Tired of staring through the smudged glass of your local cafe cabinet waiting for the options to miraculously improve? If you’re anything like me, and your lunch break begins with a 10 minute office-wide brainstorm, before finally retreating to your desk with the same cabinet food delicacy you’ve shamefully settled for every day this week, then it might just be time to mix things up. The working week is tough at the best of times, so why make it harder on ourselves by reserving the ‘good food’ for the weekends?
Gone are the days of submitting to tired salads and stale sandwiches, with an array of delicious, yet hassle free meals available to Grab & Go all over the city.
The humble dumpling can sometimes get a bad rap, with the greasy Dominion Road options leading the charge in the Auckland scene, but not exactly your first thought when lunchtime rolls around. The satisfaction to regret ratio can often run high on dumplings but Sumthin Dumplin is here to save the day, offering dumplings, but not as you’ve ever met them before. Served out of an unassuming hole in the wall in the central city, Sumthin Dumplin serves Shanghainese dumplings made traditionally but with unconventional flavours including Beef & Cheese that will give you those ‘first bite of your cheeseburger’ feels. The best part of the experience? The original wrap, which is more pork bun than dumpling, soft and fluffy with a bread-like consistency that will leave you satisfied, with no regrets.
Price: $10.50 – $17
Ok, picture this. It’s Friday afternoon, you’re dreaming of the weekend and all thoughts of the week’s diet have disappeared along with your motivation to send anymore emails that day. It’s time for a burger. Tiger Burger is a burger, but make it different. With an Asian twist, these burgers are all strictly ethical with no MSG, palm oil or other ingredients that leave you feeling heavy and slumped over at your desk. You can pump up the heat with Gochu Mayo on your aged Taupo beef, slow braised free-range pork, or double-fried free range chicken for a twist on your traditional burger and chips. And speaking of chips, if you try anything from this list, let it be the K-Fries; perfectly crispy fries slathered with Kimcheese sauce and Kimchi.
Price: $14 – $20
Location: Grey Lynn
A tried and tested favourite for those Monday’s when you swear you’re starting a new (and likely short-lived) health and wellness journey. Hello Mister is fresh, street-food style Vietnamese that’s quick and easy to order, but full of flavour. With the ability to amp up the heat with the addition of freshly sliced chillies in your Bańh Mi, Buń and Phò, Hello Mister provides options for even the bravest of spice lovers. The famous Rice Paper Rolls come in every flavour under the sun, from Peking Duck and Hoisin Beef to Crumbed Prawns and Crispy Pork Belly. For an extra pick me up, try the Vietnamese Coconut Iced Coffee and thank me later.
Price range: $4-16
Location: Victoria St, Parnell, Newmarket
While the humble sandwich might seem like a cop out here, Hero just hits different. Let’s start with the bread…enough said. When you open the box, you’re hit with the smell of warm buttery sourdough and the sight of crispy potato chips nestled on top of what I can only describe as a sexy sandwhich. Only available in a thoughtfully curated handful of flavours, Hero know what they’re doing and they do it well. A far cry from your standard toastie, these sandwiches are both reasonably priced and big enough to stop you from reaching for that 3pm snack.
Cheese on Toast
As the name suggests, Cheese on Toast is the heavenly combination of everybody’s favourite foods, bread and cheese. The hero menu item has to be the Triple C; a triple threat of cheese that will fulfill every craving you’ve ever had. But I never thought I would see the day that some beautiful human would combine two of my favourite meals, yet here I am ordering The Breakfast Toasty as if I had walked into one of my favourite “food-themed” dreams. There are a few new places that are showing off their modern take on your go-to lunchtime favourite, but Cheese on Toast also boasts a sweet sanga that will have you saying “cheese who?” The PB&J is layered with crunchy peanut butter, berry jam and cream cheese and with the addition of caramelised banana and cinnamon sugar, its dessert and lunch all rolled into one.
Price: $5.50 – $10
Location: Three Kings
Make your Tuesday feel like a Friday with these midday miracles that will have you counting down the minutes until your next meal.