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New Zealand’s latest takeaway invention

New Zealand’s latest takeaway invention

There has been much speculation about the re-emergence of Georgie Pie, one of New Zealand’s favourite takeaway foods from the past, and attempts to revive the brand now owned by McDonalds.

But whether it comes to fruition or not, a couple of Wellington lads believe they have invented a new generation of Kiwi takeaways that will open a new chapter of New Zealand food history. Brothers James and Sam Irvine are the owners of Kapai and after opening their first healthy fast food store in 2006, have now ventured further into the takeaway market. According to the Kapai owners, “aside from Georgie Pie, New Zealand hasn’t really had its own style of takeaway food. All of the concepts are imported from other countries and are bloody awful. We thought stuff it, we could do better than the burger chains and hopefully do our bit to showcase New Zealand food.”

They have given the most popular item a distinctly Kiwi name, the Long John, and New Zealand touches are evident throughout their stores and menus with a hokey pokey milkshake, Kai baskets and Kumara chilli fries. The Long John, which looks like similar to a kebab but also contains burger ingredients, also contains some New Zealand twists. One is the addition of kumara and cashew boulders, a combination of kumara, cashew nuts and secret spices served as a golden brown mini boulder. “All three of us grew up in Invercargill and were scarfies in Dunedin so we spent a bit of time in and Moeraki. Our boulders are mini versions of the ones in Moeraki, but with less sand and limpets.”

The Long Johns are definitely the most popular items on the menu and people appreciate the natural ingredients. We use wraps and aioli that we make by hand, free range chicken and bacon, mozzarella cheese and fresh mesclun and tomato. “New Zealand produce is of the highest quality so we want to present it in the best possible light to our local customers and those from abroad.” The cajun chicken long john is the most popular followed closely by the soy chilli beef, but the boys reckon the best combination is when you mix either with their kumara cashew boulders. “Yeah, the feedback has been pretty good so we’re reasonably chuffed.”

The Long Johns are for sale in their Courtenay Place store and they plan to roll them out to the other Kapai stores in the near future. “Longer term we want to see Kapai dominate the New Zealand food landscape. We’d like to think New Zealanders deserve their own takeaway chain and given time hope that Kapai will be biggest of the bunch on the local scene.”


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