New Zealand – Vegan Eats!
Let's start by telling you some basics for ordering food in the beautiful land of Kiwis:
- Kiwi - refers to a bird or a person from New Zealand
- Kiwifruit - refers to the little oval fruits which are delicious when cut in half and eaten with a spoon!
- Long Black - this is the closest you're gonna get to a cup of "drip" coffee. It's basically an Americano
- Flat White - this is a coffee with milk. Most places have soy milk and some have almond or coconut as well!!
Okay, let's get to the non-animal meat of it. Here is how to eat vegan on the road in New Zealand:
Toyota Yaris hit the road (driving on the left side, of course) and we headed straight to Onehunga, a cute residential suburb which lies between the airport and the city of Auckland. On the main road, we stumbled into Luscious Cafe. There were various pre made salads marked vegan, as well as a couple items on the menu noted as "vegan". They were sweet enough to make the daily special vegan for me as well!
The city which is home to The Shire has a small strip downtown with limited food options. I was so pleasantly surprised to find an amazing selection of raw, vegan options at EAT Cafe! The raw tacos were stuffed with a savory sunflower seed and veggie filling and garnished with cashew cream. YUM! We grabbed a locally brewed kombucha and raw ginger snap cookie to go (which were enjoyed later that day in the land of Hobbits).
We were about 15 minutes from the itty bitty town of Waitomo (city of caves) and 2 hours early for the glowworm cave tour. We read that there wasn't much in Waitomo so we stopped off at Otorohanga. I wandered into O Cafe to look at their cute selection of Christmas ornaments, soaps, and candles and we found another vegan haven tucked away in the corners of New Zealand.
The roads to Taupo were rural (yay for hundreds of happy cows- they have so much space in NZ), but the city of Taupo was more bustling then the last two. TANK, the juice and smoothie chain, appeared, as well as a couple other Cafes which offer vegan fare. We stopped in at Body Fuel and enjoyed a unique version of avocado toast. It was both sweet and savory- coconut butter topped with avocado, spinach, & seeds as well as pears! Yummy! Good for fueling us through our 4 hour kayak adventure in the massive Lake Taupo.
Napier is known as the "Art Deco" capital of New Zealand. It was rebuilt after a large earthquake in the 1930s in a very distinct and adorable vintage style. Chantal Organics is a small grocery and cafe in the art of the "downtown" area. It was AMAZING! It took a lot of restraint not to buy a bunch of groceries we didn't need... There were so many fun vegan options. Also, the black bean & mushroom tostadas deserve two thumbs up 🙂
After a delicious lunch at Chantal, we venured out to do some wine tastings. Moana Park offers 100% vegan and additive free wines which were delicious. We loved the Pinot Gris. Tasting was free and included about 8 different varieties and we even got to chat with the wine maker! We bought some to bring home and they told us they also started distributing to the Bay Area.
Napier's sister city definitely doesn't have the same charm. It does have some great food though. The Little BlackBird Cafe was stellar! The daily special that Friday was a mango smoothie bowl topped with homemade granola, toasted coconut, and coconut yogurt.
On the road to Wellington
En route to Wellington, we made a stop off in Levin. Whispers Cafe stood out as the place to go, with a line to the door next to a handful of other deserted cafes. I didn't expect to find vegan food in this little suburb spot, but was again so pleasantly surprised. Many of their salads and baked goods were vegan, as well as a yummy veggie panini with homemade nut based "mozzarella cheese". They sold Good Buzz Kombucha as well - A+++