Where to find the best Asian food in Auckland
Whether you're in the mood for a classic Pad Thai or are game to try some Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine, Auckland's cool Asian eateries have something to satisfy your cravings.
- April 2019
Hungry? How does spicy lamb kulcha with coriander chutney sound? Or a snack of artichoke dumplings? If you love Asian food, there’s something for everyone in Auckland – the only issue might be deciding which restaurant to visit and what to order. We start you off with a few helpful suggestions…
We’re all for tucking into dumplings with a bottle of BYO at your local hole-in-the-wall but there’s something special about enjoying basket after bamboo basket of steamy dumplings while sipping on fancy cocktails. Whether you’re here for dinner or a drink and a bite, pick a spot on the patio where you’ll sit under glowing lanterns, tucked behind a wall of green bamboo. Bonus: Xuxu does great vegan dumplings, too.
The green floral tablecloths and cocktail menus hidden in old-school viewfinder toys give Kiss Kiss a retro feeling, suggesting you might be in for a gimmicky meal – but that’s not the case. The menu items are the same as those on offer at your run-of-the-mill Thai takeaway joint (think pad thai and pad see ew) but the food here is superb. Just be sure to leave room for dessert – the mango and sticky rice is as close as you’ll get to Bangkok street food in NZ.
There’s no shortage of terrific Indian food in Auckland but Cassia surpasses the competition. Husband-and-wife team Sid and Chand Sahrawat work together to meld Indian flavours with New Zealand produce. The result is beautifully plated dishes such as snapper with mustard and coconut, served against a backdrop of exposed brick and cement ceilings in a cellar in the middle of the CBD.
Set inside a characterless building at the southern end of Ponsonby Road, it might be easy to miss Azabu – but make sure you don’t (look for a discreet sign marking its entrance). Inside this Japanese-Peruvian fusion spot, bartenders expertly mix cocktails on one side of the narrow room and wooden tables line the opposite wall. The service here is flawless, as are the dishes, which range from spicy wagyu beef skewers to kingfish ceviche and crab steamed buns.
The minimalist décor belies the friendly vibe at this northern Thai restaurant. It’s best to visit Saan in a group so you have an excuse to order one of everything. Alongside dishes including wide rice noodles tossed with homemade sriracha and chicken thigh, fish wrapped in banana leaf and an extra-spicy papaya salad, they have an excellent cocktail menu. Try By Any Other Name, a cocktail made with coconut-infused rum and pineapple shrub.