Grand Harbour Chinese Restaurant
A group of girlfriends and I decided to test the Cheap Eats theory on one of our favourite eating establishments in Auckland and we were thrilled to find ourselves full for $20 each.
Grand Harbour is possibly the best known Yum Char in Auckland. There are constantly long queues during the weekend and I am always astounded at the sheer size of the place and how it manages to not only fill up, but turn tables between two to three times. Does everyone in Auckland go out for Yum Char on a Sunday?
This visit was no exception and it was packed with families and groups of friends, all talking at volume (not a first date place!)
We went through a few rounds of opening baskets to be greeted by chicken feet and things we weren’t interested in, but then the good stuff started to roll round. We ordered the Pork Siu Mai ($4.80 x 3), the Prawn and Chive dumplings ($5.30 x3), the Chinese vegetables in oyster sauce ($12.00), the deep fried squid ($6.50 x2), the scallop dumplings ($5.30 x 3) and some sesame balls with red bean paste ($4.20 x2).
They were all fantastic, as always. I would kill for those dumplings, perfectly steamed with their delicate seafood soy flavours. The prawn and chives would have to be my favourite. The deep fried squid is like a very good version of KFC but with squid instead of chicken. That’s probably not complimentary but I’m just trying to convey the fabulous seasoned deep fried crunch (can I add, they taste much much better than the Colonel’s wares?)
We did have to order the steamed vegetables to counteract those deep-fried calories but the joy of Yum Char is that even the plainest of veggies taste marvellous. Amazing how something as simple as steamed shanghai with oyster sauce squeezed liberally over the top can taste so good!
I do love a good sesame ball. Sweet red bean paste surrounded by a kind of rice paste, coated in sesame seeds and deep fried (yes, again!) I have seen them called ‘Happy Balls’ in a Chinese bakery and I would have to agree. In fact we all did.
So you can do Yum Char for $20/head and feel full and it’s definitely better in a big group as you get to taste more. You could spend a lot more if you went for some of the specialty dishes but I do tend to stick to the dumplings since they taste so fabulous. Even though it’s usually just a case of taking what you choose off the trolleys, you can ask for a menu if you want to familiarise yourself with the prices.
We’re sure most of you have been, but if you haven’t, please do. It’s a fun, noisy, jovial and extremely tasty experience.