Awarded by Kerry Tyack, Food and dining expert & advisor
Chinese food providers are everywhere, scattered throughout the motu like rice seedlings in a paddy field. The problem is that for such a long time the food has been largely amorphous and without specific regional distinction. Nowadays, the food educated Kiwi is keen to know more about the provenance of their food, including Chinese. Is it Sichuan? Is it Cantonese or Hunan? Is it fish-based Shandong? If you are looking for a modern take on regional Chinese food then the grub at Mr Hao in Dominion Road will appeal. Mr Hao opened early in 2020 and has become a hot spot for those in the know. The concept is based on ‘Shaokao’, the late-night dine and drink spots popular in Shanghai. Mr Hao is run by a team that knows exactly how to please. The menu includes dishes from throughout China. They are all good but one that will have you salivating like no other is the spicy fried chicken, a giant platter of superbly roasted chicken bites served on a deep bed of roasted red chillies. Gorg-e-ous! Spicy but not melt your tongue spicy, beer-invitingly salty, and capable of making you demand more and more. If you prefer something a little tamer, opt for the chicken wings, a similar dish with the heat turned down a notch and touch of a citrusy flavour. The menu at Mr Ha is food to share, even spice-shy kids who will still relish the opportunity to dig their hands into the huge mound of red and gold that distinguishes the best spicy chicken around.