Best Cheap Eats 2016: Epsom/Greenlane/Newmarket/Remuera/Royal Oak
GREENWOODS FRESH CATCH
1 Pah Rd, Epsom
Fresh-every-day fish and award-winning chips cooked by the happiest man alive make for a winning Friday night in. Thomas Ng left Hong Kong as a young man to work as a chef in mid-century New Zealand (some wonderful history there). These days, the octogenarian and his wife Lillian fervently plug the simple, top-quality-is-best approach to fish and chips, for which we love them.
Fish and chips
2015 Great South Rd, Greenlane
As an offshoot of Selera in Newmarket, it’s not surprising Mama Rich have replicated their top-selling curry laksa (which happens to be one of the best in Auckland). The Char Kway Teow has now hit top form again with a tweak in wok hei (the breath of a very hot wok) technique where the kway teow is wok-fried to smoky deliciousness, Other highly reccomended dishes include beef-noodle soup, a big bowl of heartiness topped with chunks of marinated braised beef, and steamed pork and chive dumplings, especially when dipped in the accompanying black vinegar and finely julienned ginger.
776 Manakau Rd, Royal Oak
We wonder if they’re the best barbeque pork buns in town, with their incredibly fluffy exterior and sweet, spicy, sticky filling. They also do their dumplings extremely well – either in your standard plate-of-20 way (fried or steamed, we love the pork and fennel, obviously) or in smaller dim-sum styles. Try the corriander and shrimp, or the pork siu mai. And don’t forget the Chinese vegetables on the side.
SAKE BAR NIPPON
415 Manakau Rd, Epsom
Go here for great genki. It’s the drum-beating, the head-bowing irasshaimases (welcomes) and the general enthusiasm exuded by both waitstaff and customers. Being next door to the Lido helps some, too – that old fashioned pre- or post-cinema thrill. The firm but yielding whole yakatori squid is superb and the salmon sushi generously filled, but if we’re honest we really go for the karaage chicken: best washed down with a pint of Orion. Kanpai!
487 Khyber Pass Rd, Newmarket
Still some of the best Malaysian around, this busy corner in Newmarket remains one of our favourites. The laksa bowl is enormous, and we love it at lunchtime, with its giant prawns and pieces of tofu and perfect amount of heat. We also love the beef rendang, so softly falling apart, fragrant with lemongrass and spice. The perfect pre-movie meal.
Malaysian, vegetarian friendly
21/319 Remuera Rd, Remuera
Compared to Chinese food, Taiwanese cuisine has more subtle flavours and lacks the brutal assault of sauces (such as oyster) on the palate. Among Tree’s delicious entrées are smashed cucumber, pickled cabbage, marinaded eggs and pork ears. And there’s a great range of soups, too — choose from dumplings in beef soup, squid in thick soup, or noodles and pork in thick soup with barbecue sauce, to name a few. The beef tendon noodles — melt-in-the-mouth tendons in a dark rich broth — are a favourite. Non-meat dishes include vegetarian “chicken” and “fish” as well as simmered tofu and pan-fried bean curd.