Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.

Pies. Updated.
February 9, 2008, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Food | Tags: ,

I wrote this back on Saturday but I’ve since received some questions on what I wrote, plus I’m generally just not very happy with it. So instead of a new post (and I have lots of ideas but little energy right now) I am updating this one.


It was something like Day Two in the country when my boss (and then-landlord) brought me back a pie from the shops. I’m not talking apple or lemon meringue, though you can’t go wrong with either of those, I reckon.

I’m talking mushroom and cheese.

At the office it became a mid-morning break routine to head across the street and pick up a pie from the Fonterra Building Cafeteria (I’m sure it has a name, but I could not tell you for the life of me what it would be). Steak and cheese led to mince and cheese led to Mexican led to pepper steak led back to Mexican.

Oh right – I forget to actually tell you that the GREATEST New Zealand snack food is the pie! But these aren’t big pies. These are fist-sized pastries that are served hot. The “fresh batch” is supposedly supposed to be released for sale around 9:30 or 10:00 every morning, but of course you can get them anytime. The best ones always sell out quickly.

What you get is a little pastry, fist-sized, full of a savoury (New Zealand English for “not sweet or sugary” but does not necessarily mean salty) filling that feels soooooo good going down. You certainly don’t think about the cholesterol your ingesting as the gently spiced filling warms your heart and your tummy when the 10 AM stomach grumbles kick in.  The pastry is a little thicker and more doughy than a typical pie crust, but it’s the same principle.

I’ve been boastful to people back home about how much my eating habits here have improved in the past 4.5 months. Yeah, well, one week I ate five pies. One day times two pies and three days times one pie. Don’t worry; I ran off all the calories the following week. I’m still not hyper-obese!

Canadians have the doughnut…Timbit…cruller…double tall latté. New Zealand has the pie. Except that you can’t get a pepper steak cruller in Canada (not even Barrie!).

Here’s the Dad’s Pies product information website, complete with promotional video showing you pies being made. The accent in the background, by the way, is Dutch. Here is an even better article on that company.

My coworkers tell me stories of, as children, going to the dairy (New Zealand for “corner store”) to pick up a Big Ben pie during a break at school. I have only sampled their frozen fare, which of course just isn’t the same as one made fresh that morning.  It’s like the difference between a pizza from a restaurant and pizza from the freezer case.  The “fresh” one came in a plastic wrapper and just wasn’t nearly as saucy as the “actually” fresh pies from the cafeteria across the street.

I mean, it’s all good, really, but to varying degrees of good.  Outside of the pepper steak pie I had yesterday (being Monday) morning, I have yet to meet a pie I did not like.  And they say there is no such thing as New Zealand cuisine…

(Oh man, am I ever hungry now…)


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Don’t eat all the pies in NZ before July … leave some for me!!!

Comment by puppydog

good thing you’re running so much….good for you for enjoying another aspect of NZ.

Comment by Blacksheep

So are these typically store-bought, or is it a common type of NZ street food?

Comment by PianoMan

tastier than the pasties some of us (ahem) lived on from the ‘pret a manger’ shops in the uk? that sounds pretty dangerous…and yeah, reading this a half-hour before lunch really does make one very hungry…

mmmmm….I so know what I’m making for dinner tonight now…

Comment by b

mushrooms – yecccchhh! and with cheese? fungus and bacteria wrapped up in pastry?

Comment by nancy drew

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