Hapunan (Huapai, Auckland, New Zealand)
This place is perhaps the most popular Filipino restaurant / food truck in Auckland probably for nearly a year now. They serve familiar name Filipino dishes, some are traditional and some with a twist but most of them are highly regarded by Aucklanders and received a lot of great positive comments like their Taho, Ginataang Adobo Rice and their ube pandesal. This was my first time here and I have a very high expectation due to the reviews I heard and read. It was one of those unintended visits but after passing by the Kumeu Garden Hub we saw Hapunan, we never knew it was here and we were under the impression it will still be further away.
So before heading back to Auckland when we did turn around the alleyway where Hapunan is located, we decided to park and give it a go. You won’t miss this place, like their food cart it’s quite easily distinguished by its lush tropical green decor. Upon entering the place, you will instantly feel like you had been transported to the Philippines. Wooden interior, with rattan decors, it felt like your grandmas’ provincial home but with a modern twist. We notice there were a lot of crews that day, probably around 5 or 6 of them including the husband-and-wife owners.
Prawn Siomai (NZ$13.00) is a Filipino style dumpling prepared with Prawns; bamboo shoots & mixed vegetables freshly steamed in a light pastry served with Ginger soy dressing & chilli garlic oil.
Then for the Dinakdakan (NZ$13.00), it is nothing similar to the Ilocano dinakdakan where it is made with grilled pork parts. This instead is a bao bun filled with Fried Chicken with ginger mayonnaise and pickled radish.
After ordering we were handed out an electronic buzzer so you can go around the vicinity and have a look at the shops, or just hang around in the comfort of your own vehicle as the place is quite tight and might not be able to accommodate you if there is someone already waiting beforehand.
Preparation was quite slow but not painfully, at least it gives you an assurance that your food is prepared fresh. For these three items we waited exactly for 23 minutes. The buzzer buzzed and everything was nicely packed in all eco-friendly packaging. We never ate it in the premises, we just brought it back home so we can enjoy it in a proper dining setting. We started eating 20 minutes after we grabbed the food, upon opening the packaging they were still hot and in perfect condition.
As we try each and everything from our orders, one thing we notice is the everything was quite salty. I don’t want to be the bearer of the bad review specially for a restaurant that serves my mother cuisine but honestly, they were salty. I was confused because other reviews were saying otherwise, my wife even told a joke that the crew might have noticed I am Filipino so they adjusted my order for the Filipino palate. That can’t be the case because lumpia most probably have been ready wrapped and the breading must have been pre made (just an assumption). Another thing that I notice is that the lumpia was a bit burnt.
Now let’s focus on the other bits leaving the saltiness and burnt lumpia. With regards to the taste, the lumpia was spot on, it indeed tasted like a longganisa, the salad on the side gave it a really nice crunch and freshness. The Dinakdakan has a slight taste of dinakdakan, it’s because of that ginger mayonnaise. Chicken was not dry, it was tender and juicy, the slaw was perfect as it cuts through the saltiness of the chicken. Finally, for the siomai, this was the saltiest because all of that chilli oil and soy sauce infused on that wonton wrapper. The siomai texture was great, it’s not all prawns but I guess it has some sort of starch and possibly jicama or water chestnut that gave it a really interesting nice texture, without the sauce its already tasty on its own. Possibly the best approach on this siomai is separating the sauce specially if you are ordering it for takeaway.
Ohh well, it was a mixed emotion. We were excited that we were able to try it and definitely this may have been a minor mistake possibly during that day. Still can’t believe why we did get the bad batch specially if you have read the many reviews online, so disappointed but will definitely come back just to see if indeed it was a bad day for them. Certainly, if it’s not for its saltiness, what they offer here is something all Filipinos in Auckland could be proud of but for now I will wait for my next visit.
Address: 316 Main Road, Huapai Kumeū, 0810, New Zealand
Phone: +64210 919 7050