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Asian family friendly restaurants in Wellington

Our daughter is now 10 years old and since her arrival we have made an effort to carry on eating out. She has grown up eating rice, bits and pieces from our plates, dipping in various sauces and is now beginning to have her own favourite dishes.

Our dining out has evolved into weekend lunches that are often on the budget side, not because we seek the cheap eats but because it is the type of the food we tend to prefer. Our lunch tends to come in at under $40 and is easily enough to be considered a main meal.

We are not to be found at cafes or in mall food courts, oh no. We visit the many Asian food restaurants and often have two or three favourites. Most of these places are not flash; they are simple places selling fresh and lovely food. 

Our eating is centred on Wellington city and Petone, with the odd jaunt to the suburbs. I have written a guide to some of our current favourites:

Cinta Malaysian Kitchen, Manners Street

Currently, Cinta is not open for lunch on a Saturday – only Sunday. It has many delights on the menu and lovely curry puffs. We do a plates-in-the-middle-and-share here, giving Miss10 a warning of the spicy dishes.

Mr Cinta is always happy to swap things around a little; we include Singapore noodles with no seafood and minimal spice in our choices.

Satay Kajang, Dixon Street

This is a place that many people walk past. We are often found sitting in the window having lunch, amused at the people who stop to look at the menu before walking on. 

Satay Kajang has lovely roti bread and I enjoy its roti canai; Miss10 loves a plate of the mie goreng, served mild and with no seafood. We have never had any issues with her being in here and she gets cravings for the satay chicken, roti and noodles.

Aroy Thai Express, Cuba Street

Aroy Thai does good, fast Asian food. Its chicken satay on sticks is very reasonable, as is the plain rice. Sitting and watching the world go by is always a joy – this is one of my go-to mummy places if I am in town with Miss10 and she gets hungry.

Satay Palace, Cuba Street

Satay Palace is another place where the window seat is the prime seat. It is at the top of Cuba Street – the one with the yellow sign, which is why we call it ‘the yellow place’. 

This is one restaurant where we don’t have set favourites, as the menu is big and there is always something new to discover. Miss10 has enjoyed noodles, stir fried rice and satay sticks in here. It also has the best acar (pickled vegetables) in Wellington and I often buy a tub to take away.

Tulsi, Petone and Johnsonville

The lunch deal at Tulsi is amazing. For around $10 you get a good portion of a curry, rice and naan. We always pay the extra $1 for a flavoured naan.

Miss10 has been eating naan, popadom and onion bhaji since she first started eating food. She has always had a love of the tamarind sauce that comes with the bhaji and has progressed from dipping in my medium heat malai kofta sauce to having her own chicken tikka masala with a garlic naan.

The staff are always happy to have us there. Before my daughter had any interest in the sauces, the staff at Tulsi would always make sure we had enough rice. We ate there recently and the three large mains came to $32.

K Sing Restaurant, Jackson Street, Petone

I am not exactly sure which country the food is from – is it Vietnamese? – but I know the food at K Sing Restaurant is amazing and fragrant. It creeps up on you as you develop a must-have crazing. You have been warned.

K Sing is only open on Saturday so your trip needs to be planned around this. Its prices are the same all day so it’s also a good place for a family evening meal. It gets busy quickly, so booking is a good idea.

Thai Country Café, Tawa

Yes, Tawa has a Thai restaurant and it is very good indeed. Thai Country Cafe is a family run restaurant and very busy at the weekend. It is not open for lunch but has one of the best kid’s menus in Wellington.

I assure you that it is worth the drive. The kids menu includes three courses and a drink for $12. The grown up food is good too and the portions are a decent size.

Emma Tucker is one of those people who thinks about food 99% of the time. When she’s not eating out with her family, she’s cooking, baking and blogging at Muffin Mum.

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  1. Shop 1, 119 Manners Street, Te Aro, Wellington City, Wellington

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