The pervasive aroma of frying foods, roasting meats and caramelizing sugars drifts out of an underground parking deck. The dull hum of a thousand voices rises and falls like the chorus of a distant rock song. Children zip down the sidewalk dragging their parents behind. Teenagers loiter on a set of stairs beside a dumpster.
Inside the car park, vendors call out in various languages, dialects and accents. The pungent tang of cooking oil increases as mounds of steaming food heaped behind the stalls come into view.
In the back corner, Toro Churro passes out sweet, Spanish-style goods. Farther down, a colossal grill top steams, spitting water and oil as dumplings are cooked and coated in soy sauce. The Belgium waffle seller opens an iron, producing a thick, golden waffle to be loaded with syrup, whipped cream, fruits or chocolate. A squeal of laughter pierces the air as a child runs past holding what appears to be a massive, twirling French fry on a stick.
Welcome to the night market.
The Auckland Night Market started in 2010 with one location under The Warehouse in Pakuranga, a suburb of Auckland within a 30-minute drive from city center. It has grown to six locations, each open one night a week from Wednesday to Sunday in different suburbs of Auckland.
“I work all the markets around Auckland,” Damir Klum, owner and operator of Toro Churro, said. “But this one [The Warehouse] is traditional. I’ve been coming here for six years.”
Each of its weatherproof locations see thousands of tourists and locals descend on stalls set up for food, goods, music and entertainment. The idea came from Victoria Yao, an entrepreneur originally from Shanghai, China.
The market offers a unique experience of comradery, music, festivities, food and samples of local businesses. Some stalls are exclusive to the market and most serve as an introduction to the local staple.
Visitors to the city can get a taste of the diverse ethnicities, cultures and groups of people that reside in New Zealand’s largest urban city in one convenient location. Young and old, local and international, all are welcome here.
Free admittance to the market makes it a budget-friendly event, where food, shopping and entertainment all gather together. Stallholders pay a fee to reserve their space, sell their merchandise and set their own prices. No matter where travelers stay in Auckland, a night market is within reach of a quick Uber or bus ride.
In addition to the plethora of foodstuffs, the market teems with stallholders advertising cell phone accessories, massages, jewelry, toys and clothing.
“I like the diversity,” Russell Berg, a frequent Auckland Night Market visitor, said. “You can come down and everything is here. It’s casual. It’s just relaxing.”
Live Local for a Night
Enjoy an evening of indulgence and community enjoyment at Auckland's night market
Jonathan Norris +
More information and directions to each Auckland Night Market location can be found at aucklandnightmarkets.co.nz