The mar­kets

The Insider's Guide to New Zealand - - NORTH ISLAND -

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.

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