Auckland’s ‘iconic eats’ announced

by | Dec 2, 2022 | News

Nearly 800 food-loving Aucklanders have helped create the ultimate ‘locals’ guide’ of 100 iconic dishes from all corners of the region, including some hidden gems.

The Iconic Auckland Eats list is developed annually by economic and cultural agency Tātaki Auckland Unlimited. It highlights unique and well-loved dishes that can only be enjoyed in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, with nominators sharing stories of their favourite food experiences.

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Head of Visitor Economy Annie Dundas says the third Iconic Auckland Eats is testament to the region’s incredible hospitality industry, which is brimming with innovation – while maintaining space for timeless classics.

Some regular favourites have made the list again, and new dishes and restaurants are emerging.

“Auckland’s food scene is ever changing. What’s exciting about the Iconic Auckland Eats list is that while 50 of the restaurants featured have had dishes featured in previous years, the other half of the list offers fresh dining inspiration – reflecting the breadth and depth of our evolving food scene,” says Annie Dundas.

The Iconic Auckland Eats list features dishes from fine dining establishments to cheap and cheerful cafes, food trucks, markets and hole-in-the-wall offerings across the Auckland region. Most dishes are available year-round, while some are seasonal.

Four dishes have achieved the three-peat of being named on all three lists so far: the Fish Sliders at Depot; the Braised Pork Belly at Mekong Baby; the Lamington at Sugar at Chelsea Bay; and the Beef Rendang at Sri Pinang*.

Across the three years, a further 22 restaurants have had a different dish named to the list every year.

“Each year, we see the incredible diversity of Auckland’s population reflected in the list, with cuisine from all corners of the world represented. The lists feature truly authentic cuisine that is a taste of home for our migrant communities, along with an epic fusion of flavours that is so ‘Auckland’,” says Annie Dundas.

“Over the years we have heard hundreds of stories of how deeply connected Aucklanders are to food and to our hospitality industry. Aucklanders love their food. Many have returned from ‘OEs’ or other travel with their eyes opened to culinary experiences from around the globe. We not only love exploring, trying new flavours and testing boundaries, we also hold dear the perfectly balanced timeless classics.”

Dundas says Auckland’s hospitality industry is navigating tough and uncertain times, with the cumulative impact of five lockdowns and staff shortages remaining a challenge for many eateries.

“A thriving hospitality industry is important to Auckland’s economy. We are proud to support and celebrate our world-class operators through the Iconic Auckland Eats list and highlight a range of incredible eateries and people across our region for locals and visitors alike to enjoy,” she says.

One lucky foodie who submitted their story has been chosen as the winner of the 2022 Iconic Auckland Eats prize, receiving vouchers to enjoy all 100 Iconic Eats over the coming year. JT Bailey, a primary school teacher based in south Auckland was chosen for his story singing the praises of Baduzzi and its Saffron & Potato Tortellini dish.

His nomination said: “A fusion of tastes, textures, histories, cultures, and places, all wrapped up in a hearty meal that makes your heart skip a beat while your tongue begs for more. It’s the one thing I break my rule of ‘always try something new’ for, because novelty and change are all well and good but, like Auckland itself, there’s always a place for the tried, true, and terrific.”

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