Auckland Night Markets

After the amazing assault on the senses of the markets of Seoul and the food centres of Singapore, I haven’t really been checking out much in the way of street food options figuring that I’d likely be a little underwhelmed by even the best Aussie and Kiwi versions.

However, after a week of fine dining around Auckland I was in the mood for something rather less formal for dinner so headed to Auckland’s Friday city centre night market located just off Fort Street.

It packed good spectacle as I entered it down the stairs from the Shortland Street side. It was alive with a post-work crowd thronging a good number of stalls – maybe 20 – with a strong emphasis on pan-Asian delights but with a pretty broad range of stuff.

I sampled two dishes. The first was something called an ugly hotdog from a stand of the same name. This comprised a frankfurter wrapped in cheese and dough then deep fried. It was topped with your choice of sauces such as ketchup, barbecue but oddly no mustard.

It was dense and quite unappealing but I was happy enough to have taken the gamble for a mere $5.

Rather better was my first experience of okonomiyaki. This is often sold as the Japanese version of pizza, but it’s rather more like a stuffed pancake.

I chose the chicken version and added optional extras egg and cheese mainly to bring it up to a round $10.

This was cooked to order on a massive grill plate with room for a dozen or so pancakes on the go at any one time.

The mix looked reminiscent of bubble n squeak and suspect it derives from a similar judicious use of leftovers spirit. Once flipped and finished, the pancake was topped with mayo and okomomi sauce, then bonito flakes.

The particular stall I chose – there were a few doing this particular delicacy – served things in a fairly impractical container so rather than finding a perch at the market I headed to my nearby apartment to munch.

It proved gloriously messy and hearty in a sort of indistinct melange way. It felt like post-pub fare and best enjoyed at this time. Or at least this version of it did.

So overall, I rather enjoyed Auckland’s Friday night market. Although the food wasn’t top notch, it’s a lively event worthy of your attention. I look forward to trying future versions of okonomiyaki in particular as this offered me a good foundation in what the dish is all about. Add the market to your itinerary when you’re next in town.

Written by BKR