I’ve been living overseas for the last 5-6 years now, first travelling through Europe, then living in Thailand, and now based in San Diego, California. One of the things I miss the most is the small comforts of food and other products from home, especially Meat pies. While I love getting a package every once and a while from mum with a few blocks of Whittakers chocolate, nothing compares to having a Milo or a Meat Pie that I’ve bought locally. It’s taken a while to find out what products are available based on the discussions in the Kiwis in LA, and Kia Ora Las Vegas Kiwis (the two closest groups to San Diego) Facebook groups, and here is everything I know about getting Kiwi (or Aussie and South African, or even Canadian equivalent) products here in San Diego.
This post will be a work in progress and I’ll try and keep it updated as I find new products from New Zealand available in So Cal. If it’s not listed – tell me in the comments!
Where to Find New Zealand Style Products in Southern California?
Where to find New Zealand Meat Pies in Southern California?
One of the things I miss the most living here in the USA are real pies, i.e ones made out of meat, and not the terrible shit that you buy in the supermarkets here. Luckily there are a few options, first of all there is Aunty Devy’s Meat Pies (FB), based out of Escondido, about 30 minutes North of San Diego. They make some great pies and supply a tonne to Hawaii of all places (and are actually easier to purchase in retail stores there than they are here!), and are the main supplier for most of the rugby clubs in the area, the New Zealand consulate when they have events and the Las Vegas Sevens. They also have a weekly stand on Saturdays at the Poway Farmers Market from 8am-1pm. Without a doubt these are the best Kiwi style pies in the area and cost around $6-7 each last time I checked.
Otherwise you can try ordering online. Kia Ora California distributes pies that are made by Kiwi Kuisine in Virginia and have some good looking Bacon and Egg Pies, while some
New Zealand Spreads in Southern California
I haven’t seen anywhere locally to purchase Marmite yet, but it’s occasionally on Amazon, if you can deal with the Aussie stuff, Vegemite can be found on Amazon or in stores at Cost Plus World Market. Pic’s Peanut Butter is available at Bristol Farms Supermarkets in the area and online on Amazon, it’s distributed by POD Sales NZ.
New Zealand Cookies & Biscuits in Southern California
I haven’t spotted any cookies for sale in the US retail market, though there are plenty for sale on Amazon.
New Chocolate & Lollies in Southern California
For some bizarre reason, I can’t find anyone stocking these, luckily they are available on Amazon.com (including Whittakers, Pascalls, Allens and other brands – I’ve put them all in one place at Kiwiexpatshopping.com)
New Zealand Cheese in Southern California
We all know how absolutely awful American cheese can be. Cheddar is NOT supposed to be orange. Luckily Trader Joes stocks New Zealand Cheddar (normal and Organic) and is a staple food in our household.
New Zealand Beer & Wine in Southern California
New Zealand beer is currently imported into the USA, via distributors Shelton Brothers who are located in Maine who sell via Lime Ventures in the Bay Area. So far I only know of two places that stock the beer in So Cal, carrying the No. 8 Wired brand of Craft beer – The Best Damn Beer Shop in Downtown San Diego and Aroha Restaurant in Los Angeles.
You can also find plenty of New Zealand hops available on Amazon and at many home brewing supply stores.
New Zealand wine is available all over the place, as with many other products, you’ll often find it for sale in it’s own Australia and New Zealand section at Trade Joes, or sprinkled around the wine aisles at Wholefoods. You’ll generally pay around $10-20 a bottle for brands you recognise, as well as some that were clearly made for export only and aren’t available back home.
New Zealand Soft Drinks in Southern California
I’ve seen L&P for sale on Amazon.com and Trader Joes also stocks New Zealand Artesian water, which I think is just a fancy name for water from Paeroa if you want to drink something from home. I still don’t understand shipping water all the way from New Zealand to the USA, but if you want to spend money on it – be my guest. You can also find a variety of NZ mineral water brands for the US Domestic market available on Amazon.
Where to find Milo in Southern California
Milo can be found at Amazon.com, or if you are living in San Diego, at Vinh Hung in Clairmont Mesa, I’ve also heard reports of it being stocked at other Asian supermarkets in Los Angeles. The big tins cost around $15 USD. The stuff on Amazon comes from a variety of different countries, and each has a different consistency to the powder. Some is more powdery, while others is more crunchy like home. I personally try to purchase the Milo that is made in Malaysia, which is the closest to the Kiwi stuff I’m used to.
You can’t get Sanitarium Weetbix in stores in the San Diego, but you can purchase it on Amazon where it’s really expensive ($12-17 USD a box) – I’ve got them all at Kiwiexpatshopping.com. I’ve been able to confirm today that you can also purchase NZ Weetbix for around $5 a box from the Glendale Adventist Book Store, as well as the Loma Linda Market (Which I think is also Seventh Day Adventist which explains the Sanitarium Connection) if you are in the Los Angeles area.
Instead I usually purchase the Canadian made Weetabix, which is virtually the same and costs around $3-5 a box and is available at Wholefoods and Trader Joes. It comes in Organic and Standard varieties.
Manuka products are one Kiwi product that’s really easy to find. There are a tonne of different brands (including Arataki) available which you can find in varying potencies at decent supermarkets. I’ve seen it for sale at Trader Joes, Ralphs, Sprouts and some Asian supermarkets. Expect to pay anywhere from $12-100 depending on size and strength. You can also purchase Manuka honey products on Amazon.com (I’ve made it easier by listing them all at Kiwiexpatshopping.com)
I’m not a fan of most of the bread for sale in the United States, it feels very “light” and often has a weird sweet taste to it. Luckily you can purchase Vogels bread from select Ralphs stores and my local one in La Jolla almost always has it in stock (I’ve also confirmed that the ones in Pacific Beach & Point Loma also have it).
Feijoas (aka Pineapple Guavas)
Feijoas are sometimes for sale at Ralphs (and possibly Vons) stores (though they are very small and often end up costing around $2-3 each), when they are either imported (From New Zealand or Chile), or grown North East of San Diego in Escondido and Vista (when in season they are also sold at the Hillcrest Farmers Market in San Diego on Sundays), I’ve also heard rumors of trees growing in an apartment complex in La Jolla shores, but have not investigated yet, and if you are in Riverside you can find them growing in front of the Library at La Sierra University.
One of the things that drove me crazy is not being able to find NZ style yoghurt here. The closest (and best) thing you’ll find is Noosa Australian style yoghurt (available at Ralphs, Sprouts and Wholefoods), or if thats not available Wallaby yoghurt (Available at Wholefoods, Trader Joes and Sprouts) is an OK second choice. Easiyo products are available on Amazon via Kiwi Expat Shopping.
Local New Zealand themed Restaurants
There are a few of these dotted around So Cal, I’ve even had the pleasure of being kicked out of one during our engagement party because we were apparently “too drunk” (where in reality, the staff didn’t understand our Kiwi sense of humour, but what can you do?), they’ve got some good homestyle kai (Pies, Fish & Chips, New Zealand Lamb, Kumara Chips, Kiwi style Burgers – inspired by Ferg Burger in Queenstown) and some decent wine (but not Kiwi beer last time I checked) on the menu. They are all well worth checking out:
- Raglan Public House, Ocean Beach – San Diego
- Dunedin, North Park – San Diego
- Queenstown Public House, Little Italy – San Diego
- Bare Back Grill, Pacific Beach – San Diego
- Aroha Restaurant – Los Angeles
- Tangaroa Fish Market & Raw Bar – Los Angeles
There are also a bunch of companies that ship New Zealand style products overseas for hungry expats, these include:
- Kiwi Corner Dairy (Literally around the corner from my Mum’s house in Pukekohe)
- Products from New Zealand
- Shop New Zealand
- New Zealand Seafoods
- Kiwi Importer (for Kaitia Fire Hot Sauces, Heilala Vanilla Products, Zealong Teas, Antipodes Water, Belixir Honey and more)
More recently I’ve started my own website that puts everything that is available on Amazon.com in one easy place to purchase. Everything is paid for and fulfilled via Amazon, meaning most of it has free shipping if you have prime. It’s got chips, chocolates, meat, dairy, lollies, pies, wine, hops, books, souvenirs and more. Check it out at kiwiexpatshopping.com
Have I missed something out? Found some interesting New Zealand products somewhere? Let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post to try and keep it up to date. Make sure you book mark it too!