7 things you should eat in Palmerston North

Pastries at Babco.

Palmerston North has more than their fair share of delicious, local ingredients to work with.

Feature image: Pastries at Babco. 

Whether you’ve lived here your whole life or are just visiting for a moment, you won’t want to miss these seven dishes which showcase and celebrate Palmerston North's local farmers, fishers, bakers, butchers, growers, baristas, chefs and even florists. Lots of the menus change with the seasons, but these plates will give you a sense of what’s in store.


3B/95 Albert Street, Terrace End, Palmerston North

BABCO, which stands for Brick Artisan Bread Company, is the bakery of your dreams. Grab a loaf of their famous Everyday Sourdough. This stuff has been perfected over the last five years by owners, bakers and spouses, Alice and Jeremy Hocquard. The duo built the business from the ground up, and are self taught pastry chefs and bread bakers respectively.

The sourdough is perfectly tart and strikes that balance between crunch and chew - it’s a top notch carbohydrate that you don’t want to miss whilst in Palmy. All of the breads, danishes, scones, rolls, sandwiches and other treats, are made on site by the team. Take a loaf (or five) away for toast, platters and sandwiches, or stay a while to enjoy a beautiful pastry with a barista coffee or tea.

Ginger Bird

527 Taonui Road, Colyton

This wee country coffee spot has got the goods when it comes to barista coffee and sweet treats. Housed inside of two containers, Ginger Bird is cosy and welcoming.

Everything is made fresh each morning on site, and after a minute or two you’ll forget you’re inside a container all together. Peek inside the cabinet and discover their array of slices for which locals come back again and again. The Bounty Bar has got all the classic coconutty goodness you’d expect but, plot twist, it’s completely vegan without sacrificing even a bit of yom. The cashew caramel slice, meanwhile, balances savoury, nutty flavours with sticky, sweet caramel and also happens to be gluten free. While gluten free and vegan treats aren’t the sole focus, Ginger Bird does them excellently. Check out the homemade pies, too!

Saigon Corner

54 Princess Street, Palmerston North

The salt and pepper squid salad at Saigon Corner strikes a perfect balance between moreish and nutritious, and can be enjoyed as a main or as a sharing plate amongst mates.

Fresh cuts of squid are delicately fried till golden brown and dressed with plenty of salt and pepper. They’re then perched atop a heaping of colourful salads made of green apple, spring onions, celery, coriander, carrot, peanut and cabbage with a zingy dressing. These fresh, punchy flavours paired with the crispy, fried squid, are completely delicious and will leave you feeling satisfied and well looked after. 

Feilding Farmers Market

Manchester Square, Feilding

For the last 15 years, the Feilding Farmers Market has popped up every Friday morning on Manchester Square just beneath the clock tower. Here you’ll find an array of fruits, flowers, veggies, cheeses, olive oils, cakes, breads and other locally grown and made products. So stock up and enjoy a meal here, as well.

Peter and Ash, two local sheep farmers, serve up notable white bait, paua, and mussel fritters at the market, and they’ve got the classic recipe down to a science. For the whitebait fritter, it’s just “two eggs and some whitebait.” In reality, it’s a lot of whitebait, one of the most generous serves you’ll find maybe anywhere in New Zealand for just ten bucks. Add your own lemon, salt, pepper and t-sauce and enjoy this simple, yet supremely satisfying, New Zealand treat.

The Herb Farm

Manchester Square, Feilding

Head to The Herb Farm and escape into nature in more ways than one. This beloved skincare brand was created by Lynn Kirkland and her family in 1993. At their Ashurst farm, you can wander through rows of herbs, explore the skincare range in the shop and enjoy a delicious meal at the café.

Running through every aspect of the business is the same ethos and commitment to natural, local and healing ingredients. On the menu at the cafe, you’ll find colourful, nourishing plates like the special ‘Buddha Bowl’. This generous dish comes served with beetroot and garlic dip, garden salad, seasonal roasted veggies, chickpea herb lemon salad, pickled cabbage and ginger and your choice of free range chicken, scotch filet, halloumi, falafel or smoked salmon. Check out the cabinet for inventive desserts like the flower slice which is pretty and delicious. 

Café Cuba

236 Cuba Street, Palmerston North

Anyone who loves, or even likes, dessert should not overlook Café Cuba in downtown Palmerston North. The cabinet is filled to the brim with homemade baked goods like chocolate mud cake, custard slice, lemon yoghurt cake, silk cake and so much more.

Each serve of these sweets is hearty, so you can have some now, save some for later or enjoy it all straight away in this humming cafe or on their outdoor patio. Pair with any of their Havana Coffee Works barista coffee beverages for optimal outcome. If you prefer savoury, though, you’re still in luck. Café Cuba does top notch brunch plates including the southern buttermilk fried chicken burger.

The Crafted & Co

Check their Instagram for locations

Food trucks can be hit or miss but The Crafted and Co.’s three roaming food caravans deliver every single time, with handmade burgers, doughnuts and other treats.

One of their top sellers, the Chipotle Fried Chicken, comes served with whiskey bacon jam, tomato chutney, streaky bacon and aioli. The smokiness of the chipotle seasoning paired with the rich bacon, zingy tomato and pillowy yet somehow still sturdy brioche bun, make this one a total winner.If you love crunch, a gentle touch of spice and the comfort only fried chicken can give, you’ll love this burger. Pair with any of The Crafted and Co.’s brioche doughnuts for a complete meal. Top flavours include Caramilk and Snickers.

Neat Palmerston North Places

Arrosta Coffee Roasting Co

Staff standing behind the counter.
Place Palmerston North
Cafes icon

At Arrosta Coffee you will find a welcoming espresso bar and functional roastery plus a cupping and training lab - it’s a complete coffee destination.

Little Savanna

The interior of Little Savanna.
Place Palmerston North
Restaurants icon

Little Savanna’s expert fit-out gives this South African-inspired restaurant a unique visual identity on the Palmerston North dining scene. With strong food and drink offerings to match, it’s a complete lunch or dinner destination in the heart of the city.

HARU Japanese Restaurant

The wooden interior of Haru.
Place Palmerston North
Restaurants icon

A calming central city spot for top quality Japanese fare. At Haru Japanese Restaurant you’ll be quickly greeted and seated by the friendly staff. Order some warm green or yuzu tea and explore the menu which is varied but not overwhelming.

Café Cuba

Behind the counter at Cafe Cuba.
Place Palmerston North
Cafes icon

Located on (you guessed it) Cuba Street, Café Cuba is one of Palmerston’s most popular and long standing cafés and eateries. There’s something for everyone here and the cabinet alone is enough to entice even the most conscientious eaters.