I can’t believe I haven’t written up a blog post for Lucky Buddha. I came here for dinner a few months ago and the meal left such an impacting impression, I’m still dreaming about it to this day. In fact, it is now in my Top 5 restaurants in Auckland! Edit: recent visits have left me rather unimpressed and dismayed that the quality has dropped.
I admit I was initially sceptical and slightly put off by the name “Lucky Buddha” when I first heard about it and also because 9 out of 10 times, fusion cuisine has left me feeling bitter about the overpriced, watered down flavours. BUT after seeing so many reviews (especially Kellie’s! Thank you for all the recommendations!), I put it on my high priority list to check it out.
The interior is quite small/ intimate and cosy, so it’s great for date night or a special occasion. We ordered 4 dishes between the two of us which was a lot of food! Lighting is very dim however, so photos were super hard to take. I actually just resorted to my phone for a few of the photos.
First off, DO NOT SKIP THE STEAMED BUNS! Every bite was an explosion of happiness on the taste buds, and the buns themselves were SO soft and squishy- the perfect pillow to lovingly encase the saucy pork. Oh my goodness, one of the best things I’ve eaten in ages. I’ve tried quite a few bao’s lately but this one takes the cake as there are so many layers to it. The pulled pork is tender without being dry, the pickled carrots give it that refreshing zing, and the peanuts the welcoming crunch. It’s the kind of dish you’d order every time you revisit because it’s that good.
The let down dish was the Tuna which I usually adore but this one needed something refreshing like pickles or lemon to lift the whole dish. They were quite thickly sliced which usually only works if the tuna is super fresh and fatty, and for $21, this made a rather expensive not-quite-entree-but-not-quite-main sized dish.
The LB’s delight was another winner, I’ve eaten a lot of tofu but these were seasoned with the perfect amount of Chinese spices and the salad itself was light and refreshing. The tofu was fried to perfection and maintained it’s crunch, while the inside consisted of firm tofu (unlike normal fried tofu where it’s airy/ puffy inside). Hands down the best tofu salad I have ever eaten, even my dining companion was impressed and claimed it his favourite dish of the night which really is something considering he loves his steak!
Lamb Ribs were on the more expensive end on the whole menu but the meat literally slid off the bone and melted in your mouth- well worth it considering the mediocre varieties out there, this is guaranteed to have you licking the bones clean! The flavour was deep and intensely caramelly, you can really taste the time and effort put into these ribs.
As I said in the beginning, I usually find that Asian fusion restaurants splurge on the decor to create that lush, exotic vibe and skimp on the flavours and serving sizes of dishes. I’ve only encountered two Asian Fusion restaurants whose food is actually worth that splurge, first being Mekong Baby, and second is Lucky Buddha which takes first place as I find on the more affordable end of the spectrum. Overall, Lucky Buddha is the kind of eatery that you’ll go raving to your friends about and still dream about the food long after.