Chinese food aficionado and cheap eats expert Crystal Wu is eating her way along Dominion Road to bring you the best of Auckland’s favourite foodie strip. You can thank her later.
Craving something greasy and satisfying without the central city price tag? When it comes to authentic Asian food, Dominion Road is where it’s at. Unofficially known as Auckland’s ‘Chinatown’, D-Road has been a long-time haunt for foodies in the know.
With lines spilling out the doors of fluorescently lit, rundown restaurants, with rather err… direct service – you at least know the food has to be good. And it damn well is.
From hand-pulled noodles and freshly steamed dumplings to bubble tea and spicy beans, Dominion Road can offer you a myriad of hangover cures – and all for under $20. Here are my top five recommendations for where to eat and what to order.
Shaolin Kungfu Noodle
636 Dominion Road
It’s winter. Forget the smoothie bowls and wrap your mitts around a comforting bowl of hand-pulled noodles in a rich meaty broth.
Must try: ‘Kungfu Beef Noodles’ (from $10.80).
571 Dominion Road, or 305 Dominion Road (BYO outlet)
Barilla arguably makes the best dumplings in Auckland. Here, you’ll find generous portions ($12-15 for 20 pieces) of meaty, juicy goodness with more than 40 fillings to choose from, and vegetarian options available.
Must try: ‘Fried French Beans with Spicy Salt’ ($14) – salty, sweet and bursting with flavour, these bad boys are seriously addictive.
1 Rocklands Ave (just off Dominion Road)
Northern Thai fusion with good vibes, great cocktails and super cute décor. Perfect for weeknight drinks!
Must try: ‘Pad Thai Thamadaa’ ($16.50), ‘Steamed Buns’ (Gua Bao): pork belly, chicken or tofu ($8.50 each).
Eden Noodles Cafe
105 Dominion Road
You’ll probably get stuck in the constant queue outside this effortless little noodle house, but it’s well worth the wait. Spicy, sweet and gratifyingly tart, their Schezuan sauce will leave you in tears while you hold yourself back from slurping another bowl.
Must try: ‘Dumpling in Spicy Sauce’ (from $5) and ‘Noodles with Sweet Special Sauce’ (from $10). And unless you’re a chilli fiend, order mild – you will underestimate the heat.
537 Dominion Road
Forget the late night Macca’s run. New Flavour is another top dumpling joint that’s open late most nights and is BYO (win-win). Always cheap, always cheerful.
Must try: ‘Crispy Fried Pork Slices with Sweet and Sour Sauce’ ($16.80), ‘Deep Fried Squid with Cumin and Chilli’ ($16).