When you've got a craving for your fave Pacific Island dishes but don't have time to make it or don't know how to make it - don't worry - we've got you!
We did the hard job of driving out to some of Auckland’s most popular Island food stores to try out their dishes and let you know where to get what.
Evalina's in Clendon & Otara
Evalina's had a wide range of delicious island food to chose from. They had everything from chop suey and baked taro, to whole cooked fish and fa'alifu fa'i (banana with coconut cream).
We orderded a baked taro, palusami, fai'ai ēleni, and a pineapple pie. The pie was definitely the group favourite - perfect flavour and the ratio of crust to custard was on point.
As well as cooked food they also offered Samoan music CD's, DVDs, lavalavas and jandals. Oka is sold only on Sundays.
Clendon location - The back strip of shops behind 'The Warehouse' in Clendon Park shopping Centre.
Otara location - 1st or 2nd shop on the strip of shops facing East Tamaki Road at the Otara Shopping Centre
Lee Heng (Parker's Polynesian Food) in Mangere
We ordered a tray filled with sapasui, bean stir fry, potatoe curry, fa'alifu taro (boiled taro in coconut cream) and for something sweet we had a pot of suafa'i. Everything was DELICIOUS 10/10 for every dish.
Location: The block of shops on the corner of Imrie & Fresian Drive in Mangere
Ulutoa and Sons in Otahuhu + Avondale
All things sweet!! Ulutoa and Sons provided us with some tasty treats in the form of panikeke's, fa'ausi (sweet taro in caremalised sugar), coconut masi (coconut biscuits) and a pineapple pai fala (half moon pie) . The winner was definitely the fa'ausi - great texture and flavour.
They also sold the same hot island food that Parkers Polynesian & Evalinas sold and had a mini store inside that sold tins of ēleni, Bongo chips, vermecilli, pisupo, coconut cream, soy sauce etc ...
Otahuhu location: On Mangere Road just past the Favona lights and opposite Otahuhu High school.
Avondale location: About 3 shops down from Cain Tattoos on Great North Road.
You know us islanders all love a good BBQ and these guys do a mean BBQ - ribs, chicken, steak, lamb and more. We tried a ribs and chicken BBQ plate and the ribs were cooked perfectly - literally falling off the bone!
Their BBQ plates are all cooked to order so there is a little bit of a wait but the BBQ is well worth the wait!
Location: 269 East Tamaki Road, Otara, NZ
Of course we had to get keke pua'a and german buns. 10/10 deliciousness as usual. THANK YOU Pinati's.
Location: Queen St Otahuhu which is a block back from the main strip of Otahuhu Shops.
Three words - Cook Islands doughnuts! They have a great selection of Cook Islands favourites - hot doughnuts, banana poke, maniota uki, mayonaise (Kuki potato salad) cooked taro as well as chop suey & rice or steak on rice with mushroom sauce.
Location: 3 shops down in the block of shops on Piako Street in Otara
Odette’s Kitchen is a wonderful addition to the growing number of eateries run by our Moana Pacific people looking to elevate Polynesian cuisine, mastering the classics and then bringing in twists to innovate on what our notion of island food is and can be. What strikes me is the team’s thoughtfulness going into the combination of fresh ingredients and the new ways that Pacific ingredients in particular get a chance to shine in the dishes.
Location: 15 Broadway, Papakura
We were told the Samoan Sapasui (Chop Suey) is really good here & after trying it for ourselves we can confirm the goodness. They also sell a selection of Samoan dishes.
Location: Otara shopping Centre, facing Bairds Road. * Mt Roskill location has closed.
** From the last time we checked out the island eating places in South Auckland we were recommended 3 Tongan owned & managed restaurants in Otahuhu. Try them out here if you're in the area **
Eight Roses Cafe & Buffet
Location: Unit 13/ 225 Great South Road - In the block of shops, to the left just after the roundabout by the Otahuhu Police Station.
Location: 285 Great South Road
FranCharLeni Diner & Cafe
Location: 242 Great South Road
My Samoa in Kelston
10 Panikeke's for $2.50. My Samoa's panikeke's take the prize for best panikeke! Warm, sweet and delicious! Highly recommended.
Location: The last shop of the block of stores on Archibald Road opposite Kelston Girls High
* There's also an Ulutoa & Sons Ltd in Avondale - description and location in the South Auckland section *
Blue Rose in Sandringham
The best palce to get Koko Samoa cake and palusami pies is definitely Blue Rose! You will NOT regret it.
The owner Robbie Kainuku is Cook Island.
Location: Sandringham Road, Sandringham.
LEI Cafe, Ponsonby
Owned & managed by Tongan brother & sister Natasha Finau & Saione Greer, you can get your island food fix here in the middle of Ponsonby.
Island dishes sold - Oka, Fijian curry & Coconut buns in coconut cream.
Location: The top of Williamson Ave in Ponsonby in the strip of shops next to Countdown.
The South Auckland stores seemed to have more variety, speciality dishes and more sweet options like pineapple pie and fa'ausi.
We struggled to find good Island Eats places out West Auckland. There were a couple we'd featured previously but they've either got E Grades now or have closed. West Aucklanders comment below where your best Island Eats spots are!
Special thanks to the following people who let us know where the best Island Eats spots were!!
- Nate Nauer
- Leilani Momoisea
- La'e Milne
- Toma Amosa
- Virgil Nickel
- Shimpal Lelisi
- Janina Lauitiiti
- Siosiua Kailahi