There’s something about a piping hot bowl of noodle soup or a plate of freshly steamed dumplings that makes my soul smile. Asian eats are the ultimate comfort for me and living in Auckland we’re lucky to have a wealth of authentic, delicious options on our doorstep. Not only that, but many of the best places also happen to be cheap as hell. Here’s our top five eateries that always deliver (unfortunately not literally) and won’t break the bank.

 

Canton Cafe – Kingsland

This is a fantastic choice for a big rowdy BYO. Pretty much anything goes in terms of what you can bring – seriously, once we saw some guys pushing a keg upstairs to their function room. The service is kind of terrible but that’s all part of the charm and the food is actually some of the best Chinese you’ll ever taste. Big shout out to their salt and pepper pork which we can never go past. They also do really nice sweet and sour (which usually I don’t even like) and delicious garlicky greens. It’s mandatory to go in a big group so you can take full advantage of the lazy susans and order a range of dishes. We were craving Canton one sunday but couldn’t decide on just one dish to share so ended up with three, a hefty bill and a tonne of doggy bags… not the worst result really.

Canton Cafe, Kingsland, Auckland

 

Glenfield Night Market 

I’m sure all of the Auckland night markets are delicious, this just happens to be the one closest to us which is both a very very good thing but also a very very dangerous thing. Let’s just say our waistlines are lucky that it’s only on Sundays. Please trust me when I say that you need to go hungry (and I’m talking borderline hangry) as you’re going to need to try lots of stuff. Best way to approach it is to do a wander around the whole place first perhaps grabbing a small snack to tide you over while you do so. Then make your choices wisely as they don’t do things by halves here. On our first visit we grabbed a pork bun as our entree but it was HUGE so had to split it. Thankfully we could still fit in an Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) because they are insanely good here. I also managed to squeeze in some black bean chicken and a real fruit icecream for dessert (I maintain humans have separate dessert stomachs). You won’t find a cheaper (or larger) pork bun in town.

Auckland's Glenfield Night Market

 

Hansan Wairau Park

We discovered this unassuming place thanks to a magical card Tom had years ago that got us free movies at Hoyts (he talked on the radio so in those days you got lots of great perks). The closest Hoyts to us was Wairau park and being desperately hungry before a film once we decided to try our luck with this Vietnamese place. Now we go back whenever we’re in the area – which is quite often given that it’s close to Bunnings. My fave is their wonton noodle soup but they also do great lemongrass chicken and super authentic bun thit nuong – both favourites from our time spent living in Vietnam. There’s a slightly swankier branch in Newmarket that was just as good… and complete with a waterfall.

Hansen Noodle Soup

 

Food City Northcote

This is like the North shore’s answer to Ponsonby Food Court. Sure the aesthetics aren’t as nice and there’s no bar in the middle but the food is still very tasty and there’s a decent amount of options to choose from. My go to is a Thai Panang curry at PFC and the one I had here was just as delicious. Unfortunately a few of the options weren’t open when we went so we’ll just have to go back – what a shame. Also bonus points for the great sign that screams ‘NEVER COOK AGAIN!’ out the front. Given this is minutes from our house and the grub is dirt cheap it’s certainly tempting…

Food City Northcote

 

New Flavour Balmoral 

Everyone knows that the dumpling scene on Dominion Road is off the chain but this place has got to be one of the most hyped. There’s frequently a long queue out the door clambering for a plate of the steamed (or fried) little parcels of goodness. We stopped in here on the way to the airport to see what the fuss was about and weren’t let down. It’s also incredible value for money with a plate of 20 dumplings setting you back around $11.

New Flavour Dumplings