8 Foods You Must Try in Auckland

New Zealand landscape
New Zealand landscape

Besides being famous of having the most beautiful landscapes and magnificent shorelines, New Zealand is also famous for its diverse and flavorful cuisine.  But which dishes are the best of the best? Here are just eight you’ll definitely want to try during your visit down under.

1. Whitebait Fritter

There are hundreds of New Zealand dishes made with whitebait, a fish easily caught off the coast. The fritter, however, is one of the only meals that can be eaten any time of day. It’s made with eggs, flour, butter, whitebait and occasionally a dash of spice, so it’s a suitable dish for a quick breakfast, a tasty lunch and an easy dinner.

2. Hangi

While technically a method of cooking, you’ll see hangi food advertised in restaurants all across New Zealand. This is because it’s an important and carefully-preserved tradition from the Maori people. It involves digging a pit, filling it with flat stones and then slow-cooking a variety of meats and vegetables over a period of several hours.

3. Veggie Stack

Vegetarians, this one is for you. “Stacks” are New Zealand slang for multiple ingredients piled high on a bread foundation, and veggie stacks are a great way to enjoy New Zealand cuisine without ruining your diet. The typical veggie stack will include things like tomatoes, potatoes, avocados, spinach and broccoli served under a hearty cream.

4. Chicken Laksa

Laksa is one of the many “melting pot” dishes you’ll see in Auckland hotels and restaurants. Usually prepared with both light and dark meat, it combines noodles, chicken chunks, coconut flavors and chile oil for an amazing and entirely one-of-a-kind taste. You won’t find it anywhere north of the equator, either, so enjoy it while you can!

5. Kumara Wedges

A popular appetizer, kumara wedges are made from kumara, a local kind of sweet potato. They can be dipped, soaked and fried in everything from vegetable oil to aioli, and their texture is to die for: Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, they’ll keep you coming back for more every time.

6. Focaccia

The Kiwis love their bread! This dish was originally an Italian one, and it consists of a thick, hearty bread cooked with a variety of meats and spices. Many people report its texture to be like pizza dough, but it differs from pizza in the sense that the ingredients are internal, not stacked on top, and it can also be cooked with everything from lime to lamb.

7. Beef Rendang

If you like tender, juicy meat, you won’t want to miss this New Zealand spin on an Indonesian classic. The Kiwis prepare it with sauces that include everything from lemongrass to coconut cream, and the result is a dish so savory that it can almost be eaten with a spoon.

8. Lamingtons

Once you’ve eaten your vegetables, it’s time for dessert! Lamingtons are sponge cakes that are coated with chocolate and sprinkled with coconut. Some also have fruit or cream fillings for an extra kick. You can find cheap packaged versions in any grocery store, but the best come freshly and traditionally prepared in restaurants and hotels. Check in somewhere like the Whangaparaoa Lodge Motel to learn more.

These are just eight foods you’ll want to try while you’re in Auckland, New Zealand. Don’t forget to wash them down with a great NZ beer!  And while you are there, explore the beautiful mountain scenery in New Zealand.

50 Mandarin Words You Need to Know to Order Food in China

In 2014, more than 128 million people visited China, making it one of the most-visited countries in the world. If you are planning a trip, one thing you should know is that China is a large country with many languages and regional dialects. This can be confusing for even domestic Chinese tourists traveling in-country, let alone foreign visitors. Mandarin Chinese, the country’s official language, can be understood almost anywhere. Before going to China, familiarize yourself with these important words in Mandarin Chinese for ordering food. This will come in handy at restaurants and hotels in Shanghai, Beijing and other popular destinations in China.

  1. Rice Mi Fan
  2. Water Shui
  3. Tea Cha
  4. I want this. Wo yao zhe ge.
  5. Eat Chi fan
  6. It’s delicious! Hen hao chi!
  7. Thank you! Xie Xie!
  8. Noodles Mian
  9. Stuffed steamed bun Baozi
  10. Dumpling Jiaozi
  11. Beer Pijiu
  12. Fruit juice Guo zhi
  13. Coffee Ka fei
  14. Chopsticks Kuai zi
  15. Spoon Shao zi
  16. Fork Cha zi
  17. Restaurant Fan guan
  18. Sichuan hot pot Sichuan Huo guo
  19. Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles Lanzhou Lamian
  20. Beijing duck Beijing Kao ya
  21. Shanghai steamed bun Xiao long bao
  22. Kung pao chicken Gong bao ji ding
  23. Sweet and sour pork Tang cu li ji
  24. Chinese barbecue Shao kao
  25. Fried Rice Chao fan
  26. Ma Po Tofu Mapo doufu
  27. Wonton Huntun
  28. Vinegar Cu
  29. Soy sauce Jiangyou
  30. Salt Yan
  31. Hot pepper La jiao
  32. Menu Cai dan
  33. MSG Weijing
  34. Pork Zhu rou
  35. Beef Niu rou
  36. Chicken Ji rou
  37. Shrimp Xia
  38. Tofu Doufu
  39. Tomato Xi hong shi
  40. Bean sprout Dou ya
  41. Potato Tudou
  42. Scallion Cong
  43. Eggplant Qie zi
  44. Sweet Tian
  45. Spicy La
  46. Mutton Yang rou
  47. Waiter/Waitress Fu wu yuan
  48. Cheers Ganbei
  49. Pay the bill. Maidan.
  50. How much money is this? Duoshao qian?

So if you’re booking a flight to Hong Kong, Guangzhou or another Chinese city and you’re currently preparing for your big trip, study these 50 words. You’ll be able to handle yourself at any restaurant with much more ease. After all, eating is a big part of traveling. Knowing Mandarin Chinese restaurant vocabulary will be an invaluable help on your journey.

This post was posted by Fiona Moriarty on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on July 7, 2015