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Salsa Lover

Im sure you know about these guys but just in case...
i would contact them and ask - they do great dried versions of a number of chiles (not sure if they cover the ones you mention though but worth asking
)cheers FF

How to spend New Year in Auckland?

I dont really have any gems to recommend specifically for NYE - bear in mind that the city often empties out (ie that means its even emptier than usual which is already pretty empty!) around Xmas/NY - and while im sure there will be some stuff going on on NYE in the CBD - probably in the newly revamped Aotea square, probably some kind of band and a countdown - the atmosphere of a NZ NYE celebration often tends to be of the "drunken teenagers downing RTDs and then passing out on the footpath" type :) A better bet is probably to go for dinner around the Viaduct area - unlike the top part of town which can feel a bit barren, the viaduct has a much better vibe with the water/boats and there are some good places to eat (I would recommend Soul - the fish is always good and its got an enviable position right on the water - great bar, great food).
definitely would need to book for that night as the only issue with soul is its SO popular, esp the outside tables.

Beer list - you have touched on a real sore point here! NZ restaurants do wine lists pretty well - some very very well - but beer is a different story. The best place i have found to get a great beer list is the chain of Belgian pubs - they also do green lipped mussel pots - so you can combine great beer and NZ mussels - but bear in mind the great beer will be belgian not kiwi. If you want to try great kiwi beer, your best bet is to head to a supermarket/bottle store and stock up on some like Epic lager. anyway this site may be helpful:

I would recommend The French Cafe for the food however it would be a case of simply turning up and going in there and having dinner - the surrounding street area is not much chop and its altogther less "party" atmosphere than Soul - but definitely somewhere to check out for great food perhaps on another night

if you are looking for something more "cheap and cheerful" and you love Thai food, check out Tom Yum Eden on Dominion Road (10 min by bus from town) - they do amazing seafood - whole snapper (the dish is called Pla Sam Rose) and also Squid larb - the best thai food in NZ by a mile - check my review here:

sorry dont know places in ChCh

another option for NYE would be to go to Waiheke Island (off auckland's coast - about 45 mins by ferry) - there are loads of nice wineries there - you could have a lovely meal and stay over there - e.g. cable bay

check trip advisor as im sure there will be lots of info there. most people i think would agree that some of the best things about Auckland are not to be found in its CBD - the viaduct is OK but nothing compared to Sydney's waterfront - it would definitely be my pick if you want to/have to stay in central auckland for NYE - but if you have a choice and can be somewhere out of auckland e.g. waiheke - you can probably take more advantage of the uniqueness of the area - the winery settings, the views, the harbour etc (and still get great food).

hope this was useful - have a great trip!

Ingredients for Middle Eastern cooking - Auckland

This reply is quite late but just coming back to chowhound after a time away - so just in case its still helpful, my fave place for buying middle eastern supplies is Shefco/Cedar Bakery on Dominion Road - details here:

It sells meals/snacks (e.g. felafel, baklawa) but also lots of canned goods, great sumac - really tangy and fresh and much cheaper than any of the "posh" delis - this is the nearest i have seen to the middle eastern stores in places like Melbourne which are catering for the local middle eastern community, as opposed to delis and "gourmet" food shops which are pitched at "foodies". onsequently the experience feels a bit more authentic - and you are likely to find lots of other amazing middle eastern ingredients which arent yet on the "foodie" radar! by the way, their pita bread ($1.50 a pack) is the best ive ever had in auckland.

Auckland and Queenstown recommendations

for a restaurant that prioritise a great NZ wine list in the auckland region (these are modern fine dining but I am pretty sure are not strictly "french" restaurants) try:

O'Connell Street Bistro


otherwise try visiting some wineries in the area:

Kumeu River well worth a visit for their amazing Chardonnay

Waiheke Island reknowned for its reds - and makes a lovely trip from auckland - can be done as a day trip.

But if you have an apartment then I would recommend a trip to your local wine store (Glengarry's is a good chain which has a good selection of NZ wine
otherwise there are more "boutique" wine stores such as Caro's
Mt Eden Village winery
Staff at these 2 shops in parri

Go to a deli or supermarket and self cater and settle in for a big night tasting some great bottles!
Nosh is a great place to stock up on provisions - they have a couple of branches in different auckland locations

To be honest the wineries are much better in the Central Otago/Queenstown area than in Auckland - there are lots of great options - as someone has already mentioned Amisfield is great. Other good ones are Rippon in Wanaka a biodynamic winery (about 45 mins drive I think from memory from Queenstown? check this as I am not sure the distance) www

Carrick and Felton Road are both excellent - this area is well known for its Pinot Noir. Carrick has a lovely restaurant also.

As far as lovely NZ wines to include on your "must try" list I would say:

Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc
Kumeu River Chardonnay
a central Otago Pinot Noir (e.g. Carrick, Felton Road) or Moutere Pinot Noir from Neudorf in Nelson - they make great wines
Te Mata Coleraine - one of the most famous NZ reds from Hawkes Bay

happy sipping

South Island recommendations?

Highlights from recent SI trips for me would be:

Felafel Gourmet in Nelson- super fresh and tasty!

Splash out lunch at Pegasus Bay Winery
great food, wine and setting

cant remember the name of the cafes but there is some seriously good home baking to be eaten in Rangiora - real old school kiwi home baking

and finally again in Nelson - probably the best pie I have had anywhere at Kapie

Woudl love to try Fleurs Place as have the cookbook and it looks like its a real haven for great food.

have fun on your trip.

Three days in Adelaide, four days in Sydney

not sure how pricey this is for your budget but my personal pick for Adelaide without a doubt is Good Life pizza - aaammmaazzzing!!

Happy New Year Auckland foodies - celebrate with some great icecream!!

I have some great New Years foodie news on the Auckland icecream front folks!

Takapuna Beach Cafe icecream
(see my initial post here:


is now also available cityside in Kohimarama at a place called "The Store" - so for citysiders no need to cross the bridge for a fix!

The Store is a small deli/gelateria/cafe which sells breads, cakes etc (havent tried any but they all look fab) and makes everything in store apart from the gelato, which is made at Takapuna Beach Cafe.

I had read about the fact this icream was available around the Bays in the Herald and thought it was in MIssion Bay - ended up at a place called Ginellis which seriously did not look like it would cut the mustard on the gelato stakes. To be fair I didnt actually eat any but the fake colours were enough to put this icecream snob off!

I headed off somewhat despondent, thinking maybe the Herald had got it wrong, and drove towards Kohimarama just as a last ditch attempt to check out any other possible suspects in the icecream stakes. The Store is not immediately obvious as an icecream place but my beady foodie eyes hunted the fridge down the back - and voila! icecream heaven!!

This time went for a combo of 2 flavours: liquorice and double chocolate - wow! seriously only the gelato I have had in Italy comes close to this stuff (and yes, I know how pretentious that sounds but its true!)

If you are an icecream head then seriously you need to check this place out - cant wait until they open another branch even closer to where I live (though my waistline says otherwise...)

Dont have an phone number or address sorry but its on Averill Ave, Kohimarama which is just off the main road which is adjacent to the sea. Its right next to Der Metz - which is, by the way, a great place to go in Auckland for German food - see reviews on Dine out


Now who could this possibly be?!!! Mr Pie himself perhaps?!!
Hope you managed to devour some good ones!!!

Gluten free bread in Auckland

Hey Ssamjang! :) you have not doubt already heard me bang on about this place but Breadman breads are just fantastic. I visited the bakery when I last went to Christchurch - sad but true it was one of my main reasons for visiting Chch as I just love their breads!!!
The breads are available in lots of health food stores - I normally get mine from Victoria Park New World - but you could always email them to ask where they supply on the shore - probably IE produce I imagine.
They do mostly breads with gluten but some are gluten free - the Buckwheat and Corn is a really nice dense bread - I have found a lot of gluten free breads a bit "samey" sometimes with a lot of white rice flour used. This one is dry (so again better toasted) but heavier, more like a wholemeal taste.

They also do a cassava bread - to my mind a bit too much like the ricey breads I have had - but not too bad. Your place in Torbay sounds great will have to try it!!

Auckland CBD eats?

Yes - thanks everyone -Ive been off the boards for a bit so when I took a peek this morning it was fab to see all these posts about auckland food!

Brigade- great to see you picking up on the Belgian Beer pubs - its ironic but whenever overseas guests are coming to NZ one of the first places I think to take them for real Kiwi food is one of these Belgian Beer pubs! They may be billed as "belgian" but they serve up probably the best value, iconic NZ shellfish dish - the green lipped mussel pots. Short of going to a local Kiwi's house for dinner, you are not going to find such great value Kiwi seafood anywhere else. OK so the beer is Belgian not Kiwi but with a few exceptions aside - Belgian beer is head and shoulders over the Kiwi stuff anyway - I cant think of a better combo than a pint of Leffe and a big pot of mussels - yum!

Brad - thanks as always for your tips - and dont worry, things dont change that fast around here so i think everything you mention as far as I know is still bang on! - sorry I wasnt able to hook up on your last trip but hopefully will happen when you are next back - must check your blog to see what you have been eating elsewhere so i can get very jealous!!

And Ssamjang - so great to see all your posts on the Auckland CBD thread - your expertise on Korean menus in Auckland is second to none - thanks for sharing your tips!!! Completely agree with you about Bongane being fantastic (thanks to your recommendation!) - have been there are few times but cant wait to try some of the items you have listed on your post - am getting a craving for Naengmyeon as I write...!

Personal picks going into the New Year - most of my all time Auckland faves have been covered already (Tom Yum Eden being probably my all time top auckland food addiction - their current special "Pla Sam Rose" - deep fried snapper in a tamarind/kaffir lime leaf sauce is spectacular as is the Prawn with Vermicelli - served in a iron pot with wood fungus - really really REALLY good!).

A couple of new observations:

- Kaya and Toast - a very unassuming Malaysian place right at the entrance to the (hideously ugly!) Sky City Cinema complex on Queen Street (right beside Borders). You will see (nay SMELL!) Burger King on your left - go through the automatic doors and immediately to your left you will see a small staircase heading to a tiny cafe- Kaya and Toast. As the name suggests, this is a cafe serving classic Malaysian drinks (Kopi-O, Teh Tarik etc - think they even do that iconic "tea and coffee mixed together" drink - think that its called "Chum" :) anyway cant comment on quality of drinks, but the food I have had is great - all the usual Malaysian tea shop classics - I had the "yardstick" dish (my personal measure of how good a malaysian place is!) Nasi Lemak - big ups for the coconut rice and lovely anchovy tasting pickle. Not a huge menu, very casual but definitely delivering the goods. Perfect pre movie chow down and runs rings over anything else I have had in the tres depressing, neon jungle that is the Sky City food court!

The other place I wanted to mention for a quick CBD fix in Auckland - and this will no doubt have me struck off any foodie list but here goes.... St Pierres Sushi! Having been to Japan and experienced the most divine sushi I have ever tasted, Auckland is, to be honest, just not up there in the sushi stakes! OK so it tends to improve as you move from a sushi bar/cafe to a restaurant (and SSamjang - completely agree Tanuki is fab) - its still at best a shadow of the real deal in my experience. I dont know why this is but suspect its something to do with the rice as the fish here is great but I just havent been completely blown away as I was in Japan.

Anyway I have slowly, painfully, come to accept the fact that Auckland sushi doesnt quite cut it compared with Japan (but please foodies, let me know if you know a place that contradicts my opinion and I will try) - and have lowered my expectations on Auckland sushi - especially when it comes to your "quick fix lunchtime" number. On the way down my "expectation lowering" journey I met St Pierres and was somewhat impressed- why? you gasp in horror?!! The first is price - every day they do a "sushi of the day" pack which is only $4.90 for 8 pieces - some days you want to run a mile e.g when the filling is crabstick - but other times you hit the bingo - esp Fridays when the filling is raw salmon. Turnover is high and the sushi tastes way fresher than any other lunch spot Ive been to in the CBD. But if you really want to push the boat out and try St Pierres at its finest, then ask them to make up a pack of something which isnt out -a good pick as I have never seen this one sitting there on the counter therefore always need to ask for it to be made, is the fresh tuna "dynamite" rolls. Whilst they may apologise for you having to wait while they make it, you as a fussy foodie will be smugly standing there, pleased as pie that you are getting to have absolutely freshly made sushi.
So, in summary, its not top notch sushi but the sushi of the day is extraordinarily good value (depending on the day of the week!) and so ubiquitous (there are branches all over town) its probably my fall back for a quick healthy bite to eat.
So strike me down....!!
Happy eating:)

Best Icecream in Auckland (NZ even?) at Takapuna Beach Cafe

Echo Ssamjang's post here - TK please "give us the scoop" on your icecream pick!!!

Queenstown suggestions?

Hi there
havent dined at places in queenstown except for a great low cost japanese place right in town but you can obviously get that food other places! would recommend going to the following deli and trying some local produce:

other than that - definitely get yourself to some local wineries in the area for fantastic food and wine - amisfield supposed to be good for food and mt difficulty has great views as does rippon (cheese plate only


sorry havent got more recommendations - to be honest if you want things you cant get elsewhere you are pretty much restricted to ingredients, fine dining (where the chef incorporates these into dishes), or perhaps some kiwi faves you can get a lot of places like a pie - for more general NZ tips check my posting here:

Where can I find fresh chiles in NZ?

suggest trying Garry at Kaitaia Fire - he is "mr chile" in NZ! its been a while since I was in touch with him but think hes stil running the place - the website is here:

on the website it doesnt list fresh chiles but get in touch - they definitely grow haberneros up there to use in their waha wera sauce - they definitely sell dried ones so might sell fresh and if not would probably be good place to ask
good luck!
if all else fails would try the Avondale sunday market or otherwise try your luck at indian grocers in the dominion road mt roskill area - i chanced on fresh habs there once and they were amazing!

Best Icecream in Auckland (NZ even?) at Takapuna Beach Cafe

OK, so heres my icecream scale for Auckland and probably the whole of NZ in terms of places I have travelled:

at the very bottom you have "Chateau" - really, really disappointing - dont go there...

next level probably Tip Top (wins points for Kiwi nostalgia value and milkiness but is mass produced tasting and overly sweet)

one notch up is probably killarney gold - better than tip top but still not amazing

keep going up the ladder (in price also) and you hit a more acceptable range of options for the icecream fanatic: kapiti and movenpick spring to mind - richer, better flavours - definitely hit the mark.

After this you can go 3 ways:
1) Move up the "poshness" scale for icecream and go for the ludicrously expensive Kohu Road - nice but to my mind not worth the hefty price tag, and Omaha Organic (only had the licquorice - very disappointing).

2) get disappointed at various gelatorias around the place which look like they might have good icecream but turn out to taste like they have been made from premix (thinking here of the place on ponsonby road which has been a real disappointment). Valentino's at the downtown ferry building is OK but wouldnt run a mile...

3) get yourself quick smart to the Takapuna Beach Cafe and try THE BEST ICECREAM IN NZ.
This stuff is so good I am really at a loss for words :


But don't take my word for it - they scooped (sorry!) plenty of prizes at the May 09 icecream awards:

I've only tried the espresso gelato and the coconut/chocolate gelato - both were outstanding. Many other innovative flavours to try like feijoa and yoghurt, guava and liquorice....

Also, in one of those amazing and all too rare foodie "alignment of the planets", this place not only has great icecream it has a top location, right on Takapuna beach. When I went there it was a lovely sunny day and there was quite a queue - good to see as these guys are streets (sorry the puns continue!) ahead of everyone else!


HI - no idea what cool but do know that if I was in Adelaide right now I would be heading for Good Life Pizza - their Taste SA platter for starters had the best tapenade I have ever tried and the pizzas are amazing!

Sydney and Cairns/Port Douglas

For Port Douglas totally recommend either Salsa - great vibe, fantastic seafood jambalya, award winning cuisine and good prices - or "On the Inlet" -great seafood - a bit pricier than Salsa but amazing setting on the water and gets an incredible sunset view.

am very jealous - port douglas is just fantastic!!
ps great coffee to be had at Rehab

Auckland trip notes 2009

Hey Brad
great to hear you went to Zap 4 - its prob my fave thai in auckland after Tom Yum Eden - in fact i would say it depends on the dish you order - some are better at one and some at the other. If you go back the Pad Ped Fish is excellent, as is the whole snapper. However would caution against going to their sister restaurant - Zap 2 on Dominion Road - its not bad, just caters much more to NZ rather than Thai tastes (i asked the staff about it one day and they told me that was their intention - to have one more thai place and one more for NZ tastes - personally I want the real thing!) anyway as I say not bad but just not as "out there" flavour wise.
Bummer that Angies was full - its getting popular these days. Havent tried princeton so will give that a go.

will email you via your blog too about hooking up - good luck with the rest of your eating - sounds like you are putting in a good effort to get through the places!!!

Great coffee in central Auckland at Millers, Cross Street

Not sure how long this place has been around but think its fairly new - a coffee roastery behind K Road on Cross Street called Millers. Only open from 7.30am - about 11am but well worth the trip. FANTASTIC coffee - freshly roasted and expertly made. Love the "no grande, no trim milk" sign thats up - this place is for serious coffee lovers - and while its tres cool, its not too pretentious and the prices are great - $3 for a single shot (regardless of whether you take it straight or as a cappucino etc) $3.50 a double - seriously do not consider this option unless you have nerves of steel/serious coffee habit - the stuff is strong.....Brazil may be gone (RIP) but the KRd area now has a worthy successor.

ps is anyone actually out there?? sometimes I feel like im the only person in auckland who is eating??!!!!!!!

Auckland trip notes 2009

Hiya Bradleun
Shaky Isles is a great cafe - a bit out of the main centre - in Kingsland - but the coffee is superb and there is free Wifi - - plenty of room to spread out there too to work

Otherwise im sure there is a starbucks around - but personally prefer to avoid the big chains in favour of the "small guy" - im sure there would be wifi around CBD but dont know off top of my head which cafes have it.

Thanks for mentioning Tom Yum Eden - always good to plug those guys! Tanpopo and Kiraku are faves - and Im so going to check out Golden BBQ and Pie Mania next....

wanna hook up for a meal sometime? we are right in the dominion road neighbourhood - my husband always keen to meet other foodies - dont want to post personal details here but will try to find a way to post a private message
happy eating!

Pipi, tuatua, and green lipped mussels

HI rschwim - think i mentioned on a previous post and agree with simonfg - go to one of the belgian pubs for green lipped mussels - cheap and delicious!

Delicious Taiwanese food in Auckland at Neighbours Restaurant

Tried somewhere I haven't been before for dinner this evening - Neighbours Restaurant, 8 Lorne Street, Auckland City. I don't know much about Taiwanese food except I think its the home of Bubble Tea and that fried chicken is big. Anyway tried some fried chicken - was absolutely spot on - chicken breast coated in salt and white pepper (maybe some other spices?) and fried - not at all greasy and definitely created a "must go back to have that again" moment! Also had beef noodle soup - fabulous beef brisket cooked with fresh noodles in a rich savoury herby soup with pickled veges - yum! Also on the table tonight was cold cucumber salad - salty but very tasty - and a dry pork mince and tofu noodle dish - again, like the beef dish the noodles were so fresh - and the dish was super tasty.
All this (a LOT of food for 2 people) including tea was a paltry $23NZD - bargain. The place is superclean and just the ticket for a quick bite in town - recommend you check it out.

Also if anyone is a bit of an expert on Taiwanese food - love to know what are the great dishes to try and do you rate this restaurant? or others?
thanks FF

yum cha in Auckland - my fave place - whats yours?

Just went for Yum Cha at Grand Harbour down at the Viaduct:

Not really an expert on Yum Cha - have had it maybe a dozen times but still getting to grips with all the dishes on offer - but this was definitely the best example of Yum Cha dishes I have ever had.

We had:

- crab - softshell fried with chili, salt and pepper
- sui mai - this was by the far the best i have had
- delicous melt in the mouth egg custard tarts
- coconut jelly - a bit tough for my liking (maybe a lot of agar?) but nice flavour
- combination dumpling - this was turnip, peanut and other things (?what) in a soft wrapper
- scallop dumpling - same wrapper as the above
- tripe - not sure what sauce but very delicious and garlicy

and of course tea!
all up for 2 of us was $50NZ and we had way too much food

Interested to hear what other chowhounders think of this place and what your favourite yum cha places and dishes are!!

Best Chinese Dumplings in Auckland New Zealand.

Thanks for the tip and great blog Bradleun! I went to jolin last night and tried the xiao long bao - delicious! have always wanted to try this particular type of dumpling so thanks for letting me know where a good example of it is found. I dont know much about regional chinese cuisine but its quite exciting to think auckland now has chinese restaurants that specialise in their region (shanghai, beijing etc) - there particularly seems to be a lot of places doing Shanghai cuisine. Anyway thats my mission this winter - to learn more and try more regional chinese food!!

Solo female diner in HK, Singapore & KL

great! hope you have a fabulous trip! KL is SUCH a great place to eat!!!

Solo female diner in HK, Singapore & KL

Hi Raconteuse - I just came back from 5 days in KL, 5 days in Bangkok as solo female traveller - you have chosen a great place to go in terms of eating!!
For KL recommendations check my recent trip report:

. I would say to skip Restoran Greenview as its too out of the way - the food is amazing but our taxi driver took us for a ride (literally) and we ended up lost ( I was with my brother at the time but had I been on my own i would probably not have gone).
everywhere else i have listed would be suitable
if you get the chance to do a day trip to Melaka would totally recommend - and you must got to Nyonya Makko in Melaka - the food is great!!
have a wonderful time - read the trip report and any quesitons let me know
(and if all else fails just head for Jalan Alor - a street in central KL near Bukit Bintang monorail station which is crammed with wonderful street stalls selling great food - doesnt matter if you are on your own, very safe and authentic too.

where to find Persian food in Auckland..??

having lived in London for 6 years I also miss great Iranian food! am going to check our the Crystal Cafe you mention Kamran - thanks for that tip.

Avatars11 - most people list their houses to rent or buy on a site called: or so these are good for that
in terms of jobs - is about the best place
other info you could try these websites (not sure how good they are but migtht be helpful

a good place to connect with for you would be the local iranian community here - there is a shop on Dominion Road ( mentioned above in one of the postings)

or also listed here:

they would probably be worth contacting

good luck!

Best Chinese Dumplings in Auckland New Zealand.

sorry wish I knew somewhere to recommend but I dont! However I happened to see last night on my way into town, a place on Symonds Street called something like "Beijing Dumpling House" and thought I would check it out - so once I have will post! (If you want to check it - its about halfway down Symonds Street - same side and quite near Gemmells Shoe repairs which is 191 Symonds Street

breakfast recs auckland

Breakfast options are pretty much limited to European "cafe food" (e.g. eggs, bacon, eggs benedict etc) or Yum Cha at a chinese place (tends to be weekends only as far as I know). Personally i find a lot of the european cafe food very overpriced and "samey" but its probably the most common thing that people go out to eat for breakfast - so if you want to "eat like the locals" when in Rome and all that , then going out for "eggy benny" is probably the thing to do.

there are tons of cafes - many in Ponsonby/Grey Lynn: good examples are:
The Richmond Road Cafe, Grey Lynn :
great cofee here and interesting menu - wins lots of awards...

Dizengoff on Ponsonby Road (has a slight jewish influence with the food so you can get some more interesting stuff like chopped liver etc):

Blake Street again in Ponsonby:

For central city (ie within walking distance of where you are staying) a good bet would be
Ima and Ibn (again Jewish influence

another good option in town would be the Elliot Stables Complex is nice - it has a nice feel with a range of eating options - including a good cafe called Reslau:
not sure what time it opens

For a late breakfast option esp on weekends Yum Cha is fun - there are many good options including:
Grand Harbour (think it opens about 10.30am on weekends:

I really wish some of the asian establishments (noodle bars, korean restuarants, thai places etc) would open for breakfast as they provide - hands down- the best value eating in auckland - but im yet to hear about any open for breakfast (e.g. congee or similiar) - any chowhounders know about any good places that do this?

Kuala Lumpur KL and Malacca / Melaka trip report (long)

ok so you guys are now convincing me another trip to malaysia is in order!!! not sure when but when I DO go I now have a LOT of places I need to check out!! :)

Malaysia: Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol

oh wish id picked up some of that Gula Melaka!! next time!!