Food Junction – Tastes of Malaysia

If ya’ll didn’t know, today is the Malaysian National Day (Hari Kebangsaan), so I will post something Malaysian. ūüôā

I found this place thanks to a friend of mine. We keep in touch in the strangest ways; random texts at odd times of the year but hardly meet up. He’s probably a better reviewer and writer than me. Anyway, this recommendation of his is quite a pleasant surprise. My first thoughts of Food Junction – it’s in friggin’ Manukau! That’s far!

Although far, the Food Junction is located at the Te Irirangi off ramp on SH1, very accessible if you think about it. It will take about 10-15 mins from the city. The Food Junction is a food court with a lot of a variety, but for this occassion, I am targetting the Malaysian store – Tastes of Malaysia. The first thing I spotted is the fresh roti they make – which is the second time I’ve seen (after the Sri Lankan place at East Tamaki).

Samples of some of their dishes below:

Tastes of Malaysia - Mamak Mee Goreng

Mamak Mee Goreng.

Tastes of Malaysia - Roti Telur

Roti Telur.

Tastes of Malaysia - Murtabak

Murtabak.

The Mamak Mee Goreng is pretty good, and costs $9.50 It’s… dare I say it, better than the one at Sri Puteri in Panmure. It’s not wet, but not dry – just right and flavoursome.

The roti is probably their “flagship” product – the roti telur costs $9.50 and the murtabak costs $10. Both rotis are great, but I preferred the roti telur as it is not “heavy”. The curry sauce was fantastic, with at least one drumstick in there.

My rating for this occassion is a favourable 9.5/10. I am definitely going back again!

Food Alley

The Food Alley. Yes, yes, yes.

I’ve always wanted to try this place. But I couldn’t be bothered because parking is extremely difficult to find and they have too many choices. Perhaps that’s why they’ve won the Best Cheap Eats last year – lots of competition for pricing and better tasting food.

Food Alley is on Albert Street, more towards downtown. There were many places that I sampled. Some of them are as below:

Chicks

chicken-rice

Chicken Rice Large.

Chicks is serving purely chicken dishes. The above dish is $9 and it’s not bad. I thought the soup was a bit luke warm. Most of their dishes is below $10 which is good for those cheapos like me. However, overall it did not impress me.

Waroeng Wardani Indonesian Food 

waroeng-wardani-indonesian-food-seafood-balado2

Seafood Balado.

food-alley-chicks-oxtail-soup-on-rice

Ox Tail Soup on Rice.

Both dishes were $11 each. I thought the Balado was quite good. The seafood was the “fake” seafood, so perhaps my next try would be chicken or something. The Ox Tail is unique. Overall, not bad. Something I’d try again. There isn’t a lot of Indonesian places around.

Umaiya Japanese Cuisine

food-alley-umaiya-jap-cuisine-chicken-bento

Chicken Bento.

The above was $10.50 and it had a lot of stuff. I thought it was a good dish and damn good value for money. It’s definitely worth a try for a value meal. But Japanese food tends to be the same all the time, so it wasn’t very exciting.¬†

I can’t exactly give a rating for this place – it’s a bit unfair since I haven’t tried everything else. There is definitely a lot of choices, and each with their own strength and weaknesses. I’d say try the Indonesian place which is right at the back of the food court.

Ponsonby Food Court

If you’re ever in the Ponsonby area, you’re practically spoiled for choice. Unfortunately, like me, I’m on an average salary and can’t afford the luxury of dining in some of Ponsonby’s best (although I’d love to).

It was basically a random thing to go to this foodcourt, as I don’t pass by Ponsonby Food Court that often. If you don’t know where it is, it’s located on Ponsonby Road, near-ish to Burger Fuel. Actually, I had the opportunity to dine here many times about 2 years ago when I “lived” there. Couple years down the track, it hasn’t changed, except the new addition of the Mexican place.

The night we dined, it was packed so it must be good. We tried two dishes, a Japanese and Vietnamese dish. The foodcourt has various other cuisines, check out their website. Some pictures below:

Chicken Donburi.

Ginger Chicken on Rice.

The chicken donburi was actually not bad for $10 (from Dami Sushi). It’s an all-time favourite. Unfortunately, I thought the dish could do with less salt/soya sauce. Perhaps, a majority of people like it salty, like most people like their coffee with sugar (baseless conclusion FYI). The ginger chicken on rice was also very nice for $11.50 (from Mekong Vietnamese). Apparently, it’s quite a popular dish in the foodcourt. However, I’m not a big fan of crispy skin chicken, and thought the meat was a bit dry. Anyway, for $11.50, it’s quite a large dish.

I didn’t try the other stuff, the Indian and Chinese stores looked a bit plain. The Italian kinda isolated. The Malaysian store is well-placed, perhaps might try it. The Mexican and Thai seems popular. And last but not least, the guys in the middle doing the drinks – raking all the cash with their overpriced drinks and so-called juices.

Overall, Ponsonby Foodcourt is not bad. I haven’t been there for a while. It definitely has variety and it’s cheap in an “uptown” suburb. But I think the “authenticity” of the food here has been modified to suit. For this particular night, 7/10. There are better foodcourts out there I think.

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).

Atrium Food Court

Ahhhh.. what can I say. This place is full of variety and affordable dishes from Chinese, Mexican, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Italian, Thai and many more.

The two spots we picked are the Vietnamese stand – Pho and Banana Leaf.

Chicken rice.

Lemon grass pork on rice noodle.

Overall, for dishes below $9, they’re not too bad. I’ve never tried the Vietnamese before but it’s always quite lonely. I can see why – it’s being overshadowed by the cheap Chinese stand next to it, the “excitement” of the Mexican on the other side and the overly popular Japanese stand nearby. Pho did make a mistake, instead of the pork I ordered, I’m sure I tasted chicken. It looked like chicken as well. I certainly won’t go back there even though the dish is decent. The competition is just too stiff and Pho lacks the marketability – sad but true, that’s what happens when you’re in a food court. You just need to catch the customer’s attention.

A notable mention would be the Malaysian – Banana Leaf. You even get a loyalty card. The chicken rice is not bad, but I have more favourite dishes in there (curry and wonton noodle soup). The portion is large and they seem to give a bowl of soup for most dishes. Very nice.

At this stage, I’ll give the Atrium food court an 8/10 for these two stands. I’d recommend Banana Leaf rather than Pho. There will be more to come, particularly the Japanese stand. It’s got so many variety, it’s crazy! Atrium has one fantastic thing, it’s free parking on the weekends if you spend more than $5 and it’s smack in the middle of town – that means you can go shopping. One destination I’d recommend is that $3 Japanese shop. =)