As well as being a windy, history-rich and beautiful place to live, Wellington is home to a wide range of diverse cultures and creeds, harking from every corner of the globe. This combination of traditions, values and lifestyles has culminated in a wonderful melting pot of culture, arts and politics here in our little capital.
One of the most immediately gratifying elements of this cultural fusion is the diversity of food that can be found on Wellington’s streets. A little exploring opens up a whole world of flavours - Indonesian, Malaysian, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and many more are represented in Wellington’s wide array of restaurants and eateries.
Here, we’ll do our best to give a local’s insight as to where to go and what to look for when entering the wonderful world of Wellington’s Oriental cuisine.
Starting in the suburbs we have some wonderful places to dine in, outside the hustle and bustle of Wellington’s city centre. Jasmine Thai Takeaway in Karori is a must-visit, and Nakhon Thai boasts incredible service and food to match - a definite recommendation for anyone based out of Hataitai.
Moving into the Cuba Quarter, there is a range of diverse and tasty options all around just waiting to be tried. For those who enjoy a plant-based diet, Aunty Mena’s Vegetarian Restaurant and Cafe provides fast, affordable and (most importantly) delicious Malaysian-based fusion food. The faux-chicken laksa from Aunty Mena’s is unparalleled, and can quickly become a more-than-regular indulgence for anyone lucky enough to live nearby.
For quick, cheap and delicious street-style Malaysian, Satay Kingdom on the Left Bank arcade is your best bet. Just across the lane is Oriental Kingdom Cafe, the best Asian-fusion restaurant for big groups who like big servings - the establishment also allows BYO, which is a bonus for patrons who like to bring their favourite drop when they dine out.
As we move down to Courtenay Place, it would be a crime not to mention Redhill Restaurant on Manners St. This Chinese restaurant is a delicious and vegan-friendly eatery during the day, and a fully licensed destination for BYO groups by night.
As we move along Courtenay we arrive at Chow, a sophisticated and well loved establishment with an apparent and genuine love for Asian-fusion food. With different dining deals every day of the week and jointly owned bar The Library right next door, there’s so much to love about spending a night at Chow.
Moving around the corner to Cambridge Terrace we arrive at PhuThai Esarn Restaurant, a charming Thai eatery that’s all about atmosphere. This is an attractive option for Oriental Bay residents due to its proximity, and anyone who is looking to avoid the crowds on a Friday night.
No guide to the delights of Wellington’s Oriental eateries would be complete without mentioning the numerous food markets that constantly pop up around the city. These places provide a wonderful environment to please your tastebuds, and all of them offer an abundance of soups, noodles and dumplings to sate your appetite. Head out to the Left Bank Arcade on a Friday evening to experience the Wellington Night Market, or hit the bottom of Cuba on a Friday night to experience the broad range of stalls at the Saturday Night Market. The Wellington Night Noodle Market comes to town every year and is likewise not to be missed!
No matter your appetite or where you are based, Wellington always provides when you’re craving hot, Oriental-style food. Be sure to visit the websites linked throughout this article and make a reservation, but be warned - you’ll have a tough time choosing where to go!