It was preordained that Hamilton and its surrounds would be a source of excellent nosh. Early Maori knew the benefits of settling by a river that guaranteed good irrigation and soil, plus ready transport. The Hamilton hills and Waikato basin are peppered with borrow pits used to store root vegetables and middens used as earth ovens. Garden Place, the very heart of the business district, was once a thriving kumara patch.
Today the food tradition continues but instead of middens there are markets, ethnic eateries, underground food stalls and topend restaurants. Hamilton has more cafés in one concentrated quarter of its main street than any other city in New Zealand. Few people know that.
You can also forage for your own food at the markets. There are at least five within a 20-minute radius of the city where you can stock up the pantry and chat with the locals about everything, including the price of milk.