Friday, December 12

Food Review: Chop Chop

Cuisine: Asian
Price: $18 for ramen
Location: 140 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland

Ponsonby Central is a one of Auckland's more luxurious hubs, hosting a variety of refined restaurants. Chop Chop is one of those eateries, serving what could be described as Asian-Asian fusion. Seating is on stools only, which with the unassuming menu and staff's cowboy hats, encourages a relaxed atmosphere. There are a variety of Asian flavoured dishes, such as ramen and Korean fried chicken, as well as plenty of alcoholic cocktails. As hinted at before, the food owes its inspiration to no, one Asian cuisine. The roast belly ramen for instance, is a blend of Chinese and Japanese cooking. So while not authentic ramen, the unami rich broth and the incredibly crunch, fatty belly pork create something fantastical. In fact all the ramen dishes are delicious and filling. Other options like the egg net add diversity, being light and refreshing with the Thai style dressing and delicate egg net.

While ordering at Chop Chop the host will most likely push you to order some drinks. The coconut milkshake is sumptuous, with a strong coconut flavour and thick creaminess. Though it doesn't taste much better with the additional shot of bourbon . Many of the cocktails sound tantalising, and are worth a try such as the colourful Black Dragon. The cheesecake was presented beautifully, but tasted rather bland. Don't bother with it. 
Overall the food and drinks make for a stand out, if non traditional Asian meal.

Chop Chop makes for a casual, yet well crafted, mish mash of Asian dining. It’s in no way authentic to any one Asian cuisine, but then Chop Chop doesn't try to be. The cocktails are definitely worth the addition to your meal, with some colourful mixes and flavours. Lovely spot for lunch!


Friday, December 5

Food Review: Rice Noodle Lover

Cuisine: Chinese/Rice Noodle
Price: $6-9 a dish
Location: 350 Queen Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland
Website: NA

A friend had mentioned a tasty place serving spicy Chinese noodles “opposite the Civic”. Curiously, despite walking up Queen Street several times a week, I had missed it every time. It was only after a careful combing that I found this almost literal hole in the wall; the eatery being a counter scarcely bigger than a window. How the poor chef copes cooking in her hot cubby hole all day, I don’t know!

The simple menu is almost entirely rice noodle based (hence the name), which is great for gluten free eaters and not so great for those that don’t like rice noodles. Though the rice noodles are always the bulk of the dish, there is enough variety that each option is unique. The dishes are best enjoyed spicy, with a medium heat my ideal level. Chilli daredevils will find joy in anything above medium, which is where I’d undoubtedly start to cry. So far the beef rice noodle (served in soup) is my favourite, the succulent beef and oily soup leaving me very satisfied. Unfortunately the ‘restaurant’ is take away only, but this is partially pardoned the absurdly good prices. $6 for fulfilling meal? I could cry!

Great spicy rice noodle dishes, great price, shame that there isn’t more choice or tables to sit. But then, you can’t have it all!