[Photographs: David Straight]
Queen Chef isn’t much more than a kitchen down the back of a Korean supermarket in the Wairau Valley, which is quickly revealing itself to be one of the great unexplored places to eat in Auckland. You’ll find it up a long driveway, wedged between big box retail selling curtains and lighting and outdoor furniture. Yes.
It is a singular treat, cheerful and brightly lit. Two Korean ladies make their own kim chi – get the radish as well as the cabbage – which they let you try while you work out what you want. They also make big, chewy steamed pork buns ($5) and flat pancakey sort of things but best of all, each morning they cook up a pot of soup with beef spare ribs and kim chi ($10 a bowl). It is ready by about 12 – spicy and warming, home-style fare. There are a couple of plastic stools at the counter if you’d like to eat in, aisles of instant noodles and condiments at your back. They seem entirely delighted – if surprised – you’re there, and this is possibly our favourite thing about it. SFG
HOURS Open seven days from 11am.
ADDRESS Unit 10, 20 Link Drive, Wairau Valley, ph 444-8100.
IMPORTANT DETAILS Loads of parking outside.