Rice is a staple I have always used. In the Netherlands rice is as common as potatoes, due to the many great influences of good and fairly bad historical ties that Holland used to be involved in. Indonesia, Surinam, the Antilles, and later through more noble influences like the intake of refugees from places like Ethiopia, Turkey and Morocco.So I grew up enjoying and learning to make dishes like nasi goreng (indonesian fried rice) and nasi trafasi ( the surinam version with prawn paste and tamarind)
In New Zealand lucky for me, due to the large Asian and Pacific influence, rice is also a very well integrated staple. Here I discover new varieties, like Red Cargo Rice, black rice and white glutinous rice. It’s great to try and find the best recipe for the different types. Apparently there are 40,000 rice varieties!
I had a mixture of jasmine, red and black rice with freshly grilled salmon, spinach, cucumber and a light yogurt lemon vinaigrette the other day. It looked cool, and tasted even better. What’s your favourite rice variety?
Oysters, what can I say. I know the French say their oysters are top of the world, but I am guessing they have not tried the NZ ones yet! Pacific oysters, rock oysters, farmed ones, wild ones, and don’t forget the flat shelled deep sea very chunky Bluff Oyster. You can wake me up at any time to try any of these.
One of the best oysters I ever had were the wild ones we picked and opened ourselves at a lodge we stayed at in Marlborough Sounds. Those were small but oh so flavoursome rock oysters. These days my favourite oyster has to be the Kaipara oyster, farmed in the Kaipara harbour in a very sustainable way. But I am always willing to try any other ones.
I eat them the only way that you can really enjoy the flavour to its fullest, just with a squeeze of fresh lemon. I can’t justify putting them in batter and frying them. what do you think?
New Zealand really is a food lovers paradise. It’s not that well known as a foodie destination, but that is only a matter of time. There is so much good to choose from. Different regions have their own specialties, as climate and soil changes quite a bit across the country.
Nz dairy is well known in the world and the largest % comes from the central north island. If you can get your hands on some raw milk, you have to try it, it tastes like heaven.
Venison, which is what the prized NZ deer meat is called, mainly comes from Canterbury on the South Island, whilst Kiwifruit is mostly grown in Hawkes Bay. And don’t forget the seafood. Lobster and whitebait from the south island, snapper and kingfish from the north.
And lucky for everybody living or visiting NZ there are many world-class restaurants using this local produce where you can taste it in the best way possible. The french cafe for example (http://www.thefrenchcafe.co.nz/) in Auckland, was voted as one of world’s top restaurants behind one in Spain, UK and France. Wellington has more cafes and restaurants per Square meter then New York and there are many celebrity chefs that have restaurants here in nz that are still very accessible, like Al Brown and Peter Gordon.
New Zealand really is an undiscovered foodie paradise!