It’s 6pm, you’re in need of some carbs after a long day of work and you’re looking for somewhere cheap and cheerful to go with friends. Look no further than some delicious steamed or fried bundles of joy, otherwise known as dumplings. Fortunately, these tasty morsels can be found throughout Auckland and won’t break the bank. Here are our top five go-to spots for the best dumplings Auckland has to offer.
Barilla is an Auckland institution and the holy grail of dumplings, it’s a rite of passage for any Aucklander. But don’t be fooled, you wouldn’t go to Barilla for the stellar atmosphere or the cheery customer service. They have one thing on their mind, make good dumplings. With all your usual offerings, pork and chive, pork and prawn, beef, chicken, vego etc. you’ll want to go with a few mates so you can try one of everything. A plate of 20 will cost you a maximum of $15 and will leave you feeling like you could roll down the road to your car. And don’t worry if you can’t get a table, Barilla has two restaurants within walking distance of each other on Dominion Road. Oh, and did we mention it’s BYO?
XuXu Dumpling Bar
XuXu is the perfect spot to take your date for a trendy night out. The glitter of Britomart’s festoon lights and the neon of XuXu makes for an atmospheric and romantic setting. The food isn’t half bad either! XuXu has a delicious and unique take on the classic dumpling, including flavours such as; fish, sambal and coconut, and spinach and water chestnuts. Our personal fave is the Banoffee Pie dessert dumpling. A classic dumpling outer filled with banana and gooey salted caramel. But watch out, this one has a tendency to shoot out molten caramel if you try and bite it in half. $12 for half a dozen dumplings, this is a great option to put a sweet end to your evening’s cocktails and dinner.
China Yum Char
China Yum Char is a great spot for a speedy dinner before heading to a concert at Spark Arena. If you know what you want, you’re in and out before you even have time to digest. Their dumplings are freshly made and sure to satisfy your cravings. Pair the dumplings with green beans for a ‘balanced’ meal. If you’re needing to tame that sweet tooth, give the green tea pudding with coconut milk a go. With loads of space for big groups, China Yum Char is great for those long-overdue catch-ups.
Sumthin Dumplin is a modern take on the classic Shanghainese dumpling. They’re open for lunch and dinner and are always keen to please. Their menu is short and straight to the point. They offer a selection of dumplings, from your OG (actually called The OG) with pork and cabbage, to something a little special, the Great White; complete with Chicken breast, white mushroom, shitake mushroom, and a wholemeal wrap. Sumthin Dumplin is perfect for an affordable lunch or a satisfying late-night snack.
Auckland Night Markets
If you haven't already, make sure you schedule a visit to the Auckland Night Markets, on seven days a week. Spots across Auckland transform after hours to a culinary experience like no other. The food is predominantly Asian; Chinese, Thai, Filipino, and Japanese. There are quite a few stalls which offer dumplings en masse. Just $5 for a decent serving of steamed or fried dumplings in classic pork, chicken, or vege. A great spot to take friends visiting any night of the week, although make sure you have cash, pockets, and are not afraid of crowds.