population is still very much based on their traditions, and might try something new only once in a while. NZ grew around farm life and production, and what did they eat on the farms? Basically what they produced, meaning Lamb or sheep meat, chicken, and vegetables and salads. Typically these foods where eaten during breakfast instead of dinner, to give farmers energy to face the field. But that was in the old days. Today things have changed towards the modern ways, especially in the cities. In the rural areas there are still some families who have kept this habit. 

Apart from the Immigrants, another factor that has contributed to the food changes, was the need to export. NZ food products are considered throughout the world as being of excellent quality. However to produce such high quality products to such little demand, meant that Nz producers had to look else where for their products. This necessity to export, and to leave the restricted local market, not only changed the nations economy, but to use all of its creative powers to reach its goals. One of them was the Kiwifruit, which was originally imported from China, and adapted well in the north island. It was called Chineseberry, but during the cold war against communism, that name had little appeal to the American market. They though of changing it to Kiwiberry, but berries are a lot smaller, a so they just called it the Kiwifruit. Other products that were never consumed by the New Zealander, started to be produced with an eye for the external market. Different cheeses such as Parmesan and Swiss were now being found on the supermarket shelf. Rice imported from Asia, were becoming more common and were consumed by the immigrants. Tropical fruits such as mangoes, papaya, oranges were also imported from various countries in Oceania and Asia, and for that reason they are expensive.

Today in New Zealand’s major cities, you will find almost anything and everything to cook various different and exotic dishes. Thousands of restaurants, cafes, take aways, and food courts in shopping centres now offer foods from around the world. Indian, Mexican, Italian, Malaysian, Turkish, Greek and the list goes on. The price of food in New Zealand has never been so high, and a few years ago they it was much cheaper then Australia. But like I have mention before as things have changed. There are still many products lacking, such as foods from Latin America. But all you need is a little creativity and to know the right places to search that you will find almost anything that you need.

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