Left: Heihei Burger Right: Hothot Burger

Meet Hei Hei, the delicious new fried chicken spot from the team behind Passa Passa

“Two Italians doing fried chicken might sound kind of weird,” Antonio Suelzu tells me of his new venture, Hei Hei. “We just want to be loyal to the product. We’re focussing on all the good things about food — using the right product in a simple way.”

With that philosophy in mind, Suelzu and his friend Daniele Pinto (who you may know from his other blossoming venture, Passa Passa) have spent quite some time envisioning what they wanted their new fried-chicken shop, Hei Hei, to be. And, through their wide net of hospitality connections, they caught wind of a new, elevated food court opening in Papakura, an area they were excited to venture into because of its rapidly-growing community. Suelzu tells me that Papakura’s population has grown 47 percent in the last three years, with 70,000 people now calling the South Auckland suburb home.

Hei Hei Fried Chicken
Left: Kura Burger. Right: Fried Chicken Wings.

Opening today, Hei Hei is the culmination of the duo’s vision. A place where the offering is simple but undeniably delicious — and fried chicken informs every meal. Hot chicken wings and southern-style sides join a concise burger menu. Suelzu suggests that the Kura is poised to be a favourite among locals, given its namesake, where a southern fried chicken thigh is smothered in Habanero hot honey and mayo and topped with pickles. Diners are given autonomy too, where one can choose just how hot their chicken comes, from ‘naked’, for those who are a little timid when it comes to spice, all the way through to ‘flaming hot’, for which little explanation is needed.

Hei Hei’s sides menu offers plenty of fries alongside a seriously indulgent mac and cheese made with aged cheddar, edam and parmesan. I suggested that some in their native Italy might consider the latter offering blasphemous, but the chef disagreed. “I mean, we’re Italians; we love pasta and cheese,” he laughs. 

Hei Hei will eventually be joined at the new locale by six other food vendors and crowd-favourite The Beer Spot nearby. For now, the destination will be open six days a week, for lunch and dinner (although tonight’s service starts at 4pm), but that will likely expand with popularity. With the rain poised to settle in for the weekend, a trip south of the city should absolutely be on your agenda — and this new spot is sure to satisfy any and all comfort-food cravings. 

Opening Hours:
Tuesday — Sunday, 12pm until 9pm

Hei Hei

20 Broadway,
Papakura, South Auckland

www.instagram.com/hei.hei.nz

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