Ye-Gon: Not many people around these neck of the woods might know what a bubble tea is. Imagine tea, but sweet, and with a butt ton of milk and often (not always) fruit or chocolate flavours, and with little soft, super chewy balls of tapioca. Is it a drink? Is it a dessert? Is it a snack? My friend, it is all of those, and none of those; but it’s addictive.
My sister can also attest to the fact that it forms the main staple of many a university students in Auckland, including herself, where you’ll find a Chatime or a Gong Cha at nearly every street corner in the CBD. So with an expert in tow, I set out to find the best bubble tea in Hamilton, comparing the concoctions of Snowtown, Mr Panda, and Mr D’s. We ordered the identical plain ol’ milk tea from each of the places, brought them home, and tried all three in complete awkward silence. So in no particular order, here’s what we found. Continue reading “Bubble Tea Showdown: Looking for that good good pearl”
The fight for fast food burger supremacy is a fierce one. We’ve got BK, Maccas, Wendy, Carl and Sanders battling it out on our turf, along with Burgerfuel, Eat Burger and Goneburger dishing up three very different renditions in the made-to-order fast-casual space. Burger Wisconsin is a precariously missing player here; a homegrown chain of grills with history spanning almost 30 years, they claim to be the first burger kitchen to serve bacon and avocado in a sandwich, which is no small claim. They have branches and franchises located in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, The Bay, The Other Bay, and Gisborne, (Yeah, Gisborne,) but it’s been many a years since they’ve closed down in the City of the Future, long before I ever moved here, and no news on if or when it will be returning.
So on our recent excursion to Auckland, we decided to have a crack at their burgers and see if it’s all the hype is real, and whether we need to start stopping people on the street to gather signatures for a petition to bring back a BW to Hamilton. Continue reading “Burger Wisconsin: From Auckland With Love, Part 2”
Check out Part 1 here, where we sample the wares at the Night Market on Friday night at The Base.
Ye-Gon’s supposed to meet Sam and Francis at the Night Market in an hour. He arrives in town way too early. The three of them are going to a fancy orchestra concert because, as previously noted, they’re a bunch of clarinet nerds. Ye-Gon realises he’s way overdressed for the night market in his suit and tie.
Ye-Gon finds a nice cookbook at Paper Plus.
Ye-Gon remembers he doesn’t like paying more than $20 on a book.
[New message from Ye-Gon] “I’m in town now, just a heads up” Continue reading “Swag kebabs, Kai moana, and Deep-fried ice cream: Hamilton Night Market, Part 2”
Band rehearsal just finished, and the four clarinet nerds are aimless as to where to go for their weekly dining ritual. Larissa doesn’t want tapas. Ye-Gon doesn’t feel like anything fancy. Sam unsuccessfully suggests Italian. Francis has a crisis of faith as to whether jellyfish is vegetarian or not. They decide to check out the new night market that’s open on Fridays at The Base. After a long consultation process, they eventually agree on who’s driving.
They arrive at The Base. Ye-Gon takes the wrong turn more than once before finally settling on a parking spot. They spend an embarrassing amount of time working out the logistics of withdrawing money from an ATM and assembling at an agreed spot. They notice the set-up is smaller than the Saturday market that opens under K-Mart, and that it’s exclusively food – no knock-off label wholesalers or Jehovah’s Witnesses around. It’s also uncovered, which doesn’t concern them just yet. The place isn’t too quiet, but at the same time there won’t be a problem finding an empty table and seating, unlike the Saturday gigs. Continue reading “Pork buns, Nostalgia hot dogs, and Stir-fried ice cream: Hamilton Night Market, Part 1”
Ye-Gon: They’re on the cheap side, and especially on busy nights, the food is hot and fresh. I’ve never gotten sick after eating there. Close your eyes, imagine lots of typical Chinese food, then open your eyes. Congratulations, you’ve just accurately simulated the experience at the Golden Dragon. The end.
Okay, that’s not really fair. There’s a few things to say about the place, which has been there for at least a decade – I forget the exact details, and it probably doesn’t matter. This isn’t the sort of place where history and tradition are of particular concern for its core audience. Continue reading “Ye-Gon struggles to write something interesting about the Golden Dragon”
Mexican food is hitting the big stage in New Zealand. Tacos are hotly gaining on burgers and pizzas in terms of its appearances on bar menus, and places like Mexicali and Mad Mex are bringing the fight to shopping mall foodcourts throughout the country. So it takes a bit of courage for a place like Fonda Latina to, A, open up shop in the old spot that Embargo occupied for many a years in Garden Place, and B, set up a South American/Latin American eatery without putting any of the usual Mexican dealios on the menu. Not trying to be insensitive, but this is just the reality for eateries that bravely try to introduce people to something new. Ten years ago, I worked in a Japanese restaurant, and we had at least one person a week who came in, studied the menu for ten minutes, and asked me if we serve fried rice and sweet and sour pork.
So no, you won’t find carnitas on a wheat tortilla. Or burritos served with a scoop of guac on the side. Or guac, period. What you will find is menu filled with various permutations of arepas, masa, plantain and grilled meat. Continue reading “South American fare at Fonda Latina”
Ye-Gon: I love me some brunch – or I should say, I love the idea of brunch. What I romanticise as a feast of tantalising flavours to wake up the senses, taking in the late morning sun in plushy outdoor couches, in the presence of friends looking sharp and bantering even sharper, topped up with excellent coffee, usually turns out to be a choice between the same old fry-up or a boring muesli that more resembles breakfast for my cockatiels, on uncomfortable furniture under harsh indoor lighting, with people who are half-asleep, hungover, or both. (Usually the coffee’s still okay, though.) Sleepy people and drunk people I can’t change, but what I do have a say on is the venue and the food they serve. So, how does The District, a Te Rapa local favourite, fare?
While the cafe is tucked away from the main stretch of Te Rapa and the only visible signpost shares real estate on a tall mall-type sign with its co-tenants, it seems to enjoy a fair bit of foot traffic, or at least a general awareness amongst the public, thanks to the 24-hour gym that lives in the same building. The exterior is best described as subdued but classy and contemporary, and it’s a look that mostly carries indoors past the really heavy door which I remarked upon both entering and exiting. Some would consider dark and dingy, but I think it carries a nice sense of style, if perhaps a little bland. The full service bar behind the counter is a nice splash of busy colours, although predictably it wasn’t in much use at 10am in the morning. Continue reading “Brunch at The District”