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Metro Eats — Friday 23 July

Essential reading for everyone thinking of eating in Auckland this week.

Metro Eats — Friday 23 July

Jul 23, 2021 Metro Eats

Hey everyone,

My favourite contestant won Apprentice Aotearoa this week and life is, inexplicably, good. It’s also been busy in Metro HQ working towards the next issue, which is due to come out in pretty much exactly a month’s time. So in lieu of my usual life-adjacent waffling, here are some pieces in the latest issue that have recently been put up online:

Comedian Angella Dravid has a new column about life and stuff, and her short yarn about how she survived (no, thrived) during her time in a telemarketing job is, indeed, very funny.

Henry took the How to be Good slot last issue, in which he attends a kintsugi class and ruminates on the beauty of repair.

Madeleine Holden looks at how having sex in the dark has often been portrayed as some sort of prudish preference, when really it may just be a… preference.

And, finally, we have recently launched a Young Chef Scholarship in partnership with Sanpellegrino, and we are calling out for entries. If you are, or know anyone, who may be interested in entering, have a look at the requirements here. There is cash, mentorship, and a feature in the Summer 2020/21 issue up for grabs.

— Jean


What’s happening

Baby G Burger is popping up for lunch and dinner at East St Hall for double cheeseburgers, natural wine, and more. No reservations, 12-8pm, Sunday 25 July.

Head chef at Bestie cafe Nicola Standage is popping up at Acho’s this Sunday 25 July from 6pm, cooking “U.K Style Japanese food”. DM Acho’s to book a table.

Migrant Zine Collective are launching a beautiful looking publication at the Auckland Zine Fest called Recipes for Resistance, a collection of essays, recipes and artworks sent in to them last year at the height of the pandemic. Zinefest is on at the Auckland Art Gallery Saturday 31st July/Sunday 1st August.

Auckland Live x Metro: It’s the last week or so to hit up Elemental in Aotea Square, an activation which lights up the Square with entertainment, food, and unique interactive experiences for all.

Up until 1 August, you can strap on the skates and glide away on the Aotea Square Ice Rink, which is fun for kids but a good time for adults too. It’s open till 10pm Sunday-Thursday and 11pm Friday and Saturday afterall, so kid-free late nights are definitely on the cards, as is a student discount on Wednesdays from 6pm onwards. Schedule your skating time around your Snug time, which are like little transparent igloos kitted out with comfy blankets and heaters. Designed for up to eight people, you can also choose from a selection of platters to munch on when you book. If you’re still hungry, you could pop out to the on-site Auckland Night Markets for some more kai, too.


What’s good

I had a banging pork and salted fish claypot rice at Panda Kitchen in Somerville’s Meadowland Dr. There were pork pieces and fatty pork belly, as well as generous amounts of salted fish (my regular claypot fans will know, restaurants can be stingy as with these morsels). You can control the level of sauce (comes on the side).

Simon headed to Food Truck Garage in City Works Depot and enjoyed its classic cheeseburger, which consists of two smashed patties in between a kumara bun.

Henry dined at Tanuki’s Cave and particularly enjoyed the chicken and cheese yakitori.

I go hard for Tsujiri, the matcha tea house in Lorne St and Westfield’s Newmarket, but usually don’t venture far from its soft serves. However, I had the hojicha blended ice drink for the first time ever this weekend, and it was also crazy delicious. Earthy, slightly sweet, fragrant. It is an almost prohibitive $9.90, but somehow I would definitely get it again.

IYKYK:  Paradise  looks to be using its leftover curries for pie fillings which it then sells in its warmer the next day.

Call-out: Has anyone seen jars of this “pistachio cream” anywhere in Auckland? As a die-hard pistachio ice cream fan (I know, I know) I’d be very keen to try what has been described in this article as a nutella (and related spreads) alternative.

What’s new

The old Clay space on Karangahape Rd is now a new set-menu restaurant owned and operated by head chef Georgia van Prehn called  Alta . Having opened yesterday, the restaurant offers an $80pp set menu that looks to change regularly, along with specials (for extra $$) every night. Last night’s offering included a scampi and celeriac tart, beetroot with smoked yoghurt and sunflower seed, and octopus noodles with beef fat, marmalade and silverbeet. Hmmm.

Another new cafe in Albany (following the one in last week’s newsletter, 55 Cafe), SUP Cafe & Bistro has just opened, this time in the Rosedale area at 40 Rosedale Rd.

Not new, but new(s):  Cazador ’s head chef, Brendan Kyle, has recently left the restaurant after five years of working there – apparently headed into what is sure to be a particularly good food truck.

Huami ’s Raymond Xue

SkyCity x Metro: A look at Huami’s popular lunchtime yum cha

Yum cha is, in many families, a weekend tradition. Tables are heaving, noise levels can be described as “cacophonous”, and trollies are wheeled around piled full of bamboo steamers.

You won’t find those trolleys at SkyCity’s Chinese restaurant Huami’s yum cha, where items are steamed regularly every five minutes or so for pending orders to ensure the dumplings and other dim sum are delivered to you fresh from the steamer.

It’s this commitment to quality and attention to detail that has proven a hit with diners, shown in the huge demand it’s created, particularly on the weekends, when you’d be lucky to get a table. It’s this scarcity, among the many other delicious things on offer, that keep people coming back.

Amongst the menu, there a regular favourites like siew mai (though one option does have braised baby abalone, perhaps not a regular anywhere else), chicken feet, lo mai gai (glutinous sticky rice), lo bak go (radish cakes) char siew bao (pork buns, though Huami has a chicken version) and congee. You can also order some additional dishes on the side, like the wok-fried noodles, sauteed prawns, or hot and sour soup.

We talk to Xue about what exactly sets Huami apart from the numerous other yum cha options in the city.

Hi, Ray. Could you tell me what is different about the yum cha at Huami?

Huami’s yum cha is different from other yum cha restaurants because we use the best ingredients. The variety may not be as wide as other Chinese restaurants, but when I go outside to eat, I find that our food is not the same. I’m a bit fussy [laughs]. I’ve been in the industry so long. So we’re always choosing the best product to make the things, and the best chefs with the best technique to wrap the dumplings.

For example, the filling is one thing, and the wrapping is another thing. When I go to other yum cha places, after the dumpling is steamed, the wrinkles [from wrapping] are all gone. But ours, the wrinkle is still there, because when the chef does their finger work, they have a certain technique.

Take our har kao, for example. Every yum cha has a har kao, but we use the best prawns for our har kao. The texture will be different; very “Q”. At other places, it’s a bit mushy, since they use a different size of prawns. Our har kao has truffle oil and truffle jam in there, so it makes a difference with others.

Another example is with our xiaolongbao. When I go outside, the first thing I find is that they use processed pork mince; the size is different, the texture is different. Sometimes, it’s also a bit more sour. At first, this also happened in Huami, until I realised it was because of the soy sauce that was making it sour — the soy sauce had the yeast, which was still working in high temperatures. Even in the fridge, it was still going. That produced the sour taste.

So now we boil the soy sauce and wine together before we use it, and it makes a huge difference. The dipping sauce, which is vinegar, well… lots of people use dark vinegar, or red vinegar in Cantonese restaurants. I’m from Shanghai, and xiaolongbao is from Shanghai. We use a real rice vinegar with pickled olive.

See, it’s all the little things. When you put two and two on the same table, there’s a clear difference.

Overall, we may have lots of things that, outside of Huami, others may have, but the difference is with the quality.

Huami’s yum cha is available from Wednesday-Sunday, 11.30am-2.30pm. We recommend booking.


Latest issue shadow

Metro N°442 is Out Now.

In the Autumn 2024 issue of Metro we celebrate the best of Tāmaki Makaurau — 100 great things about life in Auckland, including our favourite florist, furniture store, cocktail, basketball court, tree, make-out spot, influencer, and psychic. The issue also includes the Metro Wine Awards, the battle over music technology company Serato, the end of The Pantograph Punch, the Billy Apple archives, a visit to Armenia, viral indie musician Lontalius, the state of fine dining, and the time we bombed West Auckland to kill a moth. Plus restaurants, movies, politics, astrology, and more.

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