We Hope You're Hungry: 2024's List of 100 Iconic Auckland Eats Has Been Revealed

Featuring everything from doughnuts to stuffed carrots and ika mata, this year's picks reflect the diversity of taste and culture found in Tāmaki Makaurau.
Emma Clark-Dow
February 21, 2024

The 100-strong list of Iconic Auckland Eats has been unveiled for 2024, filled with dishes recommended by Aucklanders who put their tastebuds to the test and nominated their favourites in the Supercity. Creating the list is no easy feat, with more than 1800 entries whittled down by a team of judges, who decide whether each entry is a timeless classic or signature dish worthy of making the top 100.

Only two dishes have kept their place on the list for each of the past four years: the melt-in-your-mouth sliders at Al Brown's Depot and the perfectly sweet lamington at Sugar in Chelsea Bay. Gemmayze Street is the only restaurant to have two entries on the 2024 list, thanks to its handmade hummus and its stuffed carrot dish.

"Iconic Auckland Eats is a celebration of Auckland's culinary scene, its many cultures, our local chefs and hospitality industry," said Auckland mayor Wayne Brown.

"I enjoy taking people to Gemmayze Street restaurant, it's a local spot for me, and I encourage visitors and Aucklanders to get out and try some of these dishes and all Auckland has on offer."

Due to the loose boundaries regarding entries, the 100 Iconic Eats list often ends up being a mixed bag, but that's the beauty of the competition. The picks reflect what Auckland really is: a melting pot of culture, food and diversity serving the vastly different appetites of Aucklanders. Everyone benefits from the list, whether your favourite cafe is getting the recognition that you think it deserves or other diners eating in the city are discovering new bites that they've never tried before.

The most important part of each entry is to describe how this dish makes the foodie feel. Does it remind you of an age-old recipe that your great-great grandmother used to make? Or, maybe it's your personal treat for getting through another hard day at work.

There is a vast array of dishes on the lengthy list, standouts including Good Dog Bad Dog's mac n cheese dog, a combination of decadent savoury ingredients, aka cheese, pasta and a frankfurter — and Kingi's kina on toast, which you could only find in New Zealand due to the sea urchin being native to Aotearoa. Another Kiwi staple: creamy paua and fried bread from the food truck Captain Kai Moana, a mobile seafood restaurant serving up fresh seafood and paraoa parai fried to perfection.

Of course, the list doesn't stray far from the classics, with burgers and plates of fish and chips also making up a large chunk of the entries — albeit with their own special twists. The Oklahoma Dreaming from Avondale's Baby G Burger nabbed a spot, with the monster burg boasting two smash patties, cheese, mustard, pickles and a dash of maple syrup. Tipene's Takeaways, a hole-in-the-wall hidden in Morningside, was awarded a place for its fish and chips due to its non-greasy crispy batter wrapped around whatever the team has caught that day.

Every year, an anonymous judge picks someone's Iconic Eats story as that year's winner, rewarding them with a voucher to try all 100 dishes on the list. The winner of the voucher this year is university professor Tracy Berno, who wrote about a dish from Peter Gordon's Homeland: ika mata, a Pacific Island raw fish salad. Homeland's version of ika mata sways from tradition slightly, by incorporating chilli ginger jelly and curry leaf oil, which Berno believes symbolise's the fusion of cultures found in Auckland.

"The ika mata at Homeland is hands down my favourite ika mata out there," Berno said."Not only is it beautiful to behold, it is delicious, with amazing textures and colours; it places our Pacific heritage and culture literally in the centre of the plate."

For more information about 2024's Iconic Auckland Eats list, head to the initiative's website.

Published on February 21, 2024 by Emma Clark-Dow
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