Tis the season for hangovers, so we convinced some of New Zealand’s most experienced consumers of food and/or drink (OK, Spinoff staff and a bunch of chefs/hospo people) to share their tried-and-true culinary remedies.
A hangover is a very individual thing. For some, it manifests as a splitting headache and extreme tiredness. Others are gripped by a deep, gnawing nausea. Some of us are more afflicted by a hangover of the soul – a definite but non-specific emotional and spiritual ennui.
In many cases, the sufferer seeks comfort through food. Most of us stick to the tried and true – whatever has worked in the past – but that of course can vary from person to person as much as the hangover itself.
We surveyed our own staff members as well as a selection of chefs and restaurateurs about their go-to hangover feeds. As you’ll see, the results vary, but we’ve grouped them under some common themes.
If you’re wondering what science has to say, well, there’s nothing particularly definitive other than the best way to avoid a hangover is to not drink too much. If it’s too late for that, there are various morning-after theories – eggs may help because they contain an amino acid used in the breakdown of acetaldehyde, a nasty byproduct of alcohol that some people reckon causes hangover symptoms. Others don’t, so who knows.
A final caveat: The Spinoff is at pains to emphasise that yes, while it may be the silly season, drinking to excess is not cool or funny. It’s dumb for many reasons. Your best bet is just don’t do it, ya galah.
Ginny Grant (food writer)
A curried mince pie from the Westmere Bakery and a can of Coke.
I always crave the best sausage roll.
Double cheeseburger – extra mayo, extra pickle, steamed bun – with chippies and a strawberry shake. And a Fanta. Omg and a steak and cheese Muzza’s pie. And a can of Golden Circle creaming soda.
McChicken stuffed with fries.
Cook instant mie goreng noodles, leave the water in, add flavour plus a tablespoon of peanut butter (that’s called “satay style”, I believe). Then you keep adding instant mashed potato until all the soup is absorbed. It’s very carby.
I like to cook something low effort, so I can delude myself into thinking that I’m going to have a healthy and productive day. Even though it’s typically just putting hash browns in the oven and then standing next to the oven.
A four pack of Countdown plain croissants and a yellow Powerade from a dairy (blue if I’m in a pinch). Don’t put anything on or do anything to the croissants. Just eat them plain.
There is a little French bakery round the corner from me called La Voie Française (The French Way) and they do this amazing thing called a bleu d’auvergne. It’s a big heavy piece of brown bread in a semi-circle shape stuffed with blue cheese, and covered with walnuts and honey. It’s so comforting and rich and sweet. It’s also so heavy that you need to lie down immediately after eating it – which is also perfect for a hangover. Or you can chop it up into little bits and just eat them during the day when you start to feel like a bad human again. Recommended with blue Powerade and sparkling water.
Cheese sauce and spaghetti, ie mac n cheese of shame.
Egg, milk and cheese spaghetti – just one egg and a cup of milk, a bit of butter and grated cheese. That’s it.
Julie Clark (Floriditas, Wellington)
I try to be more sensible about getting hangovers these days, however from time to time the mood, the moment and the martinis mean the next day is a little sub par. I get three o’clock hangovers and at around that time I crave two sips of ice cold Coke from a bottle and a good curry.
Mo Koski (Apéro, Auckland)
Gotta say, Kati Grill on K Rd is the perfect foil for me. The chicken tikka kati wrap and a side of spicy chicken pakoda with the coldest can of Coke I can get my hands on… never fails. To be fair, it tastes amazing even if you aren’t hung.
Cheezels, at least 400 litres of fizzy water, curry and/or pizza. Or if possible, currizza. Then maybe some more Cheezels.
A Coke, a Nippy’s and a samosa.
EGGS & STUFF
A cafe big breakfast and a Coke.
Alex Davies (Gatherings, Christchurch)
Whenever I am feeling dusty I like to go a full English, so my interpretation of this is:
Toast with lashings of butter. Tomatoes, fried until blackened and falling apart, covered in black pepper. Fried eggs. Fried mushrooms, again in heaps of butter. Vege sausages (Linda McCartney or Grater Goods if you’re down in Chch). An avocado if you’ve one kicking around. A nice cup of English breakfast tea with milk – soothes the soul.
If worst comes to worst and you need to hair of the dog it, a friend of mine, Hector, taught me the recipe of his grandfather known as the Dr Henderson: 2 parts Fernet Branca, 1 part crème de menthe, mix and pour over ice.
I do two homemade egg and cheese McMuffins, with mayo and chilli flakes… simple, gets the job done.
An Indomie omelette. You make Indomie mi goreng noodles as usual – put your noodles in the pot, mix up that delicious five sachet paste in a decent-sized bowl. Don’t leave the noodles in too long – works better if they’re not too soft. Drain the water from the noodles well, mix the noodles into the paste. Then crack an egg into that. Mix it through. If you’re feeling fancy you can add in chopped up spring onions or capsicum or salami but you don’t need to. Then you just tip the whole thing into a hot pan and fry it like a big pancake. I like to eat it with a little mayo and sriracha on top, but you can eat it as is too, it’s not short on flavour. If you’re super hungry either go two packs of noodles and two eggs, or one noodles two eggs for a slightly more eggy balance.
Yael Shochat (Ima Cuisine, Auckland)
Shakshuka is great hangover food – always works for me.
HAIR OF THE DOG
Al Brown (Depot, Federal Deli, Auckland)
A Negroni (that twist of orange peel does the trick).
Hannah Childs-Miller and Andrew Childs (A Lady Butcher and Behemoth Brewing, Auckland)
A charcuterie and cheese platter with a few hazy IPAs in the backyard.
Min Baek (Han, Auckland)
My hangover food is spicy pork bone soup (hae jang gook) always.
Shepherd Elliott (Shepherd, Wellington)
We recently did a collab with Viva Mexico and they were saying how good one of the dishes we did was for hangovers, and I have to say they are correct. The dish was menudo, spicy tripe soup with hominy, onion, oregano and lime.
Soup OR an overpriced brunch.
Jo Pearson (Hip Group, Auckland)
My craving is pho or a really great dumpling soup… comforting broth, protein and noodles… chilli to burn off the night before.
Makoto Tokuyama (Cocoro, Auckland)
My hangover food is udon noodles – Japanese dashi (stock) makes me really comfortable.