Category Archives: Asian

KK Malaysian

KK Mslaysian has been serving up authentic Malyasian food from their Epsom restaurant for over eight years.   I’ve been there a couple of times e recently and have found the food to be amazing.  I’ve only been there a few times for dinner as its always completely packed and waiting times for food tend be long.  Lunch time is much more enjoyable with tables readily available and food arriving quickly.

On a visit just before Christmas last year, we tried the seafood laksa and the Singapore noodles. The laksa was delicious, creamy and coconutty, packed full of prawns, squid , tofu and even some hard boiled egg (which is missing from a lot of laksas in Auckland).  However, the Singapore noodles was the standout. Although I enjoy Singapore noodles, they are usually quite greasy and heavy. This version of the dish was fresh and light.  Instead of the usual pieces of BBQ pork, there was pieces of chicken, the noodles also had pieces of cooked tomato and a pile of fresh shredded lettuce on top.  They were also delicately flavoured and had a good hit of chilli (I asked for spicy).

As you might be able to tell, the KK version of the Singapore noodles has become one of my current food obsessions click here to see the list of them.  I returned this week to have the Singapore noodles and they were just as good as the first time.

http://www.kkmalaysia.co.nz

463A Manukau Road, Epsom, Auckland

Phone: 09 630 3555

Best Cheap Eats in Auckland

Metro’s recommendations for the Best Cheap Eats in Auckland (under $20) came out recently in the September 2013 issue and I’ve been trying to work my way through as many of the restaurants as I can over the last six weeks.  I thought I’d do a quick round up of the places I’ve been to so far and how they were.

Bun Hut (Dominion Road) – we had the steamed pork buns with cabbage and chives as well as the pan fried pork dumplings with cabbage and chives, a bowl of noodles with gravy, a chive pancake and a chive and egg pancake.  The restaurant is very bare bones but the dumplings and pork buns are stuffed full of delicious juicy meat.  The pancakes were soft and tasty and the noodles were smothered with a tasty gravy and really good value for $5.

Mamak Malaysian (Chancery, Central Auckland) – I had the chicken murtabak which is a roti stuffed with meat, then pan fried until crispy.  It comes with chicken gravy, fish gravy, Dahl and cabbage.  My friend had the seafood laksa.  The murtabak was delicious and crispy with tasty gravy, although a little bit meat heavy for me, next time I might try the vegetable version or go halves with someone else in two dishes.  My friend enjoyed his laksa too, saying it was very tasty and not too coconutty as some laksa can be.

Sanchun Bamboo (Commerce Street, Auckland Central) – I had the vegetarian Bibimbap, which is a rice based dish which comes in a hot stone bowl with a variety of vegetables, chilli bean paste and a raw egg cracked on top. When the food is all mixed up, the egg cooks and the rice goes crispy from the heat of the bowl.  It came with a variety of Korean side dishes including Kimchi, bean sprouts, potatoes and an egg dish.  The food was all fresh and delicious and I was offered top ups of my side dishes even though I couldn’t finish my Bibimbap.

Selera (Khyber Pass, Newmarket) – this place has in my opinion the best laksa in Auckland.  The char kway teow is also delicious as are the curry puffs and the rotis.

Sri Puteri’s (Queens Road, Panmure) – offering a combination of Indian, Chinese and Malaysian dishes.  We had the seafood laksa, the char kway teow and the roti with chicken gravy, fish gravy and dhal.  The roti was amazing, probably the best roti I’ve had, soft, light and crispy, the laksa was tasty but the char kway teow was bland and disappointing.

Tanpopo Ramen (Anzac Ave, Auckland Central) – A large menu of many different types of ramen.  All contain the same fresh, homemade noodles and there is a range of soup bases to choose from.  I had the Miso Tonkotsu Ramen which is a pork and miso based soup with noodles, BBQ pork, vegetables, bamboo shoots and dried seaweed.  The soup was rich and hearty, the noodles fresh and the whole dish warming and nourishing.

Wok N Noodle Bar (Normanby Road, Mt Eden) – A lot more modern and westernised than the majority of other Asian places around.  The menu is huge and the size of the meals even bigger.  The food is more fusion style and they serve a mix of Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Malaysian.  I had the Pad see u which is thick rice noodles with chicken, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and egg in a homemade sweet soya sauce.  The dish was filling, fresh and tasty.

Velvet Burger (Fort Street, CBD) – Velvet burger is a gourmet style burger franchise that originated in Dunedin.  The burgers are huge and they pride themselves on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.  We ordered a range of burgers including The Squawk Dawg (standard beef burger), Velvet Burger (venison with pineapple and chilli mayonnaise), Homegrown (lamb with either chutney or a minty yogurt sauce), The Babe (crumbed chicken with pineapple and bacon) and the Animal Rights (a kumara and coriander patty with beetroot and a minty yogurt sauce).  All the burgers come with salad, aioli and Velvet relish.  We also tried their wedges, kumara chips, hashies and fries.  Our burgers were a little bit cold by the time we got them home to eat but they were still delicious and would have been even better if we had been able to eat them fresh and hot.

Tiffin (New North Road, Kingsland) – Tiffin cooks excellent North Indian curries with the usual suspects such as butter chicken, chicken tikka masala and korma all covered.  They also do a few more unusual dishes including a mango chicken curry.  My favourite is the mushroom saag, mushrooms cooked in a thick, rich spinach gravy, usually accompanied by a garlic naan.

Renkon (Ponsonby, Parnell, Takapuna and the CBD) – an old favourite with fresh, healthy Japanese style donburi meals available.  All dishes are available on either rice or udon noodles and all main dishes are priced at $11.50.

Ramen Do (Symonds Street, Auckland) – Fresh, homemade ramen noodles which are worlds away from any instant ramen you have at home, these noodles are tender but still chewy and incredibly fresh.  This is the place that changed my perception of ramen noodles as a cheap unhealthy snack.

Han San Vietnamese (Newmarket, Panmure, CBD and Glenfield) – another old favourite that I’ve been going to for many years.  Fresh, healthy tasting Vietnamese food.  The vermicelli salads with either lemongrass chicken or fried pork spring rolls and shredded pork are my favourites.  Although I’ve been a bit disappointed recently and have been finding the food a bit bland.  They could do with using more fresh herbs like many of the Vietnamese restaurants overseas do to liven up the food and really bring it to life.

Mekong Baby

I finally got the chance to try Mekong Baby in Ponsonby the other night. I’ve been wanting to go there ever since it opened a few months ago in the space previously occupied by GPK.  The South East Asian food sounded like just the type of cuisine I love.

This type of dining definitely suits groups as most of the dishes are designed for sharing and it means you get to sample a wider range of the dishes on the menu.

I started with a rose and lychee martini which was one of the best cocktails I’ve had in a long time.  It was sweet without being cloying and I could taste the delicate flavours of both the rose and the lychee.  We then moved onto a bottle of the Murdoch James Savignon Blanc.

Now onto the food!  We ordered a large range of dishes including the betel leaves with crab, kaffir lime and chilli; the crispy rice flour crepes with fried tempeh, mushrooms and chilli jam; wok fried squid with nouc cham and Vietnamese mint; shredded chicken, ruby grapefruit and coconut salad; fire chicken, pickled daikon, cucumber and iceberg lettuce; duck with pineapple, potatoes, shallots and peanuts in massaman curry; pad see ew, braised wagyu skirt, kai lan, shallots, and rolled rice noodles; lamb shoulder slow cooked with soy, lemon and garlic and finally some roti and jasmine rice to accompany our food.

I thought the standout dishes were the rice flour crepes which were light and crisp and the filling spicy and tasty without being overbearing, I also really enjoyed the duck curry which was rich and flavoursome with a hint of sweetness from the pineapple and the salads were light, fresh, delicious and refreshing.

We also ordered three desserts to share, the palm sugar ice cream sundae with peanut praline and kaffir lime syrup, the black rice and orange tart with clotted cream and the papaya lime meringue pie. My favourite was the palm sugar ice cream sundae.  The crunchiness of the peanut praline perfectly complemented the creaminess of the ice cream and the tartness of the kaffir lime syrup.

After eating at all three of the modern Asian fusion restaurants on Ponsonby Road (the other two being The Blue Breeze Inn and Moochowchow), I’d rate Mekong Baby my favourite with Moochowchow a close second and The Blue Breeze Inn a distant third.

http://www.mekongbaby.com

Shaolin Kungfu Noodles

Shaolin Kung fu Noodles is a northern Chinese eatery located on Dominion Road in Auckland.

The food is quite different from the usual Cantonese style food found around Auckland.  For starters, there is no pork, instead the menu features chicken, beef and unusually for a Chinese restaurant, lamb.  The spices used in most of the dishes are also different with more chilli and spices such as cumin giving the food a distinctive flavour.

I’ve been twice in the last couple of weeks and have tried a variety of dishes.  The stand outs for me were the noodle dishes, Kung fu chicken noodle soup which had a clear light, healthy feeling broth, handmade noodles, strips of chicken and Chinese vegetables and the stir fried cleaver cut noodles.  Thick, handmade, hand cut, chewy noodles stir fried with plenty of chilli and a selection of vegetables.

We also tried the chicken and corn dumplings, the Chinese beef burger (which could have used some sort of sauce), the spring onion pancake (crunchy and crispy and not too oily), and both the lamb and chicken with soft cartilidge skewers.

636 Dominion Road, Balmoral

Everybody’s Izakaya

Everybody’s has been in the Imperial Lane complex on Fort Lane, Auckland for a couple of years now and recently changed into an Izakaya style eatery with a focus on shared plates of modern Japanese style food.

The dining space is amazing with high ceilings and  several different areas including a courtyard and a split level dining area with different seating options ranging from comfortable couches and bench seating for groups to intimate tables for two.

The standout dishes from our selection included the garden vegetables with ‘saga’ hot olive oil emulsion, a selection of raw, crunchy vegetables including carrots, radishes and cucumber with a smooth, creamy dipping sauce; the baked eggplant with spicy chicken mince and saikyo miso, soft tender eggplant chunks with an incredibly tasty chicken mince topped with blobs of saikyo miso and yum yum sauce; and the slow roasted King Ora salmon with apple and fennel salad, soft, melt in the mouth salmon perfectly complimented with a refreshing but simple salad.

We also tried the cured salmon Chawan mushi with dashi; the house made silken tofu and the tuna, avocado, crispy nori, wasabi and dashi jelly.

The desserts looked too interesting to stop now and included one of my favourite Japanese foods, black sesame ice cream.  We ordered the chocolate with black sesame, caramelised banana and praline and the ‘carrot cake’ with yuzu yogurt, custard cake and carrot glass. Both were delicious, the carrot cake light, tangy and refreshing and the chocolate rich and satisfying although the caramelised banana seemed slightly out of place to me.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Everybody’s Izakaya and will definitely return, next time with a big group to try more of the menu.

http://everybodys.co.nz/