When it comes to food and beverages, Auckland is definitely up there with the trends. It seems there’s a hip new place to eat opening every week, and it can be hard to keep up! Luckily, we’ve provided this handy blog breaking down some of the best hype foods around Auckland today. Let’s get right into it.
When I first learned what fermenting was, my first thought was ‘ew?’ because it’s basically what happens when you leave your leftovers in a Tupperware for a few too many days (and I’ve definitely been there and regretted it). Fermented food is actually incredibly delicious though, and it’s become super trendy because of the added probiotics and all the other health benefits it can have.
Getting into fermented food is easy; it can be anything from buying a delicious Kraut at your local Farro and adding it to your home-cooked meals, to going out to eat at a city cult favourite that’s named after fermented food (shout-out to the Kimchi Project’s Artisan Kimchi).
A fermented delicacy that’s taking over the city the most though, is the strange fermented tea otherwise known as Kombucha. You can find kombucha almost everywhere now. Bestie on K Road has massive jars of it brewing behind the counter, and you can see the awesome live culture floating along the top.
A bit of ‘booch is great to drink every day as it improves gut health and has good sugars that your body needs. It also comes in lots of different flavours because it can be made from any kind of tea, so everyone can have a swig!
If you’re not averse to a cheeky glass of vino after work, this is a trend you’ve got to get amongst. Lots of the trendiest wine bars in the city are now serving natural, organic wine by the glass and it is just something else. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details but it does involve occasionally finding a nitty-gritty piece of grape in your glass – and that’s just part of the fun!
The flavour palette of a natural wine is incredibly complex. A lot of the time they haven’t been through the filter processes that traditional winemaking goes through, so they do strange things. These wines can be fizzy, colourful, cloudy, sometimes they even resemble the taste of Kombucha. When looking at a natty wine list, it’s not uncommon to see a ‘yellow’ and an ‘orange’ list as well as your traditional whites and reds.
If you want to get a good glass of natty wine in this city, some key spots include Williams Eatery in Wynyard Quarter, and Orphans Kitchen on Ponsonby Rd. Both places have an ever-rotating list of delicious, local nattys, and they really know what they’re talking about so don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations.
Vegan Food that Shouldn’t Be Vegan
I swear I got second opinions on this and am not just including it because I’m vegan (let’s be honest, I’m probably only vegan because it’s trendy). When you look at the stats: Beyond Meat just had the largest IPO in over a decade for any company, its stock is surging through the roof and it is being adopted by a huge range of major fast-food chains as a plant-based option.
Beyond meat is an innovative vegan protein that is scarily similar to meat, and it’s not the only product that’s getting really good at making vegans second-guess whether they’re sticking to their ethics.
If you haven’t tried Ben & Jerrys’ dairy-free Coconut Seven Layer Bar or bought a heavenly Almond Milk Magnum from the gas station, you’ve gotta jump on that train whether you eat dairy or not. People come up to me all the time (token vegan, yup, thanks) to tell me that they tried vegan ice cream and it was so freakin’ good.
Adding vegan alternatives to things makes them seem somehow healthier (although FYI sugar is definitely vegan). Food science has come a long way – so much so that it’s actually hard to watch your weight, even on a vegan diet.
KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)
On a completely different note (I’m vegan, not unrealistic, I know), Korean fried chicken has brought KFC into a whole new light for foodies. Anything but a fast food cuisine, KFC consists of delicious morsels of fried chicken, coated in a sweet, spicy sauce.
The best place to get KFC in Auckland from what I can gather is a little Parnell café called Simon and Lee. Unassuming from the exterior, but the menu of this corner café can only be described as absolutely bangin’.
How it works is you order a small or a large chicken and you also choose the sauce – sweet soy, safe spicy, or danger spicy. I would only recommend danger spicy to seasoned spice eaters, because they don’t play around. The dish comes to you on a steel tray with some pickles and salad, and a pair of plastic gloves – you need them for the mess you’re about to make.
The Simon and Lee KFC is so good they gave the recipe to their sister café, Candy Shop, who credits them on their menu. This trend has blown up and now, there’s a KFC in every corner of Auckland (OBar, Seoul Night, and Pocha to name some central spots), and the Colonel has been sent home.
Baos and “Baogers”?
Forget regular burger buns! Baos are the burgers of the future. Baos are Chinese filled buns that you can get at lots of hot spots around Auckland and they. Are. Delicious. Baos are made from steamed buns so the bread is light and fluffy. You can get all the classic meat/tofu options with some Asian fusion flavours entwined. It’s typical to order two or three as they’re kinda small, which is great because you can try all the flavours.
The best thing about going out for Baos in Auckland, is that all the trendy bao places seem to have the funkiest interior design. Chinoiserie in Mt Albert has a massive Chinese dragon running along the top of the restaurant. Love Exposure on Dominion Rd is neon pink and green and has a fish tank full of jellyfish. Kiss Kiss in Balmoral looks like it comes straight out of the 90s and you even look at the menu through a View Master. Happy Boy in Onehunga straight up looks like the inside of a swimming pool. The turquoise and pink neon lights glows off the polyplex furniture and makes all your friends faces look pink. These are all unique spots you’ve got to hit.
Slowing things down a little, slow food is the concept of eating food that’s local, organic and ethically transparent. It’s so great that this kind of food is trending because it is the polar opposite of fast food! In Auckland, there’s a number of organisations who are serving as slow food suppliers for homes and cafes alike. There are inner city gardens, mushroom foragers, street foragers and more.
Lots of high-class food establishments are buying locally sourced ingredients because they’re simply tastier and easier! This means menus are changing more regularly with the seasonal produce available. It also means that chefs are getting to try new things like cooking with Kawakawa and using Maori flavours because they grow really well here.
If you want to check out slow food at its finest, check out Lillius in Grafton, Culprit in the city, or Cazador on Dominion Rd. These places all value sustainable and local food sourcing and they comprise of some of the Auckland dining scenes finest.
Eat Good Food
I could go on literally forever about the food scene in Auckland. There’s a real sense of sustainability which fuels our modern eateries, and we’re a culturally diverse city, so we have so many cuisines on offer.
Next time you go out to eat, I highly recommend you try something new! Branching out from our local takeaway place or the corner brunch spot is how we can get our food industry to push itself further, to produce better meals that put Auckland on the map.
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