If there is one thing Hamilton has going for it, apart from Billy’s Karaoke bar, it’s the kai. Being from a small town, dumplings were like the easter bunny or Judith Collins morals, something we thought existed but couldn’t be one hundred percent sure of. When I tried them for the first time my tastebuds discovered a whole new galaxy of flavours. Thus, my love affair with Asian cuisine began. There are way too many good spots to choose from, but here are my top picks:
Garden Place Noodle Bar
Explorers for years have been trying to find the fountain of youth. Little did they know, it was here in Hamilton the whole time.
So many noodle shops will splash out on imported packets of noodles and serve it up as ‘fresh’. Here you can literally see them crafting the noodles. They mix it in a broth that would make your nana’s soup look like sewer water; and add gooey beef sirloin – your life may just flash before your eyes. The kai is cheap, delicious, and the portions are huge; it’s a student dream. (I’m running out of words but get the spicy dumplings too).
There’s not many places you get a dinner and a show, unless you’re at my marae watching my cousins fight. At Daikoku, the chef will come out swinging knives and lighting fires like a regular daredevil. The lunch special (never go at night, it’s way to spenny) lets you choose your favourite meat, and they cook it before your eyes. You also get 2 other courses for free!
McDonald’s is always going about their secret sauce – well ask the chef for yum-yum sauce, and you’ll never eat Maccas again (or until you’re drunk at 2am).
Bahn Mi Caphe
If I could only eat from one place in Hamilton it would be here. Bahn Mi serves up the freshest salads, pho and baguettes on offer. The ingredients go together better than a bunch white people in the House and Mr. Brightside. The absolute star of the place is the fried chicken with sriracha aioli – best in town some people (namely me) would say.
The decor is also snazzy and it’s hard to get a table, so make sure you phone up.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking Dumpling House is the best thing ever. This place may not look too flash, but Nancy’s serves up the tastiest dumplings in town: they’re light, tasty and affordable! And on the plus side, they’re usually open after the clubs are open. Make sure you get a side of spring onion pancakes too.
King of Skewers
If you’ve ever wanted to cook your own chicken gizzards then this is the place. Or if you’re a bit more reserved, KOS has a huge range of meats, vegetables and other tasty items all laid out, surprisingly, on skewers. You choose your hotpot and then it’s all up to you. The broth itself is so good, it could probably replace blue powerade as the best hangover cure.
Just FYI, the spicy broth will kick your ass. So humble yourself, work your way up to it.