Bubble Tea Showdown: Looking for that good good pearl

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”

Swag kebabs, Kai moana, and Deep-fried ice cream: Hamilton Night Market, Part 2

Check out Part 1 here, where we sample the wares at the Night Market on Friday night at The Base.

Saturday, 4:35pm

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.

4:40pm

Ye-Gon finds a nice cookbook at Paper Plus.

4:42pm

Ye-Gon remembers he doesn’t like paying more than $20 on a book.

4:55pm

[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”

Pork buns, Nostalgia hot dogs, and Stir-fried ice cream: Hamilton Night Market, Part 1

Friday, 8:10pm

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.

8:40pm

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”

Dumpling Showdown: Dumpling House vs Nancy’s

Everybody was jiaozi fighting

Ye-Gon: Dumplings are great. They’re fun to look at. They’re fun to eat. They’re even fun to say. Try it. Dumplings. Dummmmplingggs.

While to us it’s often seen as a treat or an entrée item at a Chinese restaurant, dumplings remain a significant side-staple in many parts of China, where these morsels in all kinds of shapes and sizes are sold on the street as on-the-go meals for passers-by. And when it comes to dumplings in Hamilton, two spots stand out with their claim to hand-made dumpling supremacy. In the blue corner, hailing from the Claudelands roundabout, the Dumpling House, and in the red corner, nestled within the hustle and bustle of Victoria Street, Nancy’s Dumplings & Buns. So, how do they stack up? Continue reading “Dumpling Showdown: Dumpling House vs Nancy’s”

Malaysian Takeaway at Red Pot Kitchen

You were the chosen one

Ye-Gon: It’s always nice to see a new place bring something different to the table, and few things could get me as excited as the idea of having a Malaysian joint within minutes of my house. Malaysian food is probably not the most familiar cuisine to most people; there’s Josh Emett’s spot down Sapper Moore-Jones Place, but it’s not exactly the most accessible or affordable affair. Malaysian food is a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian culture, and it’s an eclectic and harmonious mix that celebrates a rich tapestry of influences.

The Red Pot Kitchen has been open for about a month by the time my sister and I tried the place out for lunch. The warmers were nearly empty, save for the fried rice and noodles, plus some siew pao and curry puffs. A sign indicated that rendang, curry and all the good stuff will be served from 4pm, which really makes me wonder what the reasoning behind opening from 11am is at all. So, it’ll be two visits to this place to try out their meatier affairs as well. Continue reading “Malaysian Takeaway at Red Pot Kitchen”