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.


Location: Corner Pakenham Street and Custom St. West, Viaduct Harbour.
Phone: (09) 3576889
Hours: Weekdays: 11:00am – 3:00pm, Weekends & Public Holiday: 10:30am – 3:00pm.  Also open every night from 5:30pm – 10:00pm for dinner.
Licensed: Yes
Prices:  Yum Char from $4.20 – $6.50 for a small plate. Bigger snacks from $12 – $16
Credit Cards:  Yes
Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes, but you really have to check carefully as oyster sauce used and prawns are often hidden. Wait staff not always well-versed in ingredients.
Bathrooms: Fine
Wheelchair Accessible:Yes
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3 Responses

  1. Jilly says:

    Totally agree. Grand Harbour is a huge taste treat and very good value.

  2. Kat says:

    Definitely one of the best yum cha in Akl. Pearl Garden on Newmarket’s Teed St is good too, although admittedly haven’t been for a couple years…

  3. Kat says:

    Oh- and avoid China yum cha under the Scene Apartments on Beach Rd if you, like us, can’t fathom the idea of paying $1 for a glass of not just the tea but also tap water – which several people have found that they don’t warn you about. Upon our warning a friend asked for tap water when she and her bf went, only to find that they charged $1ea for that too. Tap. Water. We’ve given this place a few chances, but we’ve learnt our lesson and it’s a no-go. The food is fine at best – but for the service (rude young women at the counter, usually), the ridiculous water charge and there being nothing special about the food, it’s just not worth the prices compared to somewhere like GH or PG.

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