Dunedin cheese rolls = southern sushi. © Dunedin NZ

Cheese rolls: the sushi of the south

View the map


Food in situ. It’s a simple pleasure, but one not to be overlooked. Context is all in all matters culinary.

Could you really eat a fillet steak at Fleur’s Place? Would you go for a barbecue at a sheep station and ask for oysters? Not unless they were ‘mountain oysters’ perhaps.

Now you may wonder at cheese rolls even being, you know, a thing. Come to Southland, or Otago and, more specifically Dunedin, take your feet out of your mouth and pop one of these hot and tasty little blighters in it. You will be, from a cuisine perspective anyway, reborn.

Start with a rolled-up piece of (preferably) white bread, where the crust is broken so that it does not (dare) to revert to its natural flat state. The cheese rolled up inside is sometimes augmented by onions and other matter: food researchers have identified three distinct types of filling. The matter of the matter in the cheese roll is a serious matter.

At least it is south of the Waitaki River. While the first official cheese roll recipe appeared in a South Island cookbook in 1951, it took until the be-flared 1970s before the North Island even gave such a delicacy a mention.

Do not be fooled by mousetraps, rat traps or, meh, cheese on toast. Go to Dunedin, get a proper cheese roll. Dig that crusty exterior and that melty, soft filling. Dig how easy it is to eat. How it oozes over your fingers. Get into some ‘Southern sushi,’ as it’s sometimes called. Mate.

Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Out and about

Loved by the locals: Dunedin city

Writer and filmmaker Bill Morris recommends cosy bars, markets and must-do hot spots for foodies in Dunedin city.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Dunedin: a cradle made of sea

The clatter and clang of the container terminal, red and green lights forming a path to the sea through the harbour, shags drying their wings on the transoms of fishing boats, glistening surf beaches and the lingering feel of the hundreds of years of history. Bill Morris loves Dunedin's West Harbour.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Dunedin city: Edinburgh of the south

‘Dunedin’ is an ancient name for Edinburgh and the resemblance doesn’t stop at the names. Read the story . . . 

Where to stay in Southland Region

Show me all Places to stay

9 /10
From $80
9 /10
Best Price Around
Ashlar Motel

Centrally located - just a few minutes walk to beautiful Queens Gardens. 9 ground-floor units (5 wheelchair accessible), serviced daily. Studio, 1, 2  . . . More . . . 

From $80

Book now

Book now

From $90
Willowdene Lodge

Willowdene Lodge is set in 4.2 hectares and surrounded by gardens. It is situated 100 metres from the Waikaia River, at the entrance to the township o . . . More . . . 

From $90
From $10
Dolamore Park Camp

10 minutes from motorhome friendly Gore. 22 power & unlimited tent sites on grassed area. Kitchen & shower facilities. Flush toilets. NO DOGS. Well-fo . . . More . . . 

From $10
Gore Motor Camp

Thanks for coming to have a look around our camp and you must check out our town while you're here. Your experience is at an unhurried pace, like ste . . . More . . .