This Mission Bay opening specialises in inventive Japanese cone-shaped sushi rolls.
Popular food truck The Temaki Truck has made its permanent residence at the newly opened The Eatery at Eastridge. Temakeria is bringing a fusion of flavours to the suburbs, combining traditional Japanese with the Brazilian and Korean backgrounds of owners Rodrigo and Jenny.
We found a seat at one of the communal tables that make up the eatery and was warmly welcomed by Rodrigo. With a simple all-wood finish and touches of Japanese décor, it's clear that the bright red food truck with the bright chalkboard signage is quietly growing up.
No prizes for guessing the speciality at Temakeria. Temaki, which literally translates to 'hand roll', is a Japanese cone-shaped sushi roll. Traditionally a meal found at sushi bars or a DIY family meal at home, temaki has experienced a resurgence in Brazil which is unsurprising when you hear that it has one of the largest populations of Japanese expats in the world.
Whether you're going for a quick solo bite or a big family outing, you're or a carnivore or a vegan, the menu thoughtfully caters for everyone and all dietary needs. The selection of made-to-order temaki are generously filled with the likes of teriyaki chicken ($9), softshell crab ($10) and vegan kimchi ($10). There's even a 'temaco' ($14) — rice and your choice of seafood or tofu in a battered seaweed shell. Alongside the protein, each roll is filled with fresh and house-pickled vegetables, along with punchy sauces that are also made in-house. The spicy gochujang sauce in the softshell crab brought out the flavour of the freshly-fried crab and tartness of the pickled ginger, whilst the lighter Japanese-style mayonnaise lent itself to the teriyaki chicken and fresh vegetables.
Beyond the temaki rolls, Temakeria serves a range of sharing plates, 'dons' (rice bowls) and salads. We opted for the karaage chicken curry ($22), which was newly added onto the menu the day before, the pork and prawn gyoza ($13) and vegan Korean pancake ($8).
Hearty is the only way to describe the Japanese curry. With three large pieces of crispy karaage chicken, apple-based Japanese curry with rice and a generous salad on the side, it's a welcome addition to the menu as the days get colder. The dumplings came out hot and crispy with a soy dipping sauce, and no diced prawn paste was in sight — nestled above the flavoursome pork mince was real prawn. The surprising highlight was the Korean pancake, which packed a punch with the kimchi and complimented by a ponzu dipping sauce.
Leaving full without feeling weighed down, Temakeria is a delicious marriage of cultures and flavours, matched with friendly service. No doubt it will become a go-to for lunch, dinner and even a healthy alternative to Friday night takeout.
Image: The Auckland Food Truck Collective.