Top 50 Cheap Eats 2021 Winners: Who Won What
The best of the best in Auckland.
In a year of immense uncertainty, there is a lot to be said for familiarity. For many of us Aucklanders, Eden Noodles has been a rock to lean on at one point or another — whether that’s a dusty Saturday afternoon, a lazy weekday, or a Level 3 takeaway when we were on the verge of eating too much sourdough and pasta. Their food is always consistently tasty, and that’s a real gift; to want to call in time after time when the city is so populated by similar alternatives shows just how highly we think of the place.
Every person and their dog has been through Mr Taco, spurred on by the immense wave of love bestowed on the place by those who had been before them. Owner Manuel Moreno González (also the chef) opened in June this year, serving up his food seven days a week, from lunchtime to dinnertime. The scarcity of good, traditional tacos in Auckland is a known problem, so having one smack-dab in the city centre is, excuse me, really damn cool.
Eden Noodles’ Dumplings in Spicy Sauce
We’ve talked enough about these already, but just in case you’ve missed it: a Sichuan staple, these silkyskinned parcels sit in a bath of chilli oil which hits the right balance between savoury, spicy, sweet and sour.
Nominees: Peach’s Hot Chicken’s Chicken and Waffles; Chu Long Ji’s Xiaolongbao; Daamso’s Gamjatang; Uncle Man’s Curry chicken roti; Xi’An Food Bar’s Cucumber salad; Baifu Dumplings‘ Lamb dumplings in suan la tang; Mr Taco’s fish tacos
For a whole lot of tasty carbs at a reasonable price, we really can’t go past Happy Cafe, the Cantonese roast-meat-and-wonton-soup joint of our dreams. Even their generous sharing dishes, like an eggplant and salted fish casserole, or salted pepper pork rib, come in at under $20.
Runner up: Taste of Samoa
$14 for two people. Enough said.
During our visit, the woman in front-of-house was singing along to a Chinese folk song. The joy was infectious, and, even better, she stopped by for a yarn after some sage menu recommendations, and we love that. Side note: whoever said worse service means greater authenticity needs to check themselves.
Top 50 Cheap Eats is presented by AF Drinks.