Tasty Zone is my family’s go-to restaurant for authentic and delicious Cantonese food. This place is incredibly popular; the service is at a hurtling speed, the wait staff speak hurriedly, and dishes are on the table before you know it. The tables are cleared and readied for the next group of eager diners even before you are out the door. Tasty Zone does the range from specialty banquet dishes (shark fin, crayfish, abalone) to your more mundane noodle dishes. If you read Chinese, there is also a list of special dishes (which is why I only visit with the only two ‘real’ Chinese in the family; – my sis-in-law SA and Di).
I could have sworn I had already posted about this place; we have been here that many times. The following photos are a combination of my last three dinners at Tasty Zone; in case you confuse us as insatiable gluttons (we are, but not completely). The drawcard at Tasty Zone is its live seafood, which you get to select for your dinner. If you decide to have live seafood (or special dishes such as peking duck), remember to order these when you book your table.
As with Cantonese tradition, complimentary soup starts off the dining, – this was a simple broth made from simmering pork bones for many hours with sweet root vegetables (carrot and radish).
The two-course peking duck (Mandarin shao ya or Cantonese siu ngaap $58) is excellent at Tasty Zone, succulent meat and glossy, crunchy skin. The second course is duck san choy bow, where the meat is chopped and sautéed with vegetables and puffed vermicelli noodles, and served in lettuce bowls.
On celebratory occasions, we order the crayfish yee mein (market price). The manager brings you the vigorously flapping cray to approve before whisking it off to the kitchen for its sacrifice. We have to stop this tradition though; I am not a fan of lobster and find it a bit bland and chewy.
The fresh cod cooked Teochew-style (steamed with ginger and spring onions) is always a delight. As with fish that has just come out of the tank, it is extremely sweet and delicate.
We always ask what Chinese vegetables they have available ($20). Sometimes it is see gua (silk melon), other times you can get kang kong/ on choy (water convolvulus) or pea shoots or more commonly, gai lan (Chinese broccoli).
Lil Bro always orders a serving of prawn balls with egg yolk ($30) but I find Tasty Zone’s version on the salty side.
However, their special tofu (on the Chinese only menu) is what I always ask for.
They do a good version of pork with taro ($22), the braised meltingly tender fatty pork belly slices goes well with the starchy taro. The crispy chicken ($20) is a whole chicken served with prawn crackers.
They serve complimentary fresh fruit as a palate cleanser at the end of the meal. The worst thing about Tasty Zone is that you have to book in advance, and you may be asked to vacate your table by a certain time. Unfortunately, they are that busy. Luckily, my family and I don’t like to linger after a meal, so fast, delicious food with brusque-ish service suits us just fine. I have only seen large tables of diners of 8 to 12, so I am unsure if they cater for smaller groups.
Tasty Zone Chinese Restaurant
2/8 Torrens Road, East Tamaki, Auckland
Ph: 09 – 272 8583
Open 7 days: Lunch 11am – 2:30pm, Dinner 5:30 – 10pm