Korean cuisine is sweeping the nation–Well, maybe not quite, but it’s a booming Auckland favourite with new places popping up every day. We thought we’d counteract the overwhelmingness of having to pick a spot for dinner by curating a small and select list of places we know are worth your money and time. Here are the top 5 cheap and cheerful Korean spots you can count on–Tried and tested by the Dish Cult team personally.
Cheap, cheerful, and most importantly tasty–BannSang is no-frills Korean done right. It only takes one look past the unassuming entrance to see that BannSang is almost always full of people–and there’s not a much better sign than that. Don’t let the simple wood tables and plain décor fool you, whether it’s a traditional kimchi pajeon (Korean pancake), bulgogi or spicy squid, there’s nothing basic about the flavours here! With extremely fast service, this is the perfect lunch-spot on the go.
Kang Nam Station
When the foot-traffic on lower Queen St gets too much to handle, head a little further up to the quieter side of the main street until you hit the striking yellow train carriage on the corner of Mayoral Drive. Kang Nam Station, appropriately named considering the venue, is your new late-night Korean joint. Grab a menu and take a seat out in the dining area before perusing the menu. Our top picks are the Korean BBQ beef, (or the Korean BBQ pork if you’re after a kick) and the dumpling soup, complete with rice cakes.
A fun playful take on Korean food, Tiger Burger gets in on the gourmet burger trend but makes it their own. Moving into their grown-up location in the classic Grey Lynn shops, Tiger Burger originally started as a food stall fusing Korean flavours with burger-joint fare. You’ll find creative menu items such as the Galbi burger (Korean style Taupo beef-rib burger with rice vinegar pickles) and K-fries (with special kimcheese sauce and kimchi) with the best part being Tiger Burger’s pledge to ethical meat, sustainable packaging, and local ingredients.
One of Auckland’s most famous and long-standing Korean restaurants, Pocha’s namesake refers to the small tented stalls that sell off street-food in the streets of Seoul. Gigantic in size and located in Chancery Square–Whether it’s delicious Korean cuisine or a snapshot of Korean bar culture right here in Auckland Pocha has got you covered. Be warned, Pocha’s serving sizes are huge and best shared with friends. You’ll find classics such as bulgogi, kimchi pancakes and pan-fried pork belly - oh and did we mention it’s open until 3am? So grab a bottle of soju on the side and settle in.
Near and dear to many uni student’s hearts is No. 1 Pancake, a humble small shopfront located on the corner of Lorne Street and Wellesley Street. Korean pancakes are the name of the game here, choose between crispy & savoury or sweet & fluffy pancakes packed with an array of delicious fillings. Easily located by the large queues outside its door, No. 1 Pancake makes the perfect snack any time of the day. Whether you go for a classic such as the kimchi and cheese or satiate that sweet-tooth with the cinnamon and brown sugar–You’ll undoubtedly find yourself heading back for more.