Above: Mamak Takapuna, photo: Caitlin McKone.
BI WON KOREAN BBQ
29 Link Drive, Wairau Valley
You’re here for barbecue, and when you order this they bring out a bucket of red-hot charcoal and put it into the grill in front of you. Then they bring out marinated beef rib and mok deung shim (pork scotch fillet) for you to cook, though they’ll show you how if it’s obvious you’ve not done this before. The service is impeccable — they’ll bring out tidbits for you to try, and salt imported from Korea. Magnificent.
Food City, 6-10 Kilham Ave, Northcote
Crispy and hot off the griddle, murtabak – fried bread commonly found in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore – in this case comes stuffed with tandoori chicken chunks, sliced onions and beans. Paired with their succulent lamb curry, this dish dances on the tongue. Halal.
6 Huron St, Takapuna
Jeffrey Ng has just introduced Sarawak laksa to his menu, and what a hit it has become. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is so enamoured with Sarawak laksa, it’s on his personal top 10 list. The spicy gravy features katumbar (ground coriander seeds), a touch of coconut milk and belacan chilli paste. It’s also great to see Hainanese chicken rice firmly established on the main menu. Other popular dishes include nasi lemak, rendangs and curries, mee goreng, char kway teow and freshly made roti canai. Weekdays, end your meal with a towering roti tisu cone (up to 40cm high), which arrives on your table with a side of condensed milk.
Malaysian, licensed, vegetarian friendly
Unit 10, 20 Link Drive, Wairau Valley
You’ll find Queen Chef at the back of a Korean supermarket that you would never know was there unless you went up the driveway. Each morning, the Korean women who run it make a big batch of soup, and it’s best to get here before 11am to make sure you get some. They also sell kimchi and a particularly fine pancake, which refries very nicely. One of the Shore’s best finds.
4 Anzac Rd, Browns Bay
f we’re honest, the original Ramen Takara still has it over the new Ponsonby branch: head here for some of the best ramen in the city. Stocks are clean, bassy and full of flavour; you can customise your noodles. There may not be a finer shoyu ramen ($10) in the city. Of the more unusual variants, try the spicy tan-tan ($16), made with a black sesame base, rich and slightly sour. Service is tops, plus it’s licensed.
Japanese, licensed, vegetarian friendly
THE FLAMING ONION
1 Lydia Ave, Northcote
You know this is an unusual location when directions read, “Next to the aquarium”. Burger lovers will want to seek out this popular takeaway for not only perfectly cooked burgers, but also for their specials, sides, homemade sauces and relishes. The rosti is a must-try — the bacon and egg stack with rosti has “survival food” written all over it. They even deliver.
22 The Promenade, Takapuna
Hip Group’s beachfront restaurants each have a takeaway arm. At Takapuna (and also at Kohi Corner and St Heliers), you can skip the wait for a table by ordering from a shorter menu of gourmet fish and chips, wagyu cheeseburgers and filling seasonal salads to go. Tease the seagulls by eating on the beach, and then return for gelato.
Contemporary NZ, free range, new listing
YUMMY KOREAN BBQ
23 Mokoia Rd, Birkenhead
Got the winter blues? Take the ferry to Birkenhead and choose from more than 50 great soup/stew options at Yummy Korean BBQ. There’s care in the broths, which take hours to prepare, and kindness in the hearts of the owners, who will show graceless novices how to eat them properly. The kimchi here is a real winner.
Eden Terrace/Mt Eden/Dominion Rd
Grey Lynn/Herne Bay/K'Rd precinct/Ponsonby
Mt Roskill/New Lynn/Blockhouse Bay/Titirangi