Taste of Auckland (first held in 2009) is one of my favourite annual events. Last week our calendar was full, with Sam Smith’s concert and the Taste of Auckland happening at the same time.
This year, Taste of Auckland was held at the Cloud and Shed 10, Queen’s Wharf along Auckland’s waterfront.
This event is a celebration of our city and the huge bounty it has to offer where visitors experience the best of Auckland’s restaurant scene, discover pop-up bars, artisans, wonderful personalities and great musicians.
Being in its tenth year and the beautiful waterfront venue, I would have thought that this would be one of the biggest if not the biggest line-up of exhibitors with signature dishes from some of the city’s top restaurants, wineries, brewers and artisan products from all over the country.
It was quite disappointing for the lack of restaurant participants (probably only around a dozen) although the artisan products line up was good, along with the wineries and breweries.
The most popular restaurant was Xoong, an Asian Fusion restaurant with its Softshell Crab Bao being the highlight. There was a long queue waiting for that bao. The earlier version looked so yummy with the softshell crab deep-fried till brown. However, due to the queue, I guess the kitchen no longer had quality control on cooking time, rushing to fulfill the orders as quickly as possible. The next batch that came out (that was unluckily my order) was just lightly fried (not brown enough) and I was not even sure if it was totally cooked. What a disappointment for the wait. I would rather have waited another 3-5 minutes for the crab to be cooked consistently till brown.
Entry for the festival was $25 each or $65 (including $40 crowns) being the currency for the festival ($1 = 1 crown) although most exhibitors accept EFTPOS/cards as well. There was one exhibitor that we came across (decided not to name this outlet) who did not accept crowns.
As always, we spent lots $$ but this time, not so much on food as there were not many food choices. Had a few drinks and spent mostly on dips and cheese from TopShelf and Food Snob and meats from our favourite Silver Fern Farms who made it there yet again this year!
A new exhibitor worth mentioning is Eat Crawlers. I thought I was sampling some kind of muesli in the shape of crickets but absolutely not! I was actually eating crickets! (See the sticker on my shirt.)
We missed out on the music and the cooking shows (too hungry looking for food) as Sunday’s session was short from 12noon to 5pm. Being the last day before closing, thanks to Haagen-Daaz for giving us each a free cup of ice cream.
Luckily we brought a backpack and that filled up along with two other bags full of treats.
Would we visit again next year? That would have been a ‘Yes’ as we have not missed any Taste of Auckland yet. However, after this year, I am not quite sure. We probably would if we have a free weekend and something to do but if the line-up of restaurants is going to be as lukewarm as this year (or could it be that the layout was too scattered), it may seem a bit overprice paying $25 entrance fee and worst if you were to miss out on cooking shows or concert.
Well, I read my last year’s Taste of Auckland 2017 blog and it mentioned 10 restaurants participated but I think we had 12 this year but probably the good ones no longer participate. We had recently been to Farina and they were amongst the few busy ones there this year.
If you were in Auckland and had visited the Taste of Auckland 2018, what are your thoughts?