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.

Auckland is full of top-notch Asian eateries such as Xuxu Dumpling Bar.
  • Gwen McClure
  • 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…

Xuxu

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 opens in new window does great vegan dumplings, too.

Kiss Kiss

The green floral tablecloths and cocktail menus hidden in old-school viewfinder toys give Kiss Kiss opens in new window 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.

Retro-themed diner Kiss Kiss serves no-frills Thai food
Retro-themed diner Kiss Kiss serves no-frills Thai food.

Cassia

There’s no shortage of terrific Indian food in Auckland but Cassia opens in new window 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.

Azabu

Set inside a characterless building at the southern end of Ponsonby Road, it might be easy to miss Azabu opens in new window – 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.

Japanese flavours meet Peruvian ingredients in fusion restaurant Azabu.
Japanese flavours meet Peruvian ingredients in fusion restaurant Azabu.

Saan

The minimalist décor belies the friendly vibe at this northern Thai restaurant. It’s best to visit Saan opens in new window 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.