Best Cheap Eats 2015: North Shore
BI WON KOREAN BBQ (Top 10)
29 Link Drive, Wairau Valley
Where do we start? The service that makes you feel like you’re at your favourite aunt’s house; the great cuts of meat you cook at your table and eat with a heavenly mix of sea salt and sesame oil; some of the best kimchi in town, and so much more. Make sure you try the pork belly and boneless galbi. Outstanding.
39 Pearn Place, Northcote
The dumplings are very good in this little restaurant, but it’s the noodles that make the joint. The owners are from Shaanxi in China’s west, so you’ll find Sichuan-style chilli and hand-shaved noodles, which are a specialty of the area — thick and lumpy, they go well with a side of chicken “gizzards”, chargrilled and dusted with cumin and chilli powder. Yum.
THE FLAMING ONION
1 Lydia Ave, Northcote
From this small suburban burger joint come some of Auckland’s best burgers. The patties are cooked medium rare, the buns are freshly baked and the fries are hand-cut and nicely crunchy. Everything a burger joint should be, and more.
MAMAK MALAYSIAN STREET FOOD
6 Huron St, Takapuna
Mamak Malaysian in the central city has been on our list for some years, but owner Jeffery Ng sold up a while back and returned to Malaysia. He kept ownership of the name, though, and now he’s back, with a new place in Takapuna. We love it already: great wok hei dishes like the hawker standard wat tan hor (smooth, egg-fried noodles) sit alongside mee goreng, laksa and the chilli-rich sambal chicken.
10/20 Link Drive, Wairau Valley
You’ll find Queen Chef in the back of the Queen Mart Korean supermarket — it’s not much more than a commercial kitchen with a couple of plastic stools. From here each day they serve up some of Auckland’s best kimchi, along with a selection of home-style soups and the odd fried pancake — recently, we ate a stew of baby octopus cooked in kimchi and chilli on rice. It was fantastic.
39 Birkenhead Ave, Birkenhead
Ta-ke is small and supposedly a Japanese restaurant, but the secret is, they also have a Korean menu and that’s where the best food is. You have to ask for it, and they will translate for you, or you can just point at what everyone else around you is eating: big bubbling stews in kimchi stock, with pork or seafood and great bits of tofu. Be sure to hold off eating until the stew has reduced and developed its full flavour.
YUMMY KOREAN BBQ
23 Mokoia Rd, Birkenhead
If only every ’burb had a joint like this. At Yummy Korean, they seem genuinely excited to see you, and even more excited if you order the ox-bone soup, which comes in a boiling-hot stoneware bowl into which you dip a bit of kimchi and a bit of rice and make yourself a bit of stew. The fish roe soup is also excellent.