Sunday, February 11, 2007

Maori Feast in Rotorua

I spent about 18 hours in the city of Rotorua. I was able to cram in a visit to a geothermic public park full of smoking mud craters, bike to and hike through a redwood forest, and eat with the Mitai family, a Rotoruan Maori tribe who make a mean Hangi.

This Hangi was made to cater to about 100 visitors, but this "barbeque in a pit" cooking style can be found family-sized at: and I highly recommend it. My vegetarian version included soft, smokey kumera (a white-fleshed sort of sweet pototato), as well as a stuffing made with poisonous orange berries, the toxins removed by the 24 hour subterranian cooking process. I'm told a lot of Hangi are made well on the beach and include fish; I liked the tubers in mine and can only imagine the delicious possibilities of stacks of parsnips, carrots, potatoes and onions.