This joint on the corner of Dominion Rd and Wiremu St had never really appealed to me until I found myself one Friday evening after work after a quick family takeaway, and put off my the long queue at the perennially, and deservedly popular Barilla.
The signage boasts $7, $8, $9 – and that’s what you’ll find all over the menu of this Northern Chinese joint. Everything, bar a few hand-written specials, is $7, $8, or $9 a dish. Amazingly cheap – and, it turns out, great value, because the food is good. Better than good. Some dishes are great. The shredded kelp in chilli oil, all $7 worth, is a big dish of glorious texture and flavour. Julienned cucumber topped with a mound of shredded kelp, chopped coriander and toasted sesame seeds. The dressing does have chilli oil in it – but not so much that the dish feels oily at all – it’s balanced by black vinegar and, at a guess, a bit of sesame oil. Utterly addictive stuff.
Do get the squid in spicy salt, too – it’s crispy-coated and surrounded by crunchy lightly fried onion, carrot, celery and more garlic than you’ve eaten in the past month. Beef with cumin is pretty intense on that earthy, woodsy spice – great mopped up with mounds of steamed rice. One dish I search the menu for at any decent Chinese restaurant is fried green beans (often called French or round beans with olives and pork mince). At Delicious Dishes it’s somewhat mysteriously called dry kidney beans. Order it. It’s umami in the extreme and great accompanied by a crisp lager. And, my kid’s favourite – hand-cut noodles with chicken and mushroom in a very chickeny broth.
Best of all, you won’t need to queue for a table here. Yet.