Eat Green Lipped Mussels in New Zealand

Green mussels were on my checklist of foods to eat in New Zealand. Luckily I found this classic dish at a charming waterfront restaurant called the Boat Shed Cafe.

Green lipped mussels, are a classic seafood dish native to New Zealand. The exterior of the mussels are black with an infusion of bright green along the edges, while the mussel itself is a beautiful coral color.

I can assure you, they taste just as delicious as they look!

And we couldn’t have found a better place to try them. We happened to stumble upon the Boat Shed Cafe along our NZ road trip. The cafe overlooks the most beautiful pale blue water that’s sprinkled with sailboats.


We arrived in time for an early dinner, so we ordered the salmon carpaccio and green lipped mussels with a white wine sauce, parsley butter, and fresh sourdough bread off the dinner menu.

Just a few days later, during a deep sea kayaking excursion, we spotted some green mussels on a bed of rocks in the ocean. Our kayaking guide started collecting them for her dinner later, and we were happy to help.

We were tempted to buy a bottle of white wine and cook some mussels ourselves, but unfortunately we didn’t have a kitchen at the hotel where we were staying.

How to Cook Green Mussels:

After collecting the mussels, keep them refrigerated at all times. Don’t store them in water, or in a plastic bag as this can kill the mussels. To prep the mussels, rinse the outside of the shells thoroughly to remove the sediments attached to the shell. Tap any mussels that are slightly open. The mussels should react by closing tightly. If they don’t, discard them because they are not safe to eat.  

A simple but popular green mussels dish is cooked in a garlic white wine sauce.

Health Benefits:

While looking up some recipe ideas for green mussels, I noticed how popular green lipped mussel oil and powder supplements were. They help with joint inflammation, a popular choice for people suffering from arthritis.

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