All latest News, Funnies, New Zealand, Australia, News December 2020

New Zealand’s South Island and green onion chips: A love story for the ages

From the tip of Farewell Spit to the very arse end of Stewart Island, there is one delicacy that unites Te Wai Pounamu: the humble green onion chip. But why?

Alice Neville embarks on a quest for the true story behind this regional snacking quirk in a delightful article. We publish a brief excerpt here – the full story can be read on The Spinoff.

I have many fond childhood memories of visiting my grandparents’ farm near Nelson – baby animals, the same paisley carpet as the Karori United Video store, bottomless jars of lollies, games of pool with my grandad, a car whose backseat was inexplicably covered with sheepskins and soft toys, an ancient swimming pool that always had a dead frog or two floating in it. But the fondest of all these memories relates to chips.

Image: Toby Manhire

At the farm, no matter the day, 5pm was “happy hour”, when it was time to perch oneself on a La-Z-Boy to enjoy a beverage and some pre-dinner salty snacks. A glass of sherry for grandma, lemonade for me, a big 750ml glass bot of Double Brown for grandad. And, almost without fail, a packet of green onion chips.

Gran would occasionally branch out to salt and vinegar, but nine times out of 10 it was green onion, a flavour I never once had at home in Wellington. Pop across Cook Strait, however, and green onion was de rigueur.

I grew up and stopped visiting so much, the grandparents got older and eventually passed away. I rarely thought of green onion chips, but during the recent summer holidays, they made a reappearance at gatherings of our now long-time-Auckland-based family. I’m not sure who was responsible, but it was not a controversial move: green onion was a universally agreed-upon flavour (unlike barbecue, which my mother once disparagingly said “tastes like Burger Rings”, as if that’s a bad thing; chicken, which is objectively disgusting but beloved by the under-12s; or ready salted – liked by the oldies, but essentially trash, as a wise woman once pointed out).

Green onion, on the other hand, was a flavour that brought the family together, a snack that found favour with every age bracket from the under-fives to the over-70s.

Source: The Spinoff
Author: Alice Neville is The Spinoff’s food editor as well as a deputy editor. Email her on [email protected]
Cover photo: YeahNah Productions

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

Lockwood Mfg


Kiremko Strata Invicta

Scotts Precision Manufacturing

Scotts Precision Manufacturing





Tomra Food

Solanum International




Wyma Solutions



Volm Companies


Receive email notifications when we publish news items on PNT

Please enter your email address below to receive email notifications when new posts are published.

Archive of monthly posts

Follow us on Twitter

Translate this page into your own language