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By Stephen Heard
May 07, 2021
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By Stephen Heard
May 07, 2021
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Huami has been serving up its regal Chinese restaurant in SkyCity Auckland's Federal Street precinct since July 2017. Originally surfacing as a collaboration between chef Nic Watt, executive chef Jeff Tan and master sommelier Cameron Douglas, the contemporary Chinese restaurant now falls under the guidance of chef Raymond Xue.

Chef Raymond's menu highlights the cuisine from regional provinces across China, including Canton, Sichuan, Huaiyang and Beijing, all while using local produce. Across from the contemporary dining room and between the dim sum kitchen and live ocean tanks, you'll find the country's only fruit woodfired duck oven.

Manuka, kanuka and plum woods are burned to get the modified pizza oven up to the ideal 165-degree cooking temperature. The process to create the perfect juicy-crispy duck is comprehensive. Huami pumps out around 40 of the delicious Cambridge-bred ducks per day using the more relaxed Cantonese cooking style.

Each duck is seasoned from the inside with spices and oil to add additional flavour before being hung in a moisture-controlled dry room for four days in an effort to produce the sought-after crispy skin. The duck can be ordered by the half or whole to create your own lineup of little crispy duck pancakes with condiments like plum sauce, spring onion and cucumber.

Also from the purpose-built oven comes the must-have melt-in-your-mouth manuka glazed char siew pork. Here, the kitchen swaps out the traditional cut of pork neck to use the fattier belly, which creates a tender and incredibly juicy end product. The slow-cooked treat comes served with mustard sauce for an extra punch.

Dumpling lovers are spoiled for choice, too. Signature varieties on the menu include the Shanghai xiao long bao and the steamed har kao truffle and prawn dumplings. The former are the perfect soupy bite — just make sure you leave some time for the internal liquid to cool down. Elsewhere, there's shrimp and chicken siew mai, pan-fried pork and leek dumplings and crispy duck wontons.

Deciding what to eat is the trickiest part of visiting Huami; the extensive menu lists everything from soups to barbecue, noodles, vegetables and live ocean cuisine — cooked to your liking. Browsing the dedicated 'chef's recommendation' section is the best bet for indecisive diners.

To complete your meal, Huami's extensive wine list was curated by master sommelier Cameron Douglas and features a selection of both New Zealand and international wines. The Huami bar also offers the largest range of Maotai (baiju) in New Zealand. The Chinese spirit can be enjoyed neat or in Maotai-infused cocktails — try the passionfruit number topped with sparkling rosé or a rhubarb gin blush. Western spirits are big on the menu, too, with the bar proudly calling itself the home of $12 gins. All you need to do is make come to a decision.

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