We don't respond well to criticism, especially if it is valid criticism that pierces the illusion that everything is wonderful in NZ.
(It's not just locals that get the grief. Remember the time Kevin Sorbo copped flak for daring to suggest that it can rain a lot in Auckland?)
"reminds him of British comfort cooking circa 1968"
I kind of agree in that if you squint, it's not entirely wrong. But it misses the bigger picture: NZ food incorporates a much wider diversity of influences.
For me, a key characteristic is that we "borrow" from cuisines and tweak to the local palate, with little regard for culinary boundaries. Like the "Malaysian" place that serves Vietnamese coffee, or any number of pan-Asian fusion eateries around these days. I include the "butter chicken pie" as part of that borrowing & tweaking.
Even at home, what we eat can be diverse (what I cook at home is diverse but I'm probably an outlier). One only has to look at what's available from supermarkets: ingredients from many many cuisines are available, and many items are not segregated to the "international foods" aisle either which suggests to me just how mainstream they have become. Contrast that with what you might see on supermarket shelves in e.g. Italy, where you can get a wide range of ingredients, so long as it is Italian (slight exaggeration).
There is Kai Pasifika in Auckland which we've been meaning to visit, and as Bart said, Michael Meredith brings his heritage to his food at the soon-to-be-closed (sadly), Merediths.
To be fair, kumara prices are ridiculously high at the moment. It's typically more like $4-5 a kilo vs the current ~$8.
Apparently torisashi a.k.a. chicken sashimi is a thing in Japan. That's a nope from me.
Ah, ok. The Wikipedia article suggests that it's mostly fish that is given the teriyaki treatment in Japan, and other meats like chicken is more a western thing. So if sushi found its way into China via Japan rather than from a western country, that could be an explanation?
I enjoyed reading this. Thanks Nik.
I think that the identifying marker of New Zealand cuisine is its relative lack of tradition. Even the (relatively few) foods that people name when asked to provide examples of Kiwi Cuisine aren't exactly novel. Meat & three veg, bacon buttie, fish & chips, pavlova all have foreign origins (well, maybe not pavlova). Hangi might be the closest thing we have to Kiwi Cuisine?
The newness is both a strength & weakness: we can (and do) freely borrow/steal from every other cuisine to make it our own. Before the 1990s sushi was almost unheard of but today, it has become ubiquitous. But it can also take us down some less desirable paths, like slathering sweet chilli sauce on and declaring whatever the resulting plate of food is to be a "fusion" dish. *shudders*
We are not much (if at all) restrained by culinary traditions so have the freedom to innovate, producing e.g. Kiwified versions of Spanish or Italian classics no self-respecting Spanish or Italian cook would accept as "the real thing" yet still tastes pretty good. So long as they are not sold as "authentic" I'm not too fussed.
The early Chinese settlers may not have served up authentic Chinese food to their customers, but that didn't stop them exporting exotic ingredients such as woodear back to China from as early as the 1870s exporting exotic ingredients such as woodear back to China from as early as the 1870.
One of the features of your article that I am curious about: given we have significant numbers of Kiwis with Greek heritage, why is it so hard to find a proper Greek restaurant in Auckland?
Given that teriyaki & sushi are Japanese, it doesn't much surprise me that you didn't have much luck finding chicken teriyaki sushi in China...
(Or is this some joke I'm not getting?)
"Q) Who did you vote for? A) Fact"
Assumes person answering is telling the truth.