Ask any expat in any country to list what they miss about home, they’re guaranteed to include items of food. While British immigrants to New Zealand are luckier than most (in that New Zealand cuisine is practically the same as British cuisine,) there are many English foods I miss.
The first time my nana visited us, after our first Christmas in New Zealand, I begged her to bring Hobnobs and Hovis Digestives. (She did, along with a tray of Cadbury Creme Eggs that caused a great stir at customs, even though Creme Eggs are readily available in New Zealand. At the time we joked that they probably looked like grenades in the x-ray machine, although, in retrospect, they probably looked like real eggs, which New Zealand customs would find far more frightening.) You can actually get Hobnobs and Digestives in New Zealand, if you can find a speciality English food shop. It’s easy nowadays. A few years ago, supermarkets started having English sections as well. The problem, of course, is they’re expensive. I miss them because they’ve gone from being ordinary, everyday biscuits to extra-special treats. The same can be said for Walkers Crisps and Galaxy Chocolate. (Come to think of it, moving to New Zealand was probably best for my health.)
9) Walkers Crisps
Here’s something you should know about New Zealand: Kiwis don’t know what crisps are. They call crisps ‘chips’. If you’re wondering what they call real chips to avoid confusion, they just add the adjective ‘hot’. That said, New Zealand does have some fairly decent brands of chips (that’s crisps, not hot chips,) but none of them are as good as Walkers. They don’t have Smoky Bacon or Prawn Cocktail or Worcester Sauce!
8) Galaxy Chocolate
New Zealand chocolate sucks. Actually, that’s not true. Whittaker’s is good. But I’ve yet to find a chocolate that tastes as good as Galaxy that isn’t from Belgium, Switzerland or Germany.
7) Cadbury Mini Rolls
Cadbury exists in New Zealand, (although the chocolate tastes a little different,) but I’ve yet to find Mini Rolls, even in English food shops. I’ll always associate Mini Rolls with my grandma’s house in the small town I grew up in. Last time I was back in England, I stuffed my face with them.
6) Milky Bar Yoghurts
Another childhood favourite I simply can’t find in New Zealand is the Milky Bar Dessert, even though you can get Milky Bars here. The rest of my family find Milky Bar Desserts sickly, but I love them and so did my grandma. In fact, I might miss them the most.
5) English Sausages
New Zealand sausages really don’t compare to English sausages. That’s not to say you can’t get nice sausages in New Zealand, but it’s harder than you’d think. People here drive out of their way to butchers that do good ones. My favourite sausages in the world come from the butchers’ in my home town, and they are a pinnacle of tastiness that has never been reached by any other sausage – they are my chipolatas.
When we moved to New Zealand, mum tried to serve me other chipolatas, but they were ordinary. I just wouldn’t stop talking about my chipolatas, about how we had them with cranberry jelly at Christmas… The first time I returned to England, (seven years after we had left,) I was most excited about tasting my chipolatas again. Mum warned me that they wouldn’t be as nice as I remembered, that I’d put them on a pedestal in my mind and would be disappointed. But I wasn’t. They were wonderful.
4) Custard Tarts
You can get custard tarts in New Zealand, (or, more commonly, custard slices,) but they’re gross. I can’t stand them. Yet English custard tarts from English bakeries are divine. Mum used to treat us to them when we went for the big shop on a Saturday. When we’d been in New Zealand a while, she spotted some custard tarts at a New Zealand bakery, so she got us some. They looked similar to our English custard tarts, except they were a disturbingly garish shade of yellow. And they tasted like a disturbingly garish shade of yellow.
Further disappointments led me to the sad conclusion that I’d never eat a nice custard tart again, but then my mum uncovered the Delia Smith custard tart recipe. That does the trick.
I mean the chocolate biscuit bars, not the animals. New Zealand has England beat on the animals, I think. P-p-pick up a Penguin! To be fair, in this case, I think it’s the marketing I miss rather than the product. New Zealand has a very similar chocolate biscuit called a Tim Tam and, I hate to say, it’s better. Tim Tams have even been known to convert Germans – that’s high praise in the chocolate world.
You can get raspberries in New Zealand. Of course you can. But they’re EXPENSIVE. My god, they’re expensive! Why are they so expensive?!
I remember raspberries and blackberries being everywhere in England. People couldn’t get rid of them quickly enough. The fruit that people can’t get rid of quickly enough in New Zealand is the feijoa. If you move to New Zealand, you’d better learn to like it.
1) Fish and Chips
Fish are chips are as central to New Zealand culture as they are to English culture. In many ways, New Zealand fish and chips are better than English fish and chips, BUT New Zealand fish and chips don’t come with all the trimmings: mushy peas, curry sauce, brown sauce, salad cream… New Zealanders put tomato sauce on their ‘fush and chups’ and that’s it. And it’s Wattie’s tomato sauce, not Heinz. Although Wattie’s is Heinz anyway… I wonder if there’s a difference? Is the English stuff darker, or am I imagining it?
At the end of the day, there’s not actually all that much to miss in New Zealand, food-wise. The English staples of Sunday roasts, pies, fish and chips, tea and coffee, beer and wine, cakes and Indian takeaways are New Zealand staples too. Besides, overall, I’d say New Zealand has better food than England.
To read more about what I miss from England, see Top 20 Things a Brit in New Zealand Misses.