Auckland's cultural smorgasbord of cuisine has never been so varied or fascinating.
Step into an Asian grocery shop, weekend markets or some Chinese restaurants, and you'll likely find stuff you thought existed only on television shows such as Fear Factor.
Duck eggs containing fetuses, silkworm pupae, snails and durian are stocked in such locations.
Asian butchers are also selling cuts and parts unheard of for human consumption not too long ago, such as pig intestines, pig maw, beef tendon and chicken feet.
The Herald has done some shopping and over the next five days will be introducing some of the most "interesting" finds.
We have also challenged some of Auckland's top chefs to come up with recipes to help Kiwis appreciate how food items some construe as revolting are seen as delicacies by others.
Paul Spoonley, a co-author of the yet-to-be-released book Welcome to Our World - Immigration and the Remaking of New Zealand, says that New Zealand's food scene is facing an Asian invasion.
"One of the most obvious manifestations of immigrant diversity is represented by food: the appearance of restaurants and retailers, the availability of an increasing array of food products, from kimchi to fish sauce, and the way in which new cuisine and food products are being consumed by many New Zealanders," the Massey University sociologist wrote.
The British heavily influenced New Zealand's food scene - introducing Sunday roast, flour-based baking and orthodox European dishes such as scrambled eggs, roast beef and baked potatoes, which became the staples of the New Zealand diet, Professor Spoonley said.
The first wave of non-European migration from the Pacific did little to change this, but the scene is facing a different level of onslaught from the Asians.
"Asian immigrants have overlaid this base with very different products and presentations so that, as with the population, food has become much more diverse," Professor Spoonley said.
"The produce is varied and often unknown even to the more interested and experienced Pakeha foodie."
By Lincoln Tan | Email Lincoln 5:30 AM Monday Jan 10, 2011