Hankering for hand-pulled noodles? Jonesing for some juicy dumplings? Here in Auckland, a world-class Chinese food scene awaits to satisfy any and all cravings. Spanning a vast range of sub-cuisines, these eateries offer a delicious portal to a plethora of China’s regions and the delicious dishes that distinguish them. From hidden gems to beloved haunts, these are the best Chinese eateries in Auckland (in no particular order).
When it comes to Auckland’s yum cha scene, Viaduct Harbour’s Grand Harbour is an institution that has been a firm favourite among our Chinese community for two decades. It has cultivated a loyal following of customers and a strong reputation for being home to some of the best dim sums in town, with over 80 different varieties to choose from. For more delicious yum cha inspiration, discover our definitive guide to the best in town.
Wang Wang Spring Pancake
This place is one of Dominion Road’s hidden gems and one that hasn’t failed us yet. Wang Wang Spring Pancake specialises in pancake wraps, similar to the ones used for Peking duck. But here, diners are given the freedom to order whatever meats and vegetables they want to fill their pancakes with. We recommend the cumin lamb and shredded potato as well as the chicken and corn dumplings.
Empress Garden Chinese Restaurant
Since we’re on the topic of Peking duck, we couldn’t forget to mention Empress Garden. There’s no place that serves this delicacy quite like the Herne Bay favourite, starting from the heavenly crispy skin to the succulent, rich and fatty duck meat. The Yeung Chow fried rice is another Empress Garden staple that sees a medley of pork and shrimp woven into a bed of deliciously fluffy rice.
Xi’An Food Bar
You have hand-pulled noodles and then you have Xi’An Food Bar’s hand-pulled noodles. Boasting a texture that’s chewier and bouncier than any other noodles we have ever come across, Xi’An is our go-to spot when we’re craving a bowl of comfort. The hand-pulled noodles with Xi-An style braised pork, otherwise known as the number 37, sees saucy, spicy pork alongside thick noodles, a match made in heaven.
GoGo Music Cafe
Renowned for its spicy chicken casserole (Xinjiang Style Chicken) with hand-pulled noodles, served as a portion size that is large enough to feed a village, GoGo Music Cafe makes for a perfect dinner spot for a large group. Not to mention, the skewers go down an absolute treat with a bottle of refreshing Tsingtao beer.
Shaolin Kung Fu Noodle House
Although Shaolin Kung Fu gained its popularity for its noodles and dumplings which are undoubtedly delicious, it’s the sautéed eggplant in spicy garlic that has us returning time and time again. The eggplant is so tender that it melts in the mouth and is glazed in a delectable sticky sauce that boasts rich notes of garlic and a subtle sweetness that tastes even better when mixed into a bowl of fluffy steamed rice.
Tianze Dumpling House
Tucked in a small pocket of shops at the far end of Sandringham Road, Tianze might be no-frills but we come back time and time again for its food. Go with a group, so you can try the mapo tofu, green beans (both available vegetarian on request), fried dumplings, cucumber salad, and crispy fried chicken in hot chilli sauce. Another favourite if you’re feeling more adventurous is the jellyfish and Chinese cabbage salad — a deliciously cooling and vinegary contrast to any hotter, saltier dishes.
Taking dan dan noodles to brand new heights is the North Shore’s Basu Lounge. What makes Basu’s dan dan noodles so special is the inclusion of thick and creamy peanut sauce which mixes into the chilli and lends a harmonious balance to the spice. Dumplings are also a speciality of Basu’s.
You can’t call yourself an Aucklander if you haven’t been to a BYO at Kingsland’s Canton Cafe. The ambience is fun and lively and most importantly, the food is on point. Showcasing a huge variety of meat, seafood, vegetables, rice and noodles, there’s something for everyone at Canton, but make sure to order the iconic black chilli prawns.
Home to the sauciest, most scrumptious BBQ pork bun in the city, Sunny Town could not go unmentioned in this list. You can see the chefs kneading and rolling the dough for the buns and their efforts sure do translate in flavour. Steamed only seconds before arriving at your table, although it’s hard to refrain, we suggest you take it slow to avoid any mouth burns from the juicy pork filling.
The boneless chilli chicken from Spicy House is arguably the most addictive dish on our dining scene. The lightly battered pieces of tender chicken are seasoned with a special mixture of different spices, as well as a light touch of sugar that makes the palate dance from sweet and savoury and keeps you going back for more.
Recently opened by the team behind Cafe Hanoi in the old 1885 Basement, Ghost Street has fast become a firm favourite for its menu of rustic, seasonal Chinese dishes from throughout the country, with a particular emphasis on those from the western cities of Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, and Xi’an. Following Krishna Botica and Tony McGeorge’s formula of combining Asian cuisine with a Western-style beverage offering, Ghost Street is an elevated yet approachable eatery that we can’t get enough of.
The brainchild of well-known chef Nic Watt, Huami is SkyCity’s sophisticated Chinese restaurant that bridges the traditional and the modern. Go with the family for one of the best yum cha offerings in town, or take advantage of Huami’s a la carte menu for lunch or dinner.
With 45 years of experience up their sleeve, Newmarket stalwart Pearl Garden never fails to deliver the goods. While you can count on the prawn toast, prawn and chive dumplings and steamed pork buns to satisfy your savoury cravings, it’s the golden custard buns that have been crowned Pearl Garden’s must-try dish. Gooey yet not overly sweet, the custard filling is sure to have you coming back for more.