New Zealand’s Must Eat Kai Moana


Kaikoura is the crayfish / lobster capital of New Zealand. To taste the freshest ‘catch of the day’, try the Kaikoura Seafood BBQ – a beachside shack that feeds hordes of hungry visitors to the nearby seal colony.  New Zealand crayfish is delicious and there is no better place to eat it than Kaikoura which means ‘eat crayfish’ in Māori.


Crayfish, Christchurch – Canterbury.  By Tourism New Zealand


The largest volume of whitebait is found in the rivers of the South Island’s West Coast. If you’re travelling south from the glaciers on SH6, stop off at Curly Tree Whitebait Company to sample these highly sought after fish.


Whitebait Fritter, New Zealand.  By No Road Inn

Mt Cook Salmon

New Zealand accounts for over half of the world’s production of king salmon. Of all salmon species, the king salmon offers the highest natural oil content of Omega-3s which benefit both heart and joint health. In Tekapo, Mt Cook Alpine Salmon, at 677m above sea level, is the highest salmon farm in the world.  Mt Cook Alpine Salmon is served as sashimi, grilled and smoked in many fine dining restaurants around New Zealand.


Salmon, New Zealand.  By Hermitage Hotel

Green-Lipped Mussels

Green-lipped mussels are easily distinguished from other mussels by the dark green shell with a bright green lip that it is named for.  You can get these mussels pretty much anywhere in New Zealand all year around, but it’s best to have them at the source around Marlborough, where 80 per cent of New Zealand’s mussel production is based.


Mussels, Marlborough.  By Tourism New Zealand


Pāua (the Māori word for abalone) is a popular New Zealand delicacy. The most common way to eat pāua is to have it minced into a fritter. Pāua fritters can be purchased from most “fish and chip” shops around the country.  Pāua are commonly found in shallow coastal waters along rocky shorelines and are a local delicacy.


Paua, New Zealand.  By Richard Robinson


A local favourite, scallops are a must to try when in New Zealand. The season for fresh scallops runs from October through to March. If you are in the Coromandel in September you can sample a variety of tasty scallop delicacies at the annual Scallop Festival.  The season for fresh scallops runs from October through to March.

Fresh New Zealand seafood

Fresh New Zealand seafood, Wellington.  By Graeme Murray

Bluff Oysters

Large, plump and juicy, New Zealand oysters have earned a reputation as some of the finest in the world. Bluff is the home of oyster production in New Zealand and holds the Bluff Oyster Festival every May.

Bluff Oysters

Bluff Oysters, Southland.  By Observation Rock Lodge


Snapper, or Tāmure as it is called in Māori, is the most popular fish to eat in New Zealand. It is found throughout New Zealand, but is most abundant in the North Island.

Snapper, Northland and Bay of Islands.  By Duncan Innes




Something not listed in the above article but perhaps should have been:


The species is found only in New Zealand, but there are about 500 species of sea urchins worldwide. Kina are widespread along New Zealand coasts down to 50 metres, with the main concentrations found between the sub-tidal zone and 15 metres.  In some places, population densities reach over 50 adults per square metre.  Kina is sought for its delicate, smooth, buttery roe. The male roe is silkier, the female roe is slightly more grainy.  The kina’s mouth has a distinctive five-sided structure, known as Aristotle’s lantern – from Aristotle’s description of a sea urchin. The kina uses this like a set of teeth to grind up its food.

Image result for nz kina, high res

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *