Before Paul and Pim, the owners of Wok Express started their business – they were huge fans of all types of Asian cuisines, both of them loving Thai, Chinese, Malaysian and Vietnamese dishes for their variation, use of fresh and exciting ingredients, and different tastes and flavors that come from different regions. But living in New Zealand they did not always have these options to eat as often as they would like and the ingredients and tastes here are also quite different to Asia.
Food fusion is a concept that started to make an impact on the culinary world a few decades ago as a way for chefs and diners to try some interesting combinations, especially of radically different cuisines to create exciting and new food. It’s a concept that often will have restaurants specializing in one cuisine with a couple of fusion dishes for people who want to try some new ideas.
When we started Wok Express, we wanted to take this concept and turn it on its head by making fusion style food the backbone of our menu with a pan-Asian focus and some European or Kiwi additions to make sure we could appeal to our local crowd while still providing new and exciting food.
Our head chef and main recipe guru – Pim, is originally from Thailand, where she learned how to use a wok at a young age. When our business concept was being formulated and discussed – it didn’t take long to realize that many Asian cuisines prepare and cook their food in very similar ways, but with sometimes totally different ingredients.
Pad Thai Wok Express
This meant, for Pim that she could quite easily pick up the ability to create a Vietnamese dish using her Thai techniques, but with different ingredients. The fact that most of the food we looked at including on our menu could be cooked in a wok, lead to us choosing the name Wok Express – Wok to represent any food that can be cooked in a wok and express to indicate that we focused on takeaway food quickly cooked to order while you wait.
As well as having Pim use her natural techniques with different ingredients to create and cook Asian-style fusion, we have made an effort to also employ experienced cooks and chefs from all over Asia. This allowed them to bring their experience and knowledge of their home food and to teach our kitchen teams a deeper understanding of the food they are cooking. We have had Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian and of course, kiwi chefs involved over the past 16 years to build and develop our menu to create what we feel is one of the best Asian fusion takeaway menus in Auckland.
Of course, the whole point of fusion is to actually mix some different cuisines together and here in New Zealand, we love our vegetables and balanced meals and this has been kept in mind when we have developed many of our items for takeaway. Having Asian dishes with European-style ingredients and meal styles has allowed us to develop a reputation for quality Asian fusion food that has had our customers coming back for more, for years.
Malaysian Curry Wok Express
Many Chinese dishes, for example, are predominately meat which is great if sharing but for many customers, they want their vegetables too. By making our own rules conceptually, we can do whatever we feel like to ensure customer satisfaction without any limitations whatsoever. That’s why some of our stir-fries can have up to ten different veggies like Broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, celery, courgette, onion, carrot, capsicum, green bean, and kale.
One of our most famous dishes is incorporating coated crispy fried chicken chunks into some of our dishes. Kiwis love crispy chicken and introducing this into stir-fries and noodles has been a huge hit and these dominate the majority of our orders these days.
Dragon Noodles Wok Express
Another benefit of having a Pan Asian Fusion menu is that our regular returning customers never get bored. There is always a new dish to try from any cuisine and we often receive positive feedback from customers that they were glad they tried that new dish – with Rendang (a Malaysian classic) is a good example. Most customers had never heard or tried it but once they did they loved it and it is now a top seller.
We cannot imagine a menu now without all the popular Pan Asian Fusion dishes like sesame beef, Singapore noodles, Rendang, shanghai noodles, Szechuan, nasi goreng, mee goreng, pad thai, black bean, kung pao and even teriyaki and yakisoba noodles from Japan. We may be a bit biased, but we really feel our food at Wok Express is exactly what you should be ordering when you have a craving for Asian-style food, but like having a touch of New Zealand as well. We hope to see you soon at Wok Express for a delicious fusion takeaway.