Pop dining Auckland
Pop dining Auckland

Auckland has a food scene! And it may rival some of the great food cities! Really Auckland, you have more to offer than a beautiful habour?
The response to my first pop dining event was overwhelming.
Thanks to Seirra Cafe, Devonport, meetup and adventurous Auckland foodies.

I cant have Mission Chinese in Auckland but there are many great Asian supermarkets in Auckland and I can cook

The success of the night was of course the Bao, David Chang really smashed it with that recipe. My version subbed black cardamom braised lamb belly for pork.



The tamarind crispy pigs ears were a hit. Photo thanks again to Carmella at easyfoodhacks


The positive reaction and popularity was particularly satisfying after friends and family reaction to the menu –
“Why are you cooking that, its dog food.”
“Really? Pigs ear. Like the ear?”
“Gross! Is it like all waxy and gross?”

It seemed like I opened some eaters minds, it was at least one eaters favourite dish of the night.

I would like to believe the ear experience made a few people think about how wasteful the western way of eating animals has become.

Now about time for a recipe

Beef tongue and cheek or short rib (in my case) with Gai Lan -Chinese broccoli and oyster sauce

Braising – season heavily and sear meat until very browned, don’t be afraid of high heat, more colour = more flavour
I did this on a bbq, cast iron pan works well
Now for the aromatics, garlic, ginger, shallot, carrot, celery
– saute in some sesame oil until lightly coloured
Then add fresh bay leaves and the dried stuff spices, star anise, cinnamon, clove, dried shitake mushrooms and chillis
Turn up the heat, deglaze with Shaoxing wine
Add your seared meat and cover with cold water
Bring up to a simmer, skim, cover and keep and eye on it, when spiced fatty aroma start filling the kitchen and your skin’s pores check on it
If you look at the meat and it dissolves it is probably overcooked
After two hours I left the short rib to cool – continues to cook in this process and I feel it is essential to let all braises cool in their braising liquor
For the tongue – quick brine, water, sugar and salt, star anise, mustard seed, peppercorns, bay leaf etc
few hours later I poached it in the short ribs braising liquor
Peel the gross stuff off the tongue
Slice thin

Now the Gai Lan, wash and cut
Blanch with ginger chunks in the water aswell as plenty of salt and a pinch of baking soda if you dont like the bitterness
Putting it all together
Pull short rib out of its over-nighter in the fridge, remove solidified fat, pull meat off bone and cut into large chunks
Bring some of the braising liquor up to heat very slowly and skim, reduce, skim, skim, skim
Heat chunks of beef in a wok, add sliced tongue and gai lan
Toss it
Add oyster sauce and a little of the skimmed braising liquor


  • barton

    Thanks Ben, for organising the fantastic evening, and especially cooking all that delicious food. The beef short rib and tongue was superbly succulent and perfectly seasoned. The recipe looks daunting, but I can’t wait to attempt it.

    Looking forward to the next pop-up event!

  • barton

    Nice work barts!

  • barton

    Welldone barts! And yea for the great photos too!

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