Culinary Adventures
Comments 14

New Zealanders love their pies

The Steak and Guinness Pies I made for St Paddy’s Day earlier this year.

I was once told by someone, that something I once said while eating struck a chord with her.

“Every now and then, a girl needs a pie.”

The cut off date for the Bakels NZ Supreme Pie Awards was yesterday and from now until July, pie makers all over the New Zealand will be perfecting their pies leading up to judging day on the 19th July. This excites me. If only I knew someone who needed a human guinea pig for their pie perfecting month. Last year, a fruit pie shocked the nation (ok, slight exageration) when it beat 4,400 entries and took the coveted top pie award. Fruit pies are ok, but I’m a meat pie kind of girl. Mince and cheese to be exact. New Zealand beef with a layer of melted cheese in a buttery puffy pastry case. Oh gawd.

Pies in New Zealand are a traditional food (borrowed from England) and eaten for breakfast by kids on their way to school, everyone for lunch and others for dinner with an optional side of mash potatoes and peas to fill out the meal. Usually in a single serve package, they are portable, cheap, tasty and filling. Some pies must be eaten with a knife and fork on a plate. Pies can be found in cafes and restaurants, school tuck shops, lunch bars, dairies (convenience store) and gas stations all across the country. The humble meat pie, like many humble dishes has been reinvented in many reiterations over the years.

Mince and cheese (ground beef, gravy and oozy, melty cheese) is my go-to pie and favourite pie across the country. But fancy fillings like “Chicken and mushroom pie with pesto and parmesan” are a welcome progression from the eternally popular beef pies. Gourmet pies that fetch prices of $6 or more compete in the same market as the dodgy $1 or $2 gas station variety.

Gas station pies are not recommended for anyone but the drunk or desperate. I spoke to a rep from one of the best pie brands sold at gas stations not long ago. He said despite recommendations to their resellers that pies be purchased or discarded after a certain number of hours, pies continue to sit in the warmer until they are sold. It’s not the pie’s fault it’s been sitting there since the beginning of time, gravy blackened and viscera fossilising in the dry heat. If you have ever had a gas station pie, you know what I mean.

Perhaps the most well known gas station pie is the one that Sergeant Guy Baldwin catapulted to fame on the TV series Police Ten 7. This South Park fan-made clip features the original audio but the visuals have been altered. Just a little.

Always blow on the pie. Safer Communities Together.

I have made pies several times with terrific results, but to be honest, it’s a lot of effort involved when it’s just as easy and about the same cost to buy a good pie from the shop. What is your go-to pie? What pies would you make at home?

This entry was posted in: Culinary Adventures


I am Genie, a graphic designer/photographer obsessed with food and bunnies. I live in Whanganui, New Zealand with my husband, The Koala and our two rabbits, Kobe and Bento. I write about my hedonistic ways and I love the mantra "Eat well, travel often". I prefer not to write about myself in third person.


  1. Holy cow am I ever a hardcore mince & cheese pie addict. I mean Ive got a serious problem and I’m probably going to die soon. I’ve only been here a month but Ive had a pie at least 4 times a week. I usually stand in front of the pie warmer for a while in my “Always Blow On The Pie T-Shirt” pretending to hum and haw about which exciting flavour Im going to try next.. but we all know it’s going to be mince & cheese. We don’t have this in Canada! The closest thing was a Jamaican Beef Patty sold at every convenience store, which comes in flavours like Curry Beef and Salt Fish. Delicious.. but NZ pies are a revelation to me! Do you need a special pie pan to bake them? Where do you buy this pan? I have so many questions about this beautiful new world. Thank you so much for finding my blog, I’m looking forward to reading yours.
    – Kara

    • Hi Kara! It’s nice to meet a fellow mince and cheese pie addict. You must try the mince and mozzerella pie at The Fridge in Kingsland. But once you do that, prepare for a lifetime of other pies that don’t quite measure up.

      I just used a large muffin tin for my little pies, but you can get pie plates.

      Curry beef and Salt Fish patty sounds amazing! We don’t have much Jamaican food here in NZ, but I’ve loved the little of it that I’ve tried. Last week I made a Jamaican style Curry Goat for the first time. It’s funny how food from hot places are so comforting during our winter.

    • Thanks sweetie! I can’t think of a vegetarian version of this pie but there are many gourmet vegetarian pies around. I’m sure you know 🙂

  2. Gahhh your pies look awesome! Yes on the meat pies…I rarely like fruit pies…love mince and cheese too. Heavy on the cheese hehe. When I first came to NZ I sort of didn’t get why pies are so big here but it’s now one of my comfort foods 🙂 Girl needs pie 🙂

  3. baconbiscuit212 says

    This looks soooo good. There is an Aussie pie shop down the street, but they pale in comparison to these.

    Thanks for the tip to blow on them! I imagine that all that hot gravy is dangerous!

    • That’s not Dub Pies is it? They are reportedly both Australian and New Zealand. I have a friend that worked there once and served pies Robert Downey Jnr.

      It’s like molten lava sometimes. I’ve had blisters in my mouth from not blowing on the pie. Dangerous stuff. Live life on the edge. Don’t blow on the pie.

      • It’s called Tuck Shop and it has kind of expanded over the city. No fear of a nuclear hot pie from them though. They seem to have one flavor: lukewarm. Seriously. All their pies taste the same to me.

        You are inspiring me to make my own NZ pie!

  4. gold price says

    Yummy goodness! Tried some fried pies for breakfast this morning. I had the peach while hubby had the bacon, egg and cheese. We both loved our selections. The crust is flaky goodness in a bag. We will most definitely be returning to try one of their savory lunch pies.When you stop by, do yourself a favor and skip the drive-thru. Go inside and order. The order takes a few minutes, cause its made to order but that gives you some time to peruse the many historical photos of College Station, Texas A&M and Bryan that they have blown up to large sizes and hung around the dining room. Very cool!

I love your comments! Your comments are like extra melted cheese on top.

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