Epicurious: Australia & New Zealand

Get to know the cuisine of Australia and New Zealand.

By Janice Wald Henderson

Ask for jelly at breakfast and the server brings Jell-O. Order chips with a lunchtime sandwich, and the kitchen sends French fries. And if you want an entrée for dinner, ask for a “main” or you’ll get an appetizer.

When cruising Australia and New Zealand, dining ashore should be a snap — we all speak English — but surprise! Among our differences, it turns out Southern Hemisphere folks call many foods by other names. Read on to navigate menus and wine lists, and discover must-try restaurants. Your taste buds will thank us both.

Sounds Fishy
Most of us have eaten orange roughy and John Dory, but other Down Under fish also taste delish. Here are some you’ll find on the menu:

    • Barramundi – Australia’s favorite fish, with a sweet mild flavor.
  • Blue Cod – also known as New Zealand cod, prized for its delicate flavor and flaky meat.
  • Coral Trout – firm white fish, considered one of Australia’s finest.
  • Hapuka – also called grouper or groper. Firm white meat with medium flavor, usually served as steaks.
  • Kingfish – pale pink meat, often used for sashimi.
  • Red Gurnard – firm fillets, versatile enough to be prepared many ways.
  • Tarakihi – moist and flavorful, with firm flesh. Popular for fish and chips.

Five Must-Tries
Put these notables on your foodie bucket list.

    • Bluff Oysters – South Island, New Zealand oysters, adored for plumpness, juiciness, and flavor. Season runs from March until June or July.
  • Lamington – Aussie fave; chocolate-iced sponge cake squares coated with shredded coconut.
  • Meat Pies – often shaped like turnovers; meat and gravy encased in rich flaky crust.
  • New Zealand Lamb – revered for mild flavor and tender meat.
  • Pavlova – meringue dessert, traditionally filled with whipped cream and topped with strawberries and kiwifruit. Aussies and Kiwis fight (good-naturedly) over which country originated this iconic sweet.


Sip This
In New Zealand, look for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Hawke’s Bay — home to more than 70 wineries — and Sauvignon Blanc from sunny Marlborough. Standout Pinot Noir hails from Wairarapa, at the southern….

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Photo: David Hancock/ Alamy


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