Judge Bao and Tiger Burger NZ collab Bao Meets Burger Auckland Central CBD Food Blog
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#BaoMeetsBurger – Judge Bao x Tiger Burger Pop-Up

Bao Meets Burger Lotte Milkis Cream Soda
Bao Meets Burger Karma Cola Organic
Bao Meets Burger Alaska Milk can

Just 5 weeks after their pop-up at Coco’s Cantina, Judge Bao is back this time for a collaboration with Tiger Burger for a Chinese – Korean fusion burger bar in O’Connell Street in the CBD.

Debbie told us about their plan for a collab with Tiger Burger when we dined at the Coco’s pop-up. I didn’t expect they would turn this over that quick! I was so happy when I found out that their location was just a stone’s throw away from where I work. So excited that I checked out the place the day before they opened and took this photo below.

Glass art done by Haser, an Auckland graffiti artist.

Bao Meets Burger O'Connell Street

We went for dinner on the first day they opened and made sure we went there early to avoid the crowd. We sat down and after our orders got taken Debbie approached us to have a bit of a chit-chat. That’s where I got confirmation that the place was indeed an abandoned pizzeria. Everything had been set-up, the fixtures ordered and installed, even that $20,000 pizza oven in the picture above was ready to go. However, the owner’s wife apparently didn’t like the place and decided to go back to their home country. And probably in the most romantic way, the owner dropped everything and followed his wife leaving even his coat! While the real estate agent is looking for a new tenant/owner, Judge Bao and Tiger Burger grabbed the opportunity for their pop-up.

Bao Meets Burger Pickle Chaser kimchi daikon cucumber chili oil Judge Bao Tiger Burger

We started with the Pickle Chaser – Kimchi, Pickled Daikon, and Smashed Cucumber with Chili Oil. These went down quite quickly with the kimchi being our favourite. We can easily finish a jar of Tiger Burger’s kimchi, it was light, tangy, crunchy and didn’t have the slight bitterness you get from other places. Hope they start selling these soon! (I can already imagine myself eating kimchi and white rice. I can imagine being happy with just Tiger Burger’s kimchi and white rice, I swear.) I also loved the smashed cucumber with chili oil and plan on recreating this at home soon.

Bao Meets Burger Chicken Yin Yang Fried Chicken Judge Bao Tiger Burger

I can’t resist ordering the Chicken Yin Yang – a combination of Judge Bao’s Dirty Bird (Guangzhou-style fried chicken drums) and Tiger Burger’s Korean fried sweet and spicy chicken wings. I’ve tried the Dirty Bird at the Coco’s pop-up and absolutely loved it. My partner wanted to order something new, but he was glad we tried this because Tiger Burger’s wings were lovely as well. The sauce had a nutty flavour from what I’m guessing is sesame oil and, of course, the sesame seeds.

Bao Meets Burger Kimcheese Fries Reloaded Kimcheese Burger Lap Dog Judge Bao Tiger Burger

Then came the highlight of the meal. Pictured above: Kimcheese Burger (kimchi, cheese beef patty, chili mayo, cream mayo), Kimcheese Fries Reloaded (fried with kimchi, cheese, ketchup and mayo), and the Lap Dog (hand-rolled mantou, house Chinese sausage, Sichuan ketchup, honey soy mustard, and Chinkiang onions).

I looked forward to trying the Lap Dog because we greatly enjoyed the Judge Bao’s Meatloaf from the Coco’s pop-up. I loved this first of all because the mantou was generously dense. I love mantou and can eat this own its own. The Chinese sausage was on the tiny side, however, but this was nicely complemented by the caramelised onions which sat beneath it. I was a bit on the fence about the amount of honey soy mustard, but I have to admit, I am not a big mustard fan. All-in-all I enjoyed eating this albeit the messiness. (I got home to find out I still had mustard stains on some of my fingers.)

Who goes out to eat a burger without chips? Nobody. I wonder how many they sold off these Kimcheese fries because they were so good. Before coming to New Zealand, my partner wasn’t a fan of Korean cuisine that you’d have to pay him (or at least pay for his food) if you’re going to make him eat kimchi. I am so happy he got converted into liking Korean food now. He got the Kimcheese burger and absolutely loved it. We get the hype now guys. It is such a shame that we only tried this now even though we always see Tiger Burger during food events. I understand that kimchi may be an acquired taste, but it works really well in this burger. I reckon people who haven’t had kimchi would still love this because the idea anyway is the kimchi is only replacing your standard dill pickles in your standard burgers. There is a bit of heat in this burger because of 1) kimchi and 2) chili mayo. We also received great advice to use the little recyclable bowl because this is a bit messy to eat. And true enough there were heaps of cheesy kimchi left which I happily ate with chopsticks.

Bao Meets Burger
Bao Meets Burger

The team initially expected this pop-up to be open for just two weeks. The last day being Saturday the 24th of October. We will find out soon if they will be open for another week. *crosses fingers*

In any case, these guys are mainstays at The Street Food Collective in Ponsonby Central, so if you missed out don’t sulk and chill out on that food #FOMO. Give these guys some love and follow them on Social Media and of course so you can get updates on where they’re at. Links below.

Judge Bao: Instagram, Facebook
Tiger Burger: Instagram, Facebook
Bao Meets Burger page: Facebook

And honestly, these guys are a bunch of amazing and humble small business owners, you’d think their awesome food is just a bonus. Go get ’em.

Judge Bao Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tiger Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Goodlife Juice Co Auckland Review Food Blog
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New Opening: Goodlife Juice Co.

Goodlife Juice Co in Fort Street Auckland Food Blog sign

New eateries are opening every week in Auckland you’d think restaurant owners have been secretly trying to exceed the population growth rate of the country. Fort Street in the CBD has been host to newcomers recently and Goodlife Juice Co. has joined the pack.

Goodlife is a juice, salad, and smoothie bar offering quick but healthy meal options. There is a shortage of healthy lunch options in this spot in the CBD and it is clear that the owners of Goodlife Juice Co have seen and grabbed this opportunity. Their cabinet is chock-full of grab-and-go cold pressed juices and mason jar salads. Superfood smoothies are made to order but don’t take long to prepare. (Their Facebook page says they’ll be offering soups soon, and that’s something I’m looking forward to.) Finally, some healthy fast food.

Goodlife Juice Co in Fort Street Auckland Food Blog
Goodlife Juice Co in Fort Street Auckland Food Blog
Goodlife Juice Co in Fort Street Auckland Food BlogHealthy soups, acai bowls, and raw oatmeal coming soon. Woot!

Goodlife Juice Co in Fort Street Auckland Mason Jar Salad Food Blog

Their mason jar salads seem very popular at the moment. I grabbed the chance to sample a few when they had these on special last Monday. My loot included (original prices in bold):

Kumara Mango ($10) – Roasted Kumara, Mango, Quinoa, Capsicum, Spinach, Apple Dressing
Chicken Pesto ($12) – Grilled Free Range Chicken, Fresh Mozzarella, Parmesan, Orzo, Spinach, Pesto Dressing
Mexican Steak ($12) – Grilled Sirloin Steak, Kidney Bean, Corn, Cherry Tomato Salsa, Spinach, Lite Sour Cream Dressing
Prawn Guacamole ($12) – Grilled Prawn, Capsicum, Red Onion, Spinach, Guacamole

I shared these with my partner for lunch and dinner and can say that they were indeed filling. My favourite of the lot had to be the Chicken Pesto – the addition of orzo made it fun to eat! I also grabbed “The Goodlife” smoothie last Friday, and as this is a true meal replacement, I had it for lunch. It surprisingly kept me full until dinner time and didn’t make me crave for unhealthy food.

What I love the most though I that they give you the option to buy the jar for $3. Which is a good deal, in my opinion, given that the actual Ball mason jars retail for around $6 each in New Zealand. The Ball mason jars have a 2 piece lid which allows the salad to retain its freshness for up to a week, this also make it work well for canning.

If you’re not keen on buying the jar, you can have your salad placed in a biodegradable bowl with no extra cost. They’ll mix the salad for you in store as well.

Goodlife Juice Co in Fort Street Auckland Cold Pressed Juices Food Blog
Goodlife Juice Co in Fort Street Auckland Mason Jar Salad Food Blog

This is definitely a welcome break for the health-conscious office workers of this part of the CBD. No longer are they constrained to a sub, sushi, or some tiny salad. There are several kinks that have to be ironed out, as is with any new business. The service could be better and their pricing may deter some. But you can’t put a price on health, as they say.

Address: 47 Fort St, Auckland, New Zealand 1010
Hours: Monday – Friday 7am to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm
Website: http://goodlifejuice.co.nz

Goodlife Juice Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Judge Bao Meatloaf Auckland New Zealand Food Blog
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Viva La Revolution: Judge Bao x The Pie Piper

There are nights when you just want a place to chill out and have fun, when food is necessary but drinks are not, when dinner prep and the clean up is out of the question. But there are also nights when I’m just not in the mood for our usual CBD spots.

Three weeknights ago I caught wind of a pop-up at Coco’s Cantina on K’ Road while the Coco’s team is away in Italy. Food FOMO hit. I knew I had no reason to miss this.

A Duo of Duos
Viva La Revolution (Long Live the Revolution) was a collaboration between Street Food Collective mainstays Judge Bao and The Pie Piper. The duos stuck with their guns and went for modern Chinese with an American twist. It was a no-brainer that The Pie Piper took care of dessert, leaving the savoury dishes in the hands of the Judge Bao team.

My first experience with Judge Bao was at Street Eats 2015 where I got to try their Black Betty and Sloppy Po Bao. I thought the concept was brilliant, completely original, and the service genuine. I was immediately hit with food hungover.

Judge Bao was founded by ‘Sauce boss’ Jamie and his partner ‘Bun hun’ Debbie. Jamie is no newbie in the food scene having 16 years of experience in the industry under his belt. He also worked with Al Brown and Kyle Street of Depot and Federal Deli fame. While the head chef labours in the kitchen, Debbie is out and about being a front-of-house, marketer, and all-around multi-tasker. She even drew their mascot ‘Pew Pew.’ The Pie Piper, on the other hand, is a mother and daughter team who aim to introduce Kiwis to American style sweet pies.

Auckland Food blog Viva La Revolution MenuViva La Revolution menu

Auckland Food blog Judge Bao Steam BunComplimentary steam buns

The meal started with complimentary steam buns with pickles at the side. They served us a plain steamed bun and a black sesame steamed bun.

Auckland Food blog Judge Bao Cheese GritsCheese Grits: Tofu cheese, corn, jasmine rice, gai choy, olive leaf.

My fiancé was hesitant on ordering the Cheese Grits as he doesn’t like tofu. I, on the other hand, love tofu and am a congee fan so I insisted. This was the dish that surprised me the most. At first bite I thought the flavours were a bit off, that an ingredient stood out and overpowered everything else. As I dug into it, however, the flavours converged and the dish made more sense. The fact that my fiancé liked this dish is probably enough proof that it was good.

Auckland Food blog Judge Bao Dirty BirdDirty Bird: Guangzhou fried drums, fugu, douban mayo, gau choy.

The Dirty Bird came next – an ode to American paper bag chicken and Guangzhou street chicken. The chicken was moist inside but is nicely crispy on the outside. The breading was on the salty side but this was balanced by the tanginess of the douban mayo.

Auckland Food blog Judge Bao MeatloafMeatloaf: Beef brisket and lap cheong loaf, lotus, Sichuan pepper, ketchup.

Then came arguably the highlight of our meal. The Meatloaf felt like a very well though out dish. The flavours were balanced – the umami from the beef brisket and lap cheong (Chinese sausage) was well complemented by the sweetness of the ketchup (which was slightly spicy), with the lotus serving as the crunchy element. They weren’t kidding when they listed this under the ‘Big Plates,’ I was so glad we didn’t order sides.

I am seriously hoping they incorporate this in a bao somebody. Although, I see that they have just recently added a new bao to their menu called ‘Rick James‘ which is brisket mince in black bean sauce, fried in marrow, finished with lotus fries and mustard greens.

Auckland Food blog The Pi Piper Lychee Coconut PiePie Piper’s Lychee Coconut Cream Pie

I checked out the menu before we visited and knew I wasn’t leaving without trying The Pie Piper’s Lychee Coconut Cream Pie. Debbie advised us not to add affogato as it would overpower the pie and she was right. The flavours were so subtle that no one element overpowered another. It tasted so light and fresh which made it the perfect palate cleanser. My only regret is that I didn’t order a whole pie for takeaway.

Looking back on this meal I had two weeks ago, it just dawned on me how apt the name for the pop-up was. So many Auckland restaurants have followed the fusion model. I can’t count how many Asian fusion restaurants I have and haven’t tried. A few however have tried to push boundaries in revolutionising cuisine, e.g. Nanam. Judge Bao has aimed to revolutionise the humble bao from the get go and their early success made them one to look out for.

Long live the revolution.

You can catch Judge Bao and The Pie Piper at The Street Food Collective – 3/130 Ponsonby Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland. Their hours change so better check their pages out.