During my 14-day visit to New Zealand, I was able to try some phenomenal food. However, more than just trying food, my favorite part about traveling is being a food observer - noting the types of foods served at which meals and how that differs from back home.
Breakfast food options were quite similar to the U.S.A., with the exception of a few things. First, muesli was extremely popular and a must at breakfast. Many of you I'm sure have tried this delightful cereal, which is often a mixture of oats, dried fruit, and nuts. Think of it as a dressed-up oatmeal served cold with milk instead of warm. (This was a common attendant at breakfast during my travels through Europe as well.) I really wish we had good, affordable muesli available to us in the states because it is high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein - a phenomenal choice for breakfast! The other entertaining difference was the labels for milk. Instead of skim, 1%, 2%, or whole milk, the milks were labeled trim and standard (with variations of extra trim and such). Finally, the coffee in New Zealand left much to be desired. Coffee must be somewhat of a delicacy there, as one small cup cost 2-3x what we pay here. Also, Kiwis don't drink our drip coffee, but prefer European-style espresso and other strong coffee variations. Instead of having a coffee maker in the hotel rooms, every room provided instant (yes, you read correctly) - instant coffee granules. I love me a good instant cup for camping and such, but 14 days of instant coffee would make any American caffeine-addict zany. I rejoiced when I finally found American-style coffee (i.e. an Americano) in Queenstown at Joe's Garage. Delicious!
One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to visit American fast food joints to check out how the menu differs from back home. I may not purchase anything, but if you've never done this, it is quite interesting. McDonalds was my chain of choice this time around - mainly because they were everywhere (though we did enjoy the fact that KFC was also a HUGE hit). Because Kiwis (like Italians, French, and British) enjoy their afternoon coffee and biscuit, every McDonalds had a "McCafe Bistro" that served not only specialty coffee (many more selections than here), but also desserts similar to what you would see at a Starbucks (which was also a common site). The food menu was otherwise quite similar, though more limited than in the states. One additional category of items we tried were wraps. They had a tandoori chicken and a sweet chili chicken wrap (which were 'seared' instead of 'grilled'). While I had great expectations for these wraps, they fell short. The chicken itself was much more authentic than the chicken served in the states (yum), but the wrap itself was falling apart and covered with too much dressing, making it incredibly difficult to eat.
Come back next week when I discuss dinner (wine, seafood, and curry - oh my!) as well as show you why New Zealand is the perfect place for adventure-seekers. Cheers!