Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tasting Asia in Auckland

Trust the Asians to discover all that is Asian no matter where they are in the world. Or perhaps my Thai friend, Bird (because I cannot pronounce her real name), is just really homesick. Either way, since I am crazy for Asian food and fashion I don’t complain.

While walking down Queen street, which is one of the main shopping areas in Auckland, she is the one who discovers all the little alleys with Japanese and Korean fashion stores. What strikes me the most about these shops is how they get the balance between sweet and cool just right. It’s simply irresistible and after trying on a few items I am forced to swipe my credit card. This is, after all, not cheap and cheerful Chinese offerings but Japanese fashion – although store names such as ‘Pinky Girl’ can hardly be taken seriously.

More serious New Zealand fashion brands are the likes of Kate Sylvester (see, who wowed fashion editors and fans alike at the latest New Zealand Fashion Week. I find her store in High Street, amongst other popular local labels such as Workshop and Moochi. The summer collection at Kate Sylvester is very girly, with balloon prints as well as balloon shaped tops (which, sadly, doesn’t suit me at all). Hoodies bring some street cred to the collection in store and after trying on a few items I am quite happy to live in the comfy grey and red with-a-bit-of-bling garments.

We decide to give our credit cards a break and opt for lunch instead. Back in Queen street, Bird finds a food court and heads straight for the Thai counter to order Tom Yum soup while I decide on Chinese barbeque pork with noodles. I buy a rosewater drink while we wait for our food to arrive. Both dishes end up being fresh and flavourful, as well as good value.

My Chinese dish is about half the price of the mussels I had at the Waterfront CafĂ© in Quay Street on the day we arrived. The shellfish was prepared in a French style – and while it didin’t compare to having it in France (with some French champagne, of course), it was really fresh and comes highly recommended. There’s just something about having seafood while watching the sunset and hearing the waves.

Auckland seems to be the best of all worlds. A safe and organized city by the sea, with all the Asian flavours that I desire. It is much more tropical than I expected, which gives it a wonderful wild edge just so the sweetness doesn’t get boring.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

New Zealand is wild and beautiful.