Photographs: David Straight
We’ve been waiting for someone to do this. Auckland has a plethora of noodle shops of many hues and the food is good, sure – but until now, no one has taken that food and put it somewhere fun. Now, the folks behind the Blue Breeze Inn and Moo Chow Chow have opened Chop Chop in a tiny corner of Ponsonby Central.
It’s a punk ramen bar, essentially. One big table out the front, stools around an open kitchen, a sort of beach shack fitout with manuka branches and the Eagles playing on the stereo. It reminds me of my favourite Tokyo ramen shops: loud and steamy and fast. There are no bookings, it’s a tight squeeze, the service is friendly and efficient, and nothing in the place costs more than $20. There is passable beer and fantastic cocktails. In other words: this is exactly what you want.
But the reason Chop Chop works is that the food is really good – the pork bun ($8) is wonderful, and there are a few dishes that aren’t ramen but are sort of pan-asian, and they’re great too – the zingy egg net ($18), a delicate egg pancake wrapped around minced prawn, Vietnamese mint, chilli, shallots and ginger; the soft-shell crab ($18) comes with crunchy cucumber and a sesame miso dressing. But the ramen is the main event: the pork comes with luscious big chunks of pork belly ($18) and the 12-hour organic beef brisket ($18) comes with an entirely unnecessary but very welcome piece of bacon. Officially obsessed. SFG
HOURS Seven days, 12pm to midnight
ADDRESS Ponsonby Central, 140 Ponsonby Road. ponsonbychopchop.co.nz
IMPORTANT DETAILS Go now.