What’s the first feed that comes to mind when you think of New Zealand food? Fresh kina? A flaky steak and cheese pie? Hāngi pork? Surely not a pavlova. 

As small as we may be, New Zealand’s culinary identity is surprisingly hard to fit on one plate. Tangata whenua and tauiwi have long contributed to this eternal potluck.

We repurpose generational recipes with local ingredients, steeping new flavours in old techniques. 

That kind of sustained fusion (almost) always leads to delicious results hard to find anywhere else in the world. It begs the question: what exactly is New Zealand cuisine? 

At its molten core, the food we make is far more than just a hangover cure or a love language. It opens a pot lid to us showing who we are, and what we think is worth a second serving. 

What’s on the menu then?

We’ll start the week with an appetiser consisting of your hot takes on the most overrated/underrated food

We also want you to tell us what New Zealand’s most quintessential dish is. Rank and suggest your faves and fads in this survey, and we’ll pit them against each other on our Instagram Stories throughout the week. Voting closes 6PM on Monday. 

On Tuesday,  we get into a pair of sticky and unwieldy topics. Janhavi Gosavi gives you a guide on how to complain at a restaurant without being one of… those people. 

Te Ahipourewa Forbes gives you the low down on sourcing your own kai.

On Wednesday, we start on our main courses. Take a peek inside some fridges in a photo essay by Janhavi Gosavi and photographer Lewis Ferris.

On Thursday, Baz Macdonald looks at how the cost of living crisis is partly driven by companies earning excess profits.He unpacks what excess profits are, the impact they are having on the cost of goods and services, and what we can do about it.

Then, Nancy Guo from Craccum Magazine also tackles the nutty trauma of the Almond mum. Have we escaped their grip?

On Friday Baz takes you with him to tour the Mexicano factory, giving an insight on how their corn chip gets made. The video is so soothing that I’ve started putting it on as I go to sleep.

And to start your Friday night, Janhavi Gosavi returns to answer a question we’ve all likely thought at some point on a blurry, wine-stained night out: Why do New Zealanders like BYOs so much?

On Saturday, we cleanse the sav-soaked palate with an episode of Sik Fan Lah! talking all about the fusion of local ingredients and family recipes.  

And finally, Zoe Madden-Smith takes you on a trip to Great Barrier Island. She learns from a local that hunting, catching and growing your own food there isn’t recommended, it’s essential.