Curry is Still the Country’s Go-To Dish

Ensuring restaurants add the right amount of spice is one of the most popular requests curry-loving foodies make when ordering.

New data from online food delivery service Menulog reveals customer requests to restaurants range from cheeky (“Give us a CHURHOO when you turn up”) and funny (“No chicken in the butter chicken, just sauce”), to scarily polite (“Please pass it to me through the window. I have a psycho poodle”). The police also left a simple yet slightly unnerving note: “Come into the Police Station and ring the bell”.

However, it is the prevalence of “Kiwi hot” vs “Indian hot” comments that are among the most common from customers.

“Please make it Indian hot” and “Indian hot brother” are just two of the comments left by customers, while “Kiwi hot please” is a request for a curry that is a little milder. The data also revealed that Indian remains Kiwis’ most popular cuisine with Butter Chicken once again topping the list as it did in 2020. Rounding out the top five favourite dishes were Chicken Tikka Masala, Korma, Paneer, and Aloo Gobi.

Air Indian Restaurant in Rotorua is one of many restaurants on the Menulog platform known for its diverse range of authentic Indian dishes.

“A mild butter chicken is our most popular dish among Kiwi customers, but for our spicier curries, we add authentic Indian herbs and spices to bring out the flavours,” commented owner, Dinesh Prasad, adding that he and his team hear the terms Kiwi hot and Indian hot on a daily basis.

“We add a little extra spice for our customers who request their dish to be Indian hot, which is code for letting us know they can handle the heat.”

Menulog has 57 different cuisine types on its platform with the most popular non-Indian dishes made up of Kebabs, Pad Thai, Hawaiian Pizza, Pepperoni Pizza, and Wontons.

This year has also seen a sharp rise in the popularity of Vietnamese and boba milk tea with both up more than 4,500% on last year.

Morten Belling, Managing Director of Menulog ANZ noted that orders across New Zealand increased 87% from the start of this year to the end of April and Menulog’s customer base grew 45%.

“In New Zealand this growth was driven by the launch of our full delivery service in February which is currently rolling out nationally. We now have more than 1500 restaurants on the platform,” said Belling, adding that the growth in order numbers highlights the increased demand from Kiwis wanting better value as well as a wider range of food delivery options and cuisines to choose from.

“We’re committed to supporting local communities by bringing more choice for both customers and small businesses across New Zealand. With the launch of delivery, we’re focused on delivering greater value to our customers and providing new opportunities for our restaurant partners in both the larger urban centres and right throughout the regions.”

As the Delivery Service is rolled out across the country, Menulog has removed all delivery fees with a $10 minimum order until the end of June. It then moves to a tiered system with an average delivery fee of $5 and as low as $1.99 during off-peak times.