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Breakfast Food

New Zealanders generally take a fairly light "continental" breakfast of juice, cereals, toast and tea or coffee. Visitors staying at a homestay or B&B may well be offered an additional "cooked breakfast" probably along the lines of the traditional English breakfast of bacon and eggs; if you're staying in motels, hostels or campsites, you'll generally have to fend for yourself. In the bigger towns, you'll often find a bakery selling fresh croissants, bagels and focaccia, but increasingly New Zealanders are going out for breakfast or brunch, aided by the proliferation of cafés serving anything from a bowl of fruit and muesli ($5) to large platefuls of Eggs Florentine and smoked salmon ($12-14).

In New Zealand cities you'll also come across food courts, usually in shopping malls where a central seating area is surrounded by stalls selling bargain plates of all manner of ethnic dishes. Some have outlets for fast food , a market dominated by McDonald's, Pizza Hut, KFC and Burger King. Meat pies are a stalwart of Kiwi snacking: sold in bakeries, petrol stations, golf shops, and from warming cabinets in pubs everywhere, the traditional steak and mince varieties are now supplemented by bacon and egg, venison, steak and cheese, steak and oyster and many others, though there is seldom a vegetarian version.

Undeterred by US fast-food hegemony, traditional burger bars continue to serve constructions far removed from the limp franchise offerings: weighty buns with juicy patties, thick ketchup, a stack of lettuce and tomato and that all-important slice of beetroot. McDonald's has even succumbed to consumer pressure and produced a Kiwiburger laden with beetroot and not a pickle in sight.

Fish and chips (or "greasies") are also very popular - the fish is often shark (called lemon fish) and the chips (fries) are usually re-cooked potato . At some fish and chip shops you can now have fresh fish of your choice cooked in batter or breadcrumbs. This is still the cheapest fast food around.

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