Food Cravings: Wellington Edition

Summer in Aotearoa, Winter in China…

It’s around this time each year, Kiwese gets homesick for the beach, friends and whanau, and home food…

Don’t get me wrong, I love the food in Chengdu. But sometimes, it’s like faaa I’d smash a potato top pie…

From what I’ve heard, the food landscape of Wellington has changed a lot over the past year or so. There’s a big Mexican presence in town now? And like, a New York café or something? Also the pizza at Goose Shack in Berhampore sounds legit.

Without further ado, in perhaps the most futile article ever published on this website, here is a list of shit I wanna eat in Welly.

KC Cafe, Courtenay Place

Hong Kong style faux-leather booths, iron woks and screaming Cantonese orders, free lemon water – fuck yeah, KCs.

“This is HANDS DOWN my favourite restaurant in Wellington,” I will pronounce to any given dining companion, slamming my hands on the table for added emphasis and neatly laying the groundwork for mooting an ordered ratio of 1:2 dishes per person.

Beef brisket clay pot, my one true love. Also go in for BBQ pork buns, salt pepper prawns, wonton noodle soup, grilled dumplings, roast duck if we being fancy, pork congee, spicy tofu, et al. As with every successful eatery, there’s a take-no-prisoners matriarch running the till who does not have time for your indecision.

This place rocks late-nights harder than anywhere else on Courtenay Place – the kitchen pumps till the early hours seven days a week. The best nights in town either begin, end, or simply take place at KCs.

The Lotus, Mount Victoria

Banh Xeo – Saigon Crispy Rice Crepe. Get in my mouth. Chicken curry also off the chain at this place – has cherry tomatoes in.

KK Malaysia, Ghuznee Street

KK all dae. Would happily demolish anything on the menu. Namely:

– Deep Fried Tofu (Vegetarian) Deep fried tofu served with beansprouts, cucumbers and carrots sprinkled with peanuts and sweet chilli sauce. (not always available, but so good when it is.)
– Mee Goreng Stir fried egg noodles flavoured with Malaysian spices. Choice of chicken or seafood (get mixed.)
– Sin Chew Mee Hoon Stir fried rice noodles with chicken, shrimps, cabbages, carrots, tomatoes and onions (Hoon-ed many of these.)

KK by night.

KK by night.

When KK’s got a long wait and your mate suggests Satay Kingdom:

The Regal, Courtenay Place
(HK/Canton Yum Cha)

If you ask a friend to yum cha and they say “which one?” you probably need to find better friends. The Regal is law.

Even though I’m in China, I’m 1000s of kilometres from the yum cha vibes of HK. Cravings for the joy of steamed dumplings that I don’t even know the Cantonese name of, that salty soy sauce, the sweet, puffy cloud aura of light embodied within the Coconut Jellies.

Miss the days of hogging out at The Regal and remaining in tea-drinking whale state until they start vacuuming around your feet.

Fidel’s, Cuba Street

Staple Wellington.

My dreams of a Vege Feast with poached eggs and multigrain toast were crushed last time I was in Welly after discovering it had been AXED FROM THE MENU?? Even so, I still crave it and pray for its descent from the heavens to join us mortal beings once more.

Also tautoko the Eggs Benedict, evening pizza/beer deal, wedges with sour cream, chocolate brownies and vibes. Also, buying a $3.50 tea and hogging a table for hours: Since Forever.

You’ll find me out back.

Fidel's on a sunny day.

Sushi B, Willis Street

I like a da sushi wiiiiith: slabs of salmon and avocado, chicken, green seaweed stuff, and those fat, long ones with salmon and sweet sauce on top that they blast with a flamethrower (can you tell I’m really savvy with Japanese culinary terms?)

Purists and actual Japanese people may call Sushi B an abomination to the art of Japanese cuisine, but back in my iSentia days I’d be queuing up for that half price goodness on a regular basis.

Shout out for not being stingy with the ginger, pile that shit up.

It's amazing what you can find in your photo harddrive...

It’s amazing what photos can be found on old harddrives…

Hobart Takeaways, Miramar
(Chinese/Fish and Chips)

Hand cut chips, massive menu, sunbaked leather chairs outside – this is home. My go to is x1 scoop of chips w/ chicken salt, x1 egg burger, x1 extra thick strawberry milkshake and maybe a deep fried Moro Bar depending on how hungus I’m feeling.

Ivan’s whanau have been an extension of my whanau for as long as I can remember. They are a Miramar institution – others have come and gone but Hobart have stayed in the game for over 30 years. They still have an epic old-school till with hammer keys.

Paper bag option for chips, delivery to your car, like five potato fritters for the price of one, the friendly ding of the slide door bell – I’m getting all weepy inside just thinking about it. A+ Hobart, love ya.

Got this pic from a review on Zomato, omg the other pic of the chairs inside, SO NOSTALGIC!!
Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.46.01 pm

Fisherman’s Plate, Bond Street
(Vietnamese/Fish and Chips)

Yo chicken pad thai. Yo beef pho. Yo you can even get a scoop of chips with that. And they even have the Viggo Mortensen tick of approval. If it’s good enough for the King of Gondor, it’s good enough for us mere plebs.

Planet Spice + Curry Heaven, Newtown

Newtowners tend to side with either Team PS or Team CH. I can’t decide. Planet Spice have real buzzy mural on the wall of some human chilis dining on the rings of Saturn. Curry Heaven have cute photo display starring their ‘Heavenly Customers.’ I like. Yum as.

Would kill for a Chicken Jalfrezi with some garlic naan right now.

Other shit I want:

  • Avocado avocado avocado
  • Potato top pie did I say that already
  • Vogel’s with Marmite and avocado
  • Salt and vinegar chips
  • Six pack of mock cream buns
  • Apricots
  • Rotisserie chicken and sandwich stuff from the supermarket
  • Orange juice with the pulp
  • A slice or five of berry cheesecake from Espressoholic
  • TBH a sausage sizzle sausage with onions and tomato sauce
  • Chocolate milk
  • Falafel from Phoenician on Cuba

COFFEE. GAHHHHHHH. LONG BLACK. From any of these cafés, in no particular order:

  • Raglan Roast
  • Duke Carvell’s
  • Memphis Belle
  • Velox
  • Deluxe
  • People’s Newtown
  • Baobab
  • Milk Crate
  • Quilters

Appreciate your Welly. Welly is good. I should be back next summer. Let’s eat, drink and be merry!