Queenstown – this week I have been mostly eating…

Monday was such a warm, still day that it seemed crazy to sit inside to eat. So I settled on going to the mall and getting sushi from the foodcourt.  Then off to sit on the beach beside Lake Wakatipu. I got an Inari, a Teriyaki Tofu thing, a vegetarian roll and an avocado roll. More of a snack than a lunch but I’d had a two-part breakfast. Total cost $7.  Top marks for the Teriyaki Tofu – something outside the regular vegetarian options and it was yummy!

This is the life!

Sushi picnic on the shore of Lake Whakatipu
Sushi picnic on the shore of Lake Wakatipu

For dinner I got takeaways from Thai SiamVegetarian Pud Thai (aka Pad Thai).  I sat on the deck of the motel I’m staying at and enjoyed the view.  Although it looks cool and overcast in the photo, it was lovely and warm and the food was delicious.

I couldn’t quite eat it all, but I had a damn good try!  Pad Thai isn’t a dish that I’d normally order, I usually go with something with a few more vegetables but this was especially good.  I think I needed the carbs 🙂

Interestingly, they give a 15% discount for takeaways – it would have been $21.50 if I’d dined in.

Pad Thai from Thai Siam - while admiring the view
Pad Thai from Thai Siam – while admiring the view

Tuesday was off to work just outside Arrowtown, a small gold mining town not far from Queenstown.  So for lunch we drove into Arrowtown and had lunch at Cafe Mondo.  They have an extensive all day breakfast and lunch menu.  I picked the Mushrooms from the breakfast menu.  It was described as Garlic mushrooms, white wine & cream sauce, toasted ciabatta & a poached egg.  I’m a sucker for anything mushrooms and the cream sauce is a bonus.  Seriously, I should be the size of a house…  Total was $14.50.  This was very tasty, not as creamy as I expected, the sauce was actually very light and thin but good flavour and the poached egg was cooked to perfection – I wish I could cook one that well!

My workmate T got the Thai Beef Salad which looked very pretty, nice presentation albeit way too healthy!  (not photographed) 😉

And the weather was warm so we sat outside in the courtyard.  Very nice!  I highly recommend a visit to Arrowtown if you are in the area.

Cafe Mondo - Mushrooms
Cafe Mondo – Mushrooms

Tuesday night was dinner with a couple of the girls from work.  We decided on Thai and went to the closest one near the office which happened to be My Thai Lounge.  This has more unusual Thai food and though they say street food, the classy atmosphere and service gives it more of a contemporary feel.  They have some really unusual options on the menu and have a separate, extensive vegetarian menu on request. I ordered the Hot & Spicy Tempeh – Wok-fried organic tempeh combined with shitake mushrooms, iceberg, chilli, garlic & basil in a spicy sauce.  I couldn’t go past the tempeh dish, I think its the first time I’ve ever seen it on a menu.

While it was ok, I’m not sure I’d order it again.  It wasn’t spicy and the celery was a bit stringy.

My Thai Lounge - Hot and Spicy Tempeh
My Thai Lounge – Hot and Spicy Tempeh

So after eating all of the above, I decided on Wednesday I’d better get healthy and stock up on my veggies – all in one meal. So off to one of the best places in Queenstown for salads at Habebes.  Each day they do a dozen or more different salads which you can get a mixed plate of any number you like, with various meats, falafel or in a wrap with hummus and sauces.   I think this was about $14.  As an aside, the wraps are great to get as takeaway and take to the waterfront like I did with the sushi on Monday.

And look at all that vegetably goodness.  Very nice and healthy… I won’t let that happen again!

Habebes - Salad plate with Falafel
Habebes – Salad plate with Falafel

Wednesday night, my workmate G and I went to Madam Woo on a recommendation from some of our Queenstown based workmates.  Although it sounds like a brothel, its Chinese and Malay style street food.  Menu is here.  I got the Curry Laksa Noodle Soup (vegetarian).  

This was way spicier than I expected and very warm and filling!   It was $20.  I’m not sure I’d revisit though, there weren’t a lot of vegetarian options on the menu.  I would order the soup again but I think I’d order some Jasmine rice to go with it, to soak up the curry sauce.

G got Leong’s Hainanese Chicken Rice (not photographed) and said it was delicious.  It had sliced chillis on top and she said it was spicy but there wasn’t any left on her plate so it must have been good!

Madam Woo - Curry Laksa Noodle Soup
Madam Woo – Curry Laksa Noodle Soup

Lunch on Thursday was amazing! But I forgot my camera and then my boss said it is one of his hidden secret gems in Queenstown, and ordered me not to tell anyone on Facebook in case the secret gets out (so likely I will revisit next week and post about it then 😉 ).

Dinner on Thursday was a recommendation again – Saigon Kingdom a Vietnamese restaurant in the Steamer Wharf building near the Earnslaw dock.  I was dining early and it was completely deserted, but I got a warm welcome and extremely prompt service.  They had a number of vegetarian options on the menu and I chose the Vegetarian Fried Rice.  It was amazing!  I will definitely be going back.  It was a massive serving with tofu and vegetables and only $16.50.  A complete bargain for Queenstown.

Saigon Kingdom - Vegetarian Fried Rice
Saigon Kingdom – Vegetarian Fried Rice

On Friday, I ended up in Cromwell for most of the day.  My workmates and I took a lunch break and went to Nichol’s Garden Cafe which like its name suggests is a garden centre and cafe combined.  They have cabinet food (of which there was little or no choice for vegetarians). Upon checking out their blackboard menu, there were a couple of vegetarian options.  They offered a “Garden Breakfast” which was a bunch of breakfast items including bacon and sausage.  As this is all cooked to order I just asked if they could do it without these items.  “No problem” essentially was the answer.    This wasn’t cheap though at around $20 which I thought was steep for lunch but it was very tasty and a generous portion.

Nichol's - Vegetarian Breakfast
Nichol’s – Vegetarian Breakfast

So that wraps up this week. Next week its back to Queenstown so will be sure to let you know what culinary delights I find then.

Have a good weekend!



    • New Zealand will seem very expensive after SE Asia. But then I find Queenstown is much more expensive than Christchurch or even Auckland. Even the supermarkets there are more expensive. If you want to keep food costs down, head to a supermarket but pick a big chain one like Pak’n’Save or Countdown. Or a mall food court where you can usually get a good meal for less than $10.

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