While Korean food may not be on your radar, it totally should be. If you love big, bold flavours, an abundance of free side-dishes and are all about spice, then you’re going to fall in love with Korean cuisine. If you’re one of the lucky ones who have already discovered the deliciousness that is Korean food (yes, there is more than just KBBQ, people!) then you’re going to love these places; they’re the best of the best Korean food Auckland has to offer.
Red PigAuckland City
Want to try something different for lunch? Not sure where to go? Red Pig is the answer. Make sure you give yourself some time to look over the menu—the lunch menu is endless. From soups and stir-fries to noodles and pork or beef barbeque, there’s something for everyone. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try some SOJU (Korean alcoholic drink made from rice or sweet potatoes). If that’s not your thing, there’s also wine and beer too!
Tiger BurgerGrey Lynn
Get your Instagram at the ready! Korean cuisine and Western street food have had a baby: Tiger Burger. Originating as a food truck, but now a permanent eatery in Grey Lynn, this is Korean fusion at its finest. Check out their kimcheese beef burger stuffed with house made kimchi and their ‘seoulful’ bites of KFC (that’s Korean fried chicken) with yang nyum sauce. Rest assured, they have plenty of vegan and gluten-free options too. As if that wasn’t enough, the aesthetics are on point, giving you enough Instas for a week.
What happens when you take the flavours of Korea and serve ‘em like a Mexican? Coreano is born! Take taco Tuesdays to the next level with the Coreano’s much-loved food truck. Their taco creations include galbi (honey soy beef), JB (Korean spicy pork) and carnitas (Mexican pulled pork). No visit is complete without a serve of their signature kimchi fries smothered in sautéed kimchi, melted cheese and salsa—yum!
Hansik RestaurantFreemans Bay
For a modern take on Korean cuisine, look no further than Victoria Park’s Hansik. Feast on the likes of sashimi, bibimbap, raw beef carpaccio and kimchi wagyu dumplings. Take out the whole squad by booking a private dining table or have a casual night out on the outdoor deck. Cheeky cocktails and a classic Korean barbecue on offer, this spot is the perfect balance of dinner and drinks.
If you’re feeling extra hungry, BannSang is the place to be. With generous portions, four side dishes and a bowl of rice served with nearly every order, it will leave you feeling more than satisfied. The dweji bulgogi (traditional marinated pork) and bossam (boiled and sliced pork belly with oyster-radish kimchi) are great for first-timers to indulge in.
The Kimchi Project
Another eatery on the Korean-fusion bandwagon is Auckland newcomer The Kimchi Project. Paying homage to their national cuisine, husband-wife duo Ben and Kyung Huh are taking things to a whole new level. For brekkie and brunch you’ll discover chicken and prawn dumplings, prawn congee and kimchi fried rice with pork belly. And, come dinner time, you can feast on sweet and soy short ribs, beef tartare and soft shell crab salad.
Nol Bu NeAuckland City
Nol Bu Ne built a reputation as one of the best Korean restaurants in Auckland. Start with a kimchi pancake before moving on to japchaebap (beef fried noodle), raw salmon dupbap or one of their iconic steam boats starring everything your heart desires (kimchi, noodles, hot sauce chicken, bulgogi and veges). A medium-sized steam boat will leave you absolutely stuffed and the large will cater for you and your significant other. Tucked away off Wellesley Street, it’s the perfect spot for a delish (and cheap) inner-city lunch.
Bon Ga NeAuckland City
For all the romantics out there, Bon Ga Ne has you covered with their ‘meal for two’ menu. Your choices include galbijim (marinated beef ribs), pork and kimchi soup as well as an unmissable dumpling casserole. On the other hand, if you’re in the friend zone then the kimchi pancake is a good one not only to fill your stomach but also your Insta feed. Better yet, Bon Ga Ne is renown for its friendly service with a smile!
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Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews at The Kimchi Project