Like many other cultures, New Zealanders’ main meal is dinner and is eaten in the evening with family and/or friends. Dinner is often made from scratch and home cooked meals are very prominent in New Zealand. Cakes and baked goods are rarely made from a box. Despite the value of homecooked meals, New Zealanders still enjoy take out and fast food as well as dining out in restaurants or gastropubs.
It’s no secret that the weather in New Zealand is beautiful, especially in the summer. The weather makes it perfect for barbecue. Families and friends gather in backyards to have a few beers, drink some wine, enjoy the sunshine and some barbecued meat. The meals are often prepared and made up of elements contributed by the host and guests alike. This tradition could perhaps been have derived from Māori gatherings and traditions. Potluck style meals are extremely common in New Zealand whereby everyone invited or attending bring something.
In terms of eating out, the restaurant dining out culture developed in the mid 1970’s largely due to looser liquor laws as well as the increasingly popularity of casual dining and cafes which led to the increase in restaurants as well. Dining out is still viewed as something that is for special occasions. However, fast food culture is increasingly prominent and resembles that of United States or Britain. There are a combination of American and western fast food chains along with more local adapted chains as well. Another notable food is the infamous pie; pies are the closest thing to street food in New Zealand and can be sweet or savory and filled with anything from meat to custard.
Breakfast and lunch are both lighter, more casual meals. They are dependent on lifestyle and seasonal ingredients. Sweets are also very prominent in New Zealand with cakes and lollies and pies being hard to avoid.