You may be familiar with the trend of loaded fries, but what about loaded dumplings? Watda is a new ‘Loaded Dumpling Joint’ in Auckland’s Ponsonby Central that’s offering an indulgent twist on the classic comfort food.
Backed by the talented team behind neighbouring Korean eatery, Gaja, Watda serves up the delicious dumplings that “break the boundaries” of the traditional street food concept.
The idea, says owner TJ Pak, started as a “passing joke” but snowballed into something bigger. “When we saw the scaffold of Ponsonby Central’s new laneway, as a passing joke, we started talking about what we would do in the spaces. What would we do if we had the lease? Then came the beers, a lot of them. From that, the ideas started snowballing, and then it wasn’t a joke anymore.”
The pared-back menu, featuring six loaded dumpling flavours and three sides, was inspired by street food staples and cheap eats from around the world. “We knew we would want to create something cheap and cheerful from the get-go. A hub that resonates with people but also has that big point of difference,” explains Pak. “A genius at the table said, ‘ravioli is simply the Italian version of a dumpling. Food has no rules. So how can we push the limits of dumplings?”.
The Cheeseburger Dumpling was the first creation, setting the tone for the “chaotic yet energised menu”. Other unique flavours include Philly Cheese Steak and Mac n Cheese. There’s even a decadently sweet Oreo flavour with banana, custard, chocolate drizzle and oreo crumbs.
While the food is casual and fun, the fit out of this small eatery is modern and minimal, spearheaded by the team behind Wonder Group.