Food blogger Kalliana Kong makes up for a week lost in Level 2 Wellington.
Thinking back on Monday is a small mission because my memory is not the best. I am known as the person who cannot remember their partner’s birthday date. I blame social media for my laissez-faire attitude.
Fortunately, my cell phone camera roll serves as a visual food diary, so I can report on Monday that my husband made black pepper chicken, which was more complex and tastier than the name suggests.
We often make long or complicated recipes when working from home, and this recipe requires marinating for at least eight hours. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices, then seared and cooked in rich masala sauce, with a little tamarind to top it off. It was a lot of effort but it was worth it.
* A Food Blogger’s Guide to Wellington on a Plate
* Behind the ‘Gram: A food blogger spills tea when presenting Wellington’s goodies
* Hand-pulled noodles and a pizzeria in a converted public toilet: Wellington’s best cheap food
Tuesday is always a leftover night at our house, and the rest of the week there is usually a dramatic shift from cooking to eating out.
My original take on Level 2 dining was to return to restaurants that I had long wanted to return to, and Tatsushi (19 Edward St) was one of those.
When it moved from Victoria Street to Edward Street, moving from the street front to something off the beaten path meant I hadn’t visited it as often as I would like.
It’s unique and stands out from the two well-catered categories of Japanese cuisine in the capital. It’s not a place for a quick bite of sushi or a noisy weekend venue.
The sashimi platter was well executed and the chawanmushi / steamed savory egg pudding was an umami dream.
I’m not exactly known for being fashionably late, but I miss tacos every Tuesday and eat tacos on Thursdays. I assure you, they taste just as good on Thursday.
I’m a big fan of fish tacos. We’re a growl-loving household (I visit Wellington Seamarket, 146 Lambton Quay, on my way home from work), and I use taco night as an excuse to use the many types of hot sauce in my pantry.
My favorites right now are the kiwi fruit and Kawakawa Verde Apostle Hot Sauce, the Immolate Yourself chilli oil (both made locally in Wellington) and, for a little more, the candied jalapenos by Zeke’s Gold, made in Whāingaroa. If you love the spicy / sweet flavor profile take anything from 1 to 100.
I was reunited with my friends in Little Penang on Friday evening. I can’t really remember how Wellington was without Little Penang (44 The Terrace), but I forgot how generous the portion sizes are.
I encouraged our table to order the Nyonya platter for four (for three), three main courses, and a couple of rounds of Tiger beer to rinse off.
I missed takeout during the lockdown, but at the risk of sounding like a snob, I have to say that I missed the tasting meals the most. Not that we go out to a multi-course meal every day, but you need to remember that there was a lockdown during Wellington On A Plate and we had tons of events for the rest of the festival.
We had a booking with Atlas (36 Customhouse Quay) during the lockdown so we rebooked to try the new seven course tasting style meal. Atlas is a big hitter when it comes to a special Wellington meal.
Everything works at the location. The food and service were perfect. The grilled brassicas were my dish of the evening, which is great fun for a self-confessed meat tooth like me.
At this point you are probably wondering if I ever cook which is fair. We’re a meal planning household, and I often cook meals for a charity called Kura Kai that provides home-made frozen meals to secondary schools.
Every other weekend you will find me at home and break up a dozen meals to freeze. I made a simple spaghetti bolognese and a green chicken curry, two meals that are easy to enlarge.
The weekend ended with a surprise delivery of food – homemade wontons – from my mother. She makes weekly meals for the monks in the Cambodian Buddhist temple.
In my family, one of our mottos is “never knowingly undercooking,” which means we usually get some of the excess from their cooking sessions. I think it’s not hard to see where my love for food and showing love through food is coming from.
Kalliana Kong runs the Instagram account @wellingnoms