Wongkok Cafe & Bar

It was an odd day in Auckland – it was sunny after weeks and weeks of rain, so my mood was a little bit better. I think these magazines need to rate Auckland is the most liveable city, when it’s not raining!

Anyway, a random event, a friend wanted to have lunch so I decided why not. He took me to this place right opposite of Sky City. I’ve actually seen this place several times but never thought of going inside, plainly because there’s a dodgy-looking massage parlour next to it.

Surprisingly, the menu is similar to those Hong Kong type restaurants so decided to try the usual stuff I buy, combination rice. Despite the slightly grumpy cashier/waitress, the food wasn’t too bad. Good portion of meats and soup was good. For $14, it’s quite good value.

Worth a try! I might try the Hainanese Chicken rice next time.

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Combination Rice (BBQ Pork and Roast Duck)

Kiwi Country Fast Food

This is one of my favourite places to go in town. But not everyone likes this place – especially my work colleagues. Perhaps it’s the deep fried part of the dish. I am cutting down, I hope.

Kiwi Country Fast Food is located right next to BBQ King (on the corner of Queen St and Durham Lane).  It’s not on the ground level, but at basement level. So it can be hard to spot.

Chicken Chop, Tofu and Vegetable on Rice ($10.50).

Herb and Spicy Chicken on Rice ($9.50).

My favourite would have to be the Herb & Spicy Chicken. The curry sauce has some addictive elements that I can’t get enough of (MSG?).  The pricing of the dishes are very reasonable and food is served quite quickly. The taste is pretty good, but again, it is different for other people (i.e. my work colleagues). Dishes are served with a side of vegetables – which is not bad. But try to avoid eating the deep friend chicken – not great for your health.

I will be bias, because I quite like this place. Rating = 9/10. Great price and great food. At least try it once.

Golden Ducks Charcoal Roast

Just a quick post. If you want some duck, roast pork etc, this guy has it. He’s located at the Newmarket asian corridor, whatever they call it these days. It’s opposite the food court, same row as the meat shop and bakery.

Roast Duck ($19/half).

The above is their normal roast duck (half), it’s not bad. For a full duck, I think it’s $36. Apparently, this shop is the only shop that does the charcoal peking duck. I don’t have a picture of it, but it’s pretty good. The guy gives you the duck bones and you can do anything you want with it. But the guy recommends you cook congee with it. The charcoal peking duck is $40 for a full duck, $3 for the pancakes and $1 for the Hoisin sauce.

Just for the Peking duck – it’s pretty good. The guy is friendly too. Rating = 8/10.

The Happy House Restaurant

Thanks to a special reader for recommending this place – Happy House Restaurant in Northcote. It’s right next to the Tofu Shop. I don’t normally venture across the bridge – it’s actually quite a rare occassion, but apparently I do know people who live there. So once in a while, I make the trip across and combine it with a feed. I have to admit, Happy House is in a great location, it has lots of eateries and shops, and parking is damn easy to find. I think Happy House opens late – which is a good thing. Below are samples I tried:

Fried Pancake with Char Siew – $9.50.

Fried Pancake with Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce – $9.50

Sichuan Fried Rice – $8.

Fried Cumin Lamb – $15.50.

I like this place. Food is cheap and the portion is generous. The dishes are really nice, especially the fried pancake with shredded pork and friend cumin lamb. A great recommendation from one of our readers. I’ve been here twice, and I’ve had to ask for a takeaway box. Great value.

Rating = 9/10.

Happy Hour

It surprises me places like Happy Hour exists. It’s located in a building that looks like a trailer, the door slides funny and there’s no toilet. But I have to admit, the food is top notch. I got recommended this place by a work colleague (and now friend). It’s exact address is 947 New North Road. I’ve been here many times, and here are some of the samples:

Steam Chicken with Chinese Mushroom on Rice (Small Size = $8.50).

Happy Hour – Steam Chicken with Red Dates and Kei Chee on Rice (Big Size = $10.50).

Steam Pork Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce on Rice (Big Size = $10.00).

Crispy Chicken.

Tofu Dessert (Small Size = $3.00).

Stew Long Yan, Red Date and Egg with Rock Sugar ($6.00).

Tofu Dessert ($4.00).

To be honest, I think Happy Hour’s prices are fantastically value for money, and taste wise it’s great. There are so many options from steam chicken and pork dishes to desserts and snacks. The service is great, in fact, I believe they serve the tea quite quickly. Parking is quite easy to find. It’d be great if you can speak Chinese, but don’t be intimidated, they have an English menu (with pictures), it’s just unfortunate the specials are in Chinese. =)

I quite like the place, and recently, have been a regular visitor. My rating 9/10.

 

Choice Bakery (Newmarket)

This chinese bakery resides in the heart of Newmarket Plaza – it is sometimes unnoticeable. To be honest, they are better off that way. I bought a bun which tasted like shite and the attitude from the cashier is not what you’d like a cashier to be. No greeting of any sort.

I’d rather buy my chinese bakery from a CBD dairy rather from this place. Shame on you!

Herbal Legend

I heard this place was THE place to eat Shanghai food. Herbal Legend is located on Dominion Road at Mt Eden. It’s close to the shopping area where Foodtown is.  The first time I went to this place, I couldn’t get a spot and had to settle for somewhere else to eat. This time though, I didn’t have any problems finding a spot. However, it is noticeably packed for some reason and I wanted to know why.

Cumin Lamb with Bread.

Sweet & Sour Pork Rib.

Mapo Tofu

The prices for the dishes in this restaurant range quite a bit. The cumin lamb is $22 and appears to be the most popular dish. The sweet and sour pork is $16 and the Ma Po tofu is $10. Out of the 3 dishes, I didn’t like the Ma Po tofu cause it was kinda average, however the other two wasn’t too bad. I quite like the cumin lamb with the bread. One thing I realised is the ridiculous speed they made the dishes! I think it took less than 10 mins for them to prepare the 3 dishes above, which leads to the question – how so? Probably they had like 10 chefs in the kitchen or it was too easy to cook? Who knows.

Anyway, I did hear good things about this place but in the end, I found that it was alright. Perhaps it doesn’t suit my palate. The price is great and service not too bad (friendly I thought). Taste is OK as I said before. Ratings 7.5/10. Perhaps might suit some people, but not me.

Ming Garden Chinese Restaurant (Te Anau)

My apologies for the absence. I’ve been away for these reasons (1) laziness, (2) irresponsibility, (3) work, (4) recent holidays and (5) lack of material.

Anyway, a quick post for today. I was at Te Anau for the long weekend. I had a craving for some Chinese food (it was one of the very few Chinese restaurants there). I ordered the roast pork fried rice for $9. It was a shocking dish, the crappiest dish I’ve had. It was low quality. But I guess I can’t complain too much since it’s in the middle of nowhere.

But to be honest, make your own fried rice if you’re craving it in Te Anau. Ming Garden does a shocking piece of work.

Golden Barbeque Noodle House

You’re thinking, doesn’t this bozo ever go out of the CBD to eat? I say, yes! Here’s a place at Eden Valley. Actually, it’s still relatively near town. 😦

It appears very popular, I couldn’t find a place to sit for some reason. It’s your typical Chinese restaurant. I think it used to be called Max or something. Samples below:

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Soya Chicken and Roast Pork on Rice

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Wat Tan Hor

As usual, I couldn’t remember the price of the dishes but it’s reasonable. I thought the dishes were great tasting. I highly recommended it. My rating is 8/10. Give it a go.

Deli & Noodle Bar @ Sky City Casino

The Deli and Noodle Bar at the Sky City Casino is always an all-time favourite for me. It opens late, and there’s plenty of pokies and slot machines to keep you entertained for the whole night – that is if you’re a gambler. 🙂

On a late winter night, I was trying to figure out where to go for dinner and decided upon the casino as I haven’t been there for ages. The Deli and Noodle Bar isn’t exactly a quiet place to eat and lighting isn’t that great. Also, your meals don’t get served to you. I decided to try the Noodle Bar since I had fond memories of the beef brisket. Samples below:

Sky City Deli & Noodle Bar - Beef Brisket on Hor Fun

Beef Brisket Hor Fun.

Sky City Deli & Noodle Bar - Soya Chicken on Rice

Soya Chicken on Rice.

For most of the meals, you have a choices of either rice, rice noodles, egg noodles etc. The soya chicken cost $10.50, while the beef brisket cost $8.50. So, price-wise, it’s standard. Flavour-wise, the soya chicken is tasty, while the beef brisket needed extra flavours from the chilli. Overall, it was quite a good meal for the time frame as well as flavour. My rating is 7/10.

The other thing you could always try is the Deli which has various Western options. But the best way to utilise the Deli is to register for the Action Card (which is free I think). That way you can get discounts on meals.

Royal Buffet

A random one for the month. I went to this place with friends and was quite disappointed.

Royal Buffet is a newly opened restaurant, located on Short Street in Newmarket, opposite T Mark.  To compete with the neighbouring restaurants, for instance $10 pizza/pasta/salad lunch at Archie’s, Royal Buffet offers $12 Buffet lunch and $25 main buffet. Not a bad move.

I am not a fan of buffets, and I think I’ll never be. But decided to give it a try because the main buffet is advertised as having top chefs cooking the best cuisine and providing a variety of food. The cost was $25 per person. The initial look of the place looked OK, but realised it was below average and with limited variety after spending 15 mins in there. The items were not very good – chicken curry hardly has any meat, no real fish in their sushi variety, low quality instant coffee. Some of the stuff were alright, for example miso soup, frice rice, deep fried squid and japanese cold noodle.

The place truly lacked variety and for the amount you pay, it’s not worth it. Also, during dining there was a very unhappy couple who complained about the food (which is fair). But poor guys, they got chased out.

My rating is a 0/10. It’s crap. Not worth it at all.

Sichuan Steamboat and Chinese Restaurant

I am not a big Sichuan fan. It takes a while for me to get use to the strong flavours from this special province. And they’re big on steamboat for some apparent reason.  Anyway, I found this restaurant in Panmure quite recently, thanks to a friend who was seriously into steamboat. Since then, I’ve been back a couple of times.

Some of my favourite dishes are shown below:

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Sichuan Style Spicy Diced Chicken.

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Fried Lamb with Fennel Seeds.

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Sichuan Style Egg Plant.

Sichuan Steamboat and Chinese Restaurant - Sichuan Style Boiled and Fried Pork 

Sichuan Style Boiled and Fried Pork.

I have to admit there is nothing but praises for this place and apparently it has got affliation with HP8 in Newmarket. The meat dishes were all $18, and the egg plant is $16. My recommendation is the egg plant. The other 3 meat dishes are very good. I’ve also tried the steamboat which is also not bad.

My rating for this place is a rare 9.5/10. The restaurant’s price, flavour and authenticity accounting for its high rating. I highly recommend.