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6 Cult NZ food experiences you have to try

From arguably the world’s best fush ‘n’ chups to award­-winning cuisine from celebrity chef - Josh Emett, New Zealand’s dining experiences will leave you hungry to return.

From arguably the world’s best fush ‘n’ chups to award­-winning cuisine from celebrity chef – Josh Emett, New Zealand’s dining experiences will leave you hungry to return.


1. Burgers at Fergburger


Starting out in 2001 as a random hole in the wall burger joint where locals would get their 3am foodie fix, Fergburger has received cult status around the world. Since then it’s relocated to one of the main streets of Queenstown and flips its epic burgers 21 hours a day.

Be prepared to queue for one of the 20 variants, ranging from the Big Al (a double serving of prime NZ beef, lashings of crispy bacon, cheese, two eggs, beetroot, salad, relish and aioli) to the Southern Swine (beef, bacon, avocado) and the Chief Wiggum (pork belly). Non­carnivores will be satisfied by the Bun Laden (falafel), Codfather (cod), Holier than Thou (tofu) or a generous serving of crumbed calamari with Ferg’s wasabi mayonnaise.

Wash it down with a beer at one of the outdoor tables and chat to the international fans who flock from around the world. Don’t leave without a pair of Ferg Loves You underwear ­yes, they’re so popular they even have their own lingerie line.

Click here for what happened when KarryOn Founder Matt found himself there one late night.


2. Seafood at Ortega


Focusing on fresh New Zealand seafood, the highly awarded Ortega team create dishes of quality, flavour and integrity. The friendly Wellington restaurant serves up the finest Bluff oysters, deep fried soft shell crab, and Kapiti Coast snapper with a celeriac puree and cockle, fennel broth.

Regulars come for the cosy ambiance and unpretentious, relaxed setting with a quirky maritime themed decor. Attentive staff welcome a laid back local crowd with service so friendly they’ll even sit down to share a complimentary after­dinner digestif with you. It’s no wonder the sophisticated fish shack was awarded Best Specialist Restaurant Runner-­up in 2014 by Cuisine Good Food Guide.

Click here for more information.


3. Matakana markets


The 40 minute journey north of Auckland to Matakana Markets is worth the trip. Every Saturday from 8am to 1pm artisans, growers and farmers in the Matakana region gather to sell luscious fresh produce like seasonal fruit, vegetables, Italian sausages, whitebait fritters (a local favourite), organic chocolate, flowers, fine wines, boutique olive oils and the all important freshly brewed morning coffee with locally roasted beans.

Wander around the stalls and chat to the friendly providores or sit back and listen to the live music ­ all nestled on the banks of the picturesque Matakana River, the Farmers’ Market is a truly unique NZ experience.

Click here for more information.


4. Mudbrick winery


Located on the beautiful Waiheke Island, just a 35 minutes ferry ride from Auckland, Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant is the ultimate place to relax over a long, leisurely lunch and enjoy spectacular food and views over the vineyard to the sea.

Choose from an a la carte or degustation menu and be wowed with impressive dishes such as Fiddlers Hill Goats Cheese Ice Cream, Ora King Salmon with Cloudy Bay Clams or Sweet corn and Black Truffle Ravioli ­ all matched with their award­winning wines.

If you’re visiting in the evening watch the sunset from the alfresco wine bar/bistro in the newly designed courtyard on the terrace. Enjoy cocktails and canapes in the casual dining setting.

Click here for more information.


5. Fush ‘N’ Chups


No trip to NZ would be complete without some locally caught fish and chips. Who serves the best is hotly debated topic amongst locals and tourists alike, with some voting The Mangōnui Fish and Chip shop near Doubtless Bay in the North Island having ‘some of the best fish and chips you’ll ever find’; whilst South islanders insist their huge servings of freshly battered fish and a generous scoops of chips from Hines (now Tiki) Takeaways in Kaikoura are the best.

Either one is worth the trip, with many people visiting the quaint seaside town of Mangonui, north of the Bay Islands just for the seafood, which comes straight out of the sea and is cooked anyway you like. At Kaikoura on the east coast of the South Island, be sure to make the trip a little out of town to Kaikoura Seafood BBQ, a roadside trailer grilling just caught seafood including garlic scallops and crayfish fritters.


6. Eat with Josh Emett


New Zealand celebrity chef Josh Emett is rated amongst the best in the world so it’s no surprise his flagship restaurant Rata is a stylish affair.

Located discreetly away from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown, the Michelin star (and Masterchef NZ) chef has captured everything that epitomises New Zealand with slow cooked dishes and robust flavours reflecting the cooler climate and homely feel. Opt for the $85 feast menu where you’ll start with ‘bites’ of Kingfish crudo, coconut, grapefruit, chilli and goat cheese profiteroles with Rata blossom honey, followed by share plates of Merino lamb shoulder with spices, cauliflower, pistachio, coriander and dates and Pan fried kingfish with saffron.

The expertly matched wine list proudly showcases wines from the Central Otago region with an emphasis on a eclectic mix of the highly regarded and little known gems.

Click here for more information.

Which food experience has your taste buds salivating? Have you been to Fergburger?