Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lost in the Diaper Aisle

Venison on the Menu


Waitomo Hotel

The first time I traveled five months in New Zealand, I stopped at a supermarket on my way out of Auckland and got lost in the diaper aisle. I needed napkins. I was sent to the diaper aisle for baby diapers. I soon learned nappies are for a baby’s bottom. Surviettes are to wipe your top when you’re a sloppy eater.

Larger towns have supermarkets with bakeries and delis. You’ll need your trolley or trundler. Smaller towns have butcheries, bakeries, dairies and milk bars. Fruits and vegges are cheap and abundant in the summer. Blackberries, raspberries, strawbs, capsicans, cougarettes, butternut, silverbeet and marrow are in season. Avocados can be found as low as five for 1$NZ at the greengrocer or on a table in someone’s yard. Just pick the ones you want and drop your money in the honesty box. Swedes are 2$NZ per bag. Dave’s a Swede in good nick, too. He won’t let me stuff him in a bag, though. Fruits and vegges are more expensive in the South Island. Hawks Bay and Northland near Kiri Kiri are good produce areas. In March, the first crop of apples from the South Island hits the markets as low as 2$NZ per bag.



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Meat is fresh and cheap. Most cuts are the same as US cuts, but watch the T-bones– the butcher steals the fillet. Hungry for a hamburger on that new barbe? Better ask for steak mince or you might end up with beetroot in that patty. Or try a banger– good with onions. Of course not as good as Wisconsin bangers my traveling Wisconsin food expert tells me. Watch the hogget, too. It’s one-year-old lamb, not pork. The beef seems a little gamier– possibly fresher. Deer and elk raised for export is available in some areas– as well as on the menu in upscale restaurants. When camping in elk farm country, never spend the night across the river from a lonely bull elk. And never share a campground with a hippie and his bongo drum.

If you like sea food, try tuna, snapper mahi mahi or salmon. Dig your own tua tua or pipi or find some paua– a little smaller than California abalone. Supermarkets carry good supplies of sea food if you don’t want to get your toes sandy. To catch your own fish– salmon, trout or a bill fish, you’d probably have better luck with a guide or charter company. And, that’s a topic for another post.

Hangi to Go


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New Zealand is very careful about agricultural disease. When clearing customs, you are asked if you’ve been on a farm or golf course in the last thirty days. Golf shoes need to be disinfected. New Zealand’s economy would be devastated if any of the European or Asian diseases got into the country. New Zealand is very clean. You don’t have to worry about the safety of the food supply. You do have to worry about the safety of your pants– remember to bring those elastic pants.

(To be continued)

Lyn Harris

RV in NZ: How to Spend Your Winters South in New Zealand

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Anonymous said...

I might try one of those swedes if I knew what they were. Blonde curly hair and muscles by any chance?

Anonymous said...

I hope I make it to New Zealand before I'm back in the nappies.

Lyn said...

Afraid not. Just a rutabaga. Not anything I ever cared for.

Anonymous said...

Kumara is a sweet potato, but not like the sweet potato in the US.

Lyn said...

I wouldn't want to make sweet potato pie out of them. The only ones I had were at a hangi. They were pretty rough textured.

Anonymous said...

Back to an old question:
Shampoo and batteries are expensive in NZ.
Kim C.

Mike said...

Wow, I never knew NZ had such good hygiene with the food they produce. You learn something new every day.
Mike C

Anonymous said...

You bet batteries are expensive (if you can even find the size you want) We tried to find a battery for our camera in Auckland. We tried three stores and were told we could order one but it would take two or three weeks. Anything special it helps to bring a spare.
Jerri G.