There are few foods as delicious as dumplings. These tasty little morsels are an ever-reliable option for nights you’re craving a little comfort, and from time to time, can even deliver a more elevated experience (depending on where you go). But recently, we’ve discovered dumplings as we’ve never seen them before, with new Ponsonby opening Watda Dumplings offering a concept set to take Auckland by storm.
Armed with the goal of making dumplings that stand out and revamping the traditional form, the team from Gaja have opened the doors to Watda Dumplings today — a street food concept located in Ponsonby Central that uses dumplings as the base for a range of ‘loaded’ dishes, in which tasty morsels are packed with delicious fillings and finished with utterly indulgent toppings.
Owner TJ Pak tells me that the concept was inspired by cheap eats — taking the ultimate Korean street food (dumplings) and marrying it with other iconic grab-and-go dishes. As such, Watda offers a totally unique approach, where the flavours and elements of cheeseburgers, burritos, Philly cheese steaks and prawn sushi collide, all anchored by the humble dumpling. “Our first brainchild was the Cheeseburger Dumpling; two words we didn’t think had ever been paired before,” Pak admits. This set the tone for what would become Watda’s chaotic yet energised menu.
The dishes themselves verge almost on outrageous (read: oreo dumplings for dessert), but they’re as delicious as we’ve come to expect from these culinary masterminds. “While Gaja focuses on sharing Korean flavours and dining culture, Watda is a far more fun and creative take on street food,” Pak tells me. “We’re keeping it cheerful and cheap for group sessions in Ponsonby’s new laneway.”
For a street-food focused outpost, a lot of care and consideration has gone into the design of the space too. It’s the perfect middle ground of new and old, clean and cosy. “Once we had the keys and shared our first few beers in our empty shop, without any hesitation, I called Buster from Wonder Group to help bring our vision for the atmosphere to life,” Pak says. The end result is a venue that allows the food to draw you in, but is comfortable, inviting and relaxed, the perfect place to drop into for an easy, delicious bite and a drink (or two) with friends.
Tuesday — Thursday, 11.30am until 9.30pm.
Friday, 11.30am until 10.30pm.
Saturday, 11am until 10.30pm.
Sunday, 11am until 9.30pm.
Shop 14, Ponsonby Central,
4 Brown Street, Ponsonby