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.

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. ūüôā

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.

Tang’s Soup Cafe

The Easter weekend is finished but I have another day off. That gives me a bit of time to talk about this cafe I “bumped” into recently – Tang’s Soup Cafe. It’s near the roundabout in Royal Oak.

It’s a strange place because initially it appears as if there is no English menu. But rest assure, it does. The good thing about the place is the amount of variety and it opens late – so good supper option. The variety comes with a price, not all dishes are great and it really depends what you get.¬†Anyway, some of the dishes tried are shown below:

tangs-soup-cafe-chinese-sausage-on-rice-served-in-wooden-cask

 Chinese Sausage and Dried Duck on Rice Served in a Wooden Cask.

tangs-soup-cafe-steam-chicken-with-kei-chee-and-red-dates-on-rice

Steam Chicken with Kei Chee and Red Dates on Rice.

tangs-soup-cafe-steam-chicken-with-hot-and-spice-sauce-on-rice

Steam Chicken with Hot and Spice Sauce on Rice.

tangs-soup-cafe-quail-braised-in-chuan-bei

Quail Braised in Chuan Bei.

The wooden cask dish is $12.50. The steam chicken dishes are $8. The soup is $11.50. Of all the dishes above, I prefer the steam chicken dish. It’s tasty and darn cheap. However, the other two dishes are not bad and more specialty (I think). It is worth to experiment on. The wooden cask dish is kinda salty for me because of the dried duck. ¬†The soup is quite good and apparently has health benefits. But it’s kinda expensive for $11.50. Again it may be because it’s special. Someone can educate me.

Anyway, I am pleasantly surprised with this place. I think the food overall is good and very unique. It’s also a great supper hangout, and well done to them for opening late-ish for the night owls.

My rating is 9/10. Unique dishes, opens late and good value for money (mostly). Worth a try.

Sichuan in Remuera Restaurant

The restaurants in surburbia land are getting more and more, especially in Auckland. Maybe it’s always been like that? Those were the days when the closest thing to Chinese food near your house was the odd takeaway next to the Dairy. On top of selling fried rice and random Chinese food, they also sell fish & chips.

The Sichuan in Remuera Restaurant is one of those, except more decent and formal. It’s situated behind the Remuera Shops (off Remuera Road), but you’d have to drive to the back. It’s relatively hard to spot unless you know the area well. Anyway, I heard things about this place and decided to go.

Three dishes were sampled as shown below:

Honey Pork Chop

Honey Pork Chop .

sichuan-restaurant-mapo-tofu-copy

Mapo Tofu.

sichuan-restaurant-sizzling-beef-in-asian-special-sauce-copy

Sizzling Fillet Steak in Chinese style.

Overall, the experience was somewhat disappointing. Perhaps because I didn’t try the traditional Sichuan food. The menu was littered with every single “standard” Chinese food you can think of. Nothing in the menu stood out. But surprisingly, there were people going in and out.

The Honey Pork Chop was $18, and it was quite average tasting. The Mapo Tofu was slightly better costing $18. The Sizzling Fillet Steak in Chinese Style is $22. Clearly, the food was quite average (for me anyway) but it wasn’t bad tasting. If there was a Sichuan Restaurant, I’d prefer HP8 on Nuffield Street.

My rating is 7/10. Average. If you’re hungry and near the area, go for it. Lai Lai Noodle House is a much better alternative, but I don’t think they do dinner.

Kongfu Tea Restaurant

It’s been a long and strange week for me, which made it quite difficult to get the “energy” to post a review. As I was thinking through about what to post, I decided on this one. It’s a place I randomly went into a few weeks ago – Kongfu Tea restaurant. They are located on Khyber Pass Road, very close to the Cock & Bull and opposite Selera.

One thing kept bugging me as I went inside. Everyting seems quite familiar and I realised it was formerly a Japanese restaurant. It still had the remnants of a Japanese ¬†restaurant (furniture and even napkins!!). Anyway, Kongfu Tea restaurant offers ‘specialty’ Chinese dishes, i.e. from a certain province/dialect. We ordered two dishes as below:

Beef Rice Noodle Soup.

Braised Duck on Rice.

I bought the standard “safe” dish obviously, the beef rice noodle soup. For the size, it’s damn good value for money – only $7! Although it lacked a bit of taste, I think it’s a good thing (less MSG, less salt). There is the option to add chilli/soya sauce, which I rarely do. There was also the braised duck on rice, with minced garlic vinegar sauce and pork stomach salted vegetable soup; phew, that’s a mouthful. As I said before, that’s a specialty dish from a Chinese province. I quite like that as well, for $11 it’s quite filling and has a unique taste – especially the soup. =)

I guess if you want to be adventurous, try the ‘specialty’ dishes, and be prepared for the interesting ones like the soup above. Overall, I think the place deserve a 7.5/10. There are many dishes from standard dishes you’d see at many Chinese places, and also options to go for non-standard dishes. Also, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. So go for it!

Newmarket Plaza Food Court

This is the infamous Newmarket Plaza¬†Food Court (and a massive post). I know, I’m probably boring everyone with the same old type of food and “area”. But don’t worry, I am working on going to the outskirts of Auckland very soon – seriously! But this post will have variety as I have collected a few things for everyone to see. If you’re one of those people working in Newmarket on weekdays, or those who shop there during the weekend, maybe this post will help with your barrier of resistance when pondering into the land of the unknown – that is the Newmarket Plaza Food Court.

Personally, foodcourts tend to confuse potential customers with billions of choices at affordable prices. At times, I really hate it. It drives me crazy. And also, how do these places come up with all these ideas and fit so many pictures in one menu. But, rest assure, Newmarket Plaza is a milder version. There is no overkill of choices, still plenty but not unreasonable like some places *ahem* CBD *ahem*.

LAKSA HOUSE

This is a Malaysian place – two things tend to be quite popular here. The Hainanese Chicken Rice and Hokkien Mee (based on observation). I’ve tried the chicken rice and it’s fantastic. I haven’t tried the Hokkien mee yet. Occassionally I try the other stuff, for example, the Kueh Tieu Mee shown below. This dish costs me $9.50 I believe.

Kueh Tieu Mee.

Personally, I would recommend the chicken rice, and the rice noodle dishes i.e. kueh tieu mee, wat tan hor and char kueh tieu. They’ve also got curry chicken on rice and curry laksa noodle soup, but I haven’t tried them in a while. My rating? Based on the recent dishes I had here – it’s an 8/10. It’s very nice and you’d expect to pay $10.

PASSION FOOD

This place has a Hong Kong flair to it – dead poultry hanging for all to see. It’s hard to notice this place because they are the odd one out, hiding in the corner on the way to the toilet. One thing you have to try is the combination rice. You’re thinking *yawn* combo rice again!? But hey, I love that stuff. ¬†Remember that it’s not listed in the menu (only one meat with rice is listed). But just ask for it i.e. a two combo rice. Not surprisingly, my favourite is the BBQ pork and soya chicken. For this post, I tried the roast duck and soya chicken. Again, a fantastic combo and it’s cheap! Around $10 only.

Combination Rice (Roast Duck and Soya Chicken).

Hard to rate this place. It may be difficult to eat the meat dishes because of the bones etc. But there is no complaints from my side. The standard rating, 8/10. You ain’t gonna be disappointed. If so, let me know!

NEW VILLAGE KOREAN FOOD

You can’t go wrong with Spicy Pork on Rice at this Korean place. $10 is the price you pay for most of the dish, and it usually comes with three side dishes and a soup. Magnifique! On a different occassion, we bought two dishes (BBQ Chicken and Dolsot Bibimbap), and they gave 5 different side dishes! That’s generous!!

Spicy Pork with Rice.

Dolsot Bibimbap

BBQ Chicken with Rice

New Village rocks because of their generosity. The bibimbap and bbq dishes are my recommendations. The serving size is also large. My rating for this place is 9/10. It’s got flavour, variety and all for $10 (usually).

SILK THAI

I have almost no recollection of this dish but it’s that Thai place. It’s not particularly popular for some reason. Maybe because they’re not noisy enough and don’t have big flames in the kitchen. I’ve tried one of their curry dish below, I think it’s mango curry or something. Silk Thai has come a long way, about a year ago, they were severely lacking in appeal. I think they probably got a marketing guy to help them out and I think it helps. They’ve got pictures now and the food looks good.

Unknown Curry Dish.

From memory, the curry dish is reasonable (curry soup didn’t look “curry-ish” enough, as if they put lots of cornflour). Other than that, no issue whatsoever. Also, I’ve tried the satay chicken before, and it’s what I would recommend as a side dish. Price wise, I have almost no recollection.

A rating would be unfair as I only have one single dish reviewed, and I don’t even know the name of it. But, Silk Thai offers an alternative to its high-performing neighbours (New Village, Passion Food and Laksa House). Thai always seems to be a “Kiwi” favourite and perhaps they’re taking advantage of it.

BAR IN THE CAFE

I had a post about this place a couple of months ago – just for one drink!¬†The Asian Coffee is highly recommended by me. ¬†Seriously, don’t buy those sugary bottled drinks, try the fresh sugary coffee instead. If it’s too hot, get the iced version – the Iced Asian Coffee is only $4. It’s like the funky Asian version of the Starbucks Frappuccino.

Iced Asian Coffee.

If you want to rate this place, it’s hard. For bottled drinks, it’s not worth rating. For desserts, I’ve never tried it. For the fresh coffee, damn good! 9/10!

My friends, overall this is my pathetic attempt to do a bundled “foodcourt” review. It’s hard because I can’t seem to remember prices and things like that – so prefer one off visits. But if you have comments, please feel free to make them!

The Newmarket Plaza – it has variety, it is affordable and depending on which dish you choose, you can get a fantastic meal (and drink).