The Best Korean Food in Auckland: BannSang

The Best Korean Food in Auckland: BannSang

Guys, I think I found the best Korean food in Auckland and I’m pretty happy about it. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that I lived in Korea for nearly two and a half years. It’s painfully obvious that I didn’t really enjoy living in the hectic and often one-dimensional culture, but one thing is for certain: I loved the food.

While I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of Korean food in Auckland, I quickly realized it comes at a high cost. Gone are the days of spending $7 USD on an amazing Korean meal. It doesn’t hurt to pay a bit more for some quality Korean food in Auckland, though.

While it’s certainly no Kimbap Cheonguk (aka my favorite Korean “fast food” joint), BannSang was a perfect Korean food fix on a chilly winter evening.  Despite being a pretty sizeable restaurant, the place was totally packed! BannSang’s menu is a perfect combination of the typical cheap, quick meals one would find in a kimbap shop along with higher quality choices such as the ever-popular barbecue dishes such as pork belly and marinated beef.

I find I have intense and sporadic cravings for kimbap, which unfortunately has not been properly fulfilled since leaving Korea. It’s a shame that BannSang doesn’t offer kimbap on its menu, but I can understand it could be difficult due to the high volume of customers. There are plenty of other traditional options, though. BannSang offers three types of pajeon: seafood, spring onion and kimchi. We opted for the kimchijeon and I can honestly say it was one of the best Korean pancakes I’ve ever eaten. It was oddly fluffy and the amount of kimchi included within the batter was generous.

Cost of the kimchi pancakes: 16 NZD ($11.39 USD)

best korean food in auckland

I’d been craving a warm dolsot bibimbap for months before finally making it to BannSang. If you’re reading this in confusion, I’ll break it down.

Dolsot bibimbap is a classic Korean dish combining rice, mixed vegetables, a protein (usually beef) and a fried egg. The ingredients are laid upon a bed of rice and served in a steaming hot pot. Everyone is different, but before I mix everything together I like to press on the rice a bit to get it a bit crispy. I also prefer to heat the yolk up a bit on the side of the bowl before I stir.

Although it was delicious, I’m not going to lie, it didn’t taste like Korea to me; there is something to be said about traditional vs. trendy.

Cost of the dolsot bibimbap: 14 NZD ($9.96 USD)

best korean food in auckland

James decided to order budae jjigae, a dish he learned to love immensely while living there. Budae jjigae is sometimes referred to as Johnson Tang as a homage to the former U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson. After the Korean war, many Koreans lived in extreme poverty and relied on reserve items from nearby U.S. military bases. From there, they were able to gather ingredients like SPAM, hot dogs macaroni and baked beans. They combined those items with more traditional Korean ingredients such as kimchi, gochujang (sugary/spicy red pepper paste), ramen noodles and fresh mushrooms, onions and garlic. PROTIP: The eclectic mixture is a well-known hangover remedy in South Korean culture. Cheers!

Cost of the budae jjigae: 15 NZD ($10.68 USD)

BannSang’s concoction didn’t disappoint and brought James back to our days in the Land of the Morning Calm. Both of our meals (and that kimchijeon ::praise hands emoji::) were definitely praise worthy and worth returning for. My only critique is that we weren’t offered kimchi as a side dish with our meals – blasphemy! With that said, if you’re on a quest for Korean food in Auckland, this place is it. I do recommend getting there a bit earlier than you plan on eating as there will most likely be a wait.

BannSang is located in the heart of Auckland’s Central Business District. Be sure to get there well before you’re hungry so you don’t get hangry while waiting in line!

Address: 1c/47 High St, Auckland 1010

Are you interested in seeking out some of the best Korean food in Auckland, New Zealand? I've got you covered! This place is to die for. Find out more by clicking through or pin it to your favorite Pinterest board for later!

Where’s your favorite foreign food restaurant? What type of cuisine is it?



  1. October 25, 2016 / 1:01 am

    I’ve just started trying Korean food. It’s all new to me, but so far I like it. But no matter how hungover I am, there’s no way I am ever eating spam. haha I’ll stick to the more traditional Korean food without any american influence.

    • October 25, 2016 / 3:29 am

      Fair enough! I’m not a fan of Spam, either. It’s a huge staple in Korean culture, though. It’s quite expensive and people give and receive it on major holidays there as a sign of respect.

  2. October 25, 2016 / 10:28 am

    The food looks delicious and it’s good to know there’s an authentic Korean restaurant in Auckland. I like Korean food but found that while in Korea, being served kimchi for breakfast, lunch and dinner was a bit too much.

    • October 27, 2016 / 8:40 am

      How much would a meal cost at BannSang? The food certainly looks authentic and if you hadn’t told us the restaurant was in Auckland, I’d certainly believe it was actually in Korea.

      • October 27, 2016 / 6:49 pm

        Each of the dishes ranged from 14-17 NZD. There were some larger shared portions such as dak galbi (a spicy chicken hotpot dish) for around 32-40 NZD. It was definitely far more expensive than Korea, but tasted great!

  3. October 25, 2016 / 11:00 pm

    BannSang’s menu sounds fabulous – thanks for the tip! We LOVE Korean food, and we’ve just started realizing the accessibility of being able to get to Auckland cheaply and easily from Australia – I have a feeling we’ll have many trips there in 2017!

    • October 26, 2016 / 3:59 am

      Awesome! Yeah there’s so much to see in New Zealand. I’d only just arrived before jetting off to America for nearly a month, so I’m getting back into the swing of things here. Let me know if you have any questions!

  4. October 26, 2016 / 3:30 am

    Awww I missed your posts so much! Ummm, agreed. Def don’t miss Korea but I am having a huge craving for bbq! Luckily HCMC has a Korean town that has a number of the bbq joints, just way more expensive! Mhmmm dolsot bibimbap sounds sooo good right now. I LOVEEEE SPAM (and any kind of processed food, really the Filipino in me!) I can’t believe I never had that soup when I was in Korea!

  5. October 26, 2016 / 7:13 pm

    This is a great heads up for when I head to South Korea in Feb. Now I’ll know what to try thanks

    • October 27, 2016 / 6:53 pm

      Sure thing! If you have any questions or need rec’s for hostels or home stays let me know!

    • November 19, 2016 / 1:33 am

      Awesome! Definitely eat lots of the soups!

  6. October 26, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    wooooow!!! Everything looks delicious. I am a huuuuge fan of Korean food and am always looking for the best Korean restaurants. I actually want to visit Korea specifically for the food!

    • November 19, 2016 / 1:33 am

      The food is great!! I hope you get there soon!

  7. Julie kern
    October 26, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    I’m literally salivating from my camper van in Germany right now. Maybe I should just skip Korea altogether and go straight to Auckland for the noms!

    • October 27, 2016 / 6:53 pm

      Haha! I think the food in Korea is definitely more authentic, but I advise you don’t travel there alone as it’s sort of a taboo to eat alone/some places won’t serve you if you’re alone ::insert wide-eyed emoji here::

  8. October 26, 2016 / 8:31 pm

    Aw man. This post makes me SOOO hungry! I hope I get to visit and eat all the yummy things here in the near future!

  9. October 26, 2016 / 8:40 pm

    I loooove Korean food, especially bibimbap! When I lived in Newcastle (Australia) there was an amazing Korean BBQ place just a few blocks from my apartment. It’s been tricky to find good Korean food in Washington State though…
    It’s nice how finding a new restaurant can bring back the good memories and nostalgia of living overseas!

    • October 27, 2016 / 6:51 pm

      I’ve heard there is really great Korean food in Australia – particularly in Newcastle! How funny. There are so many people studying there, though and who’ve moved over there so it makes sense, right? I hope you’re able to find some in Washington. The thing with Korean food is when it’s bad, it’s really bad. I had some really bad food here in Auckland, too. Thanks for reading!

  10. October 27, 2016 / 5:08 am

    My korean food knowledge is limited to about 3 dishes (including bibimbap). This version does look yummy, although I do agree with you that sometimes dishes are best left as traditional, rather than trendy.

    • October 27, 2016 / 6:49 pm

      Awesome! Yeah, the bibimbap was delicious but it just lacked that “home cooked” taste that I love so much.

  11. October 27, 2016 / 9:18 am

    The pancake looks amazing. I haven’t had Korean food in awhile and now I am craving it.

    • October 27, 2016 / 6:48 pm

      The pancake was legit the best part of the meal. It was probably better than any pancake I’d eaten in Korea, actually. I’ve been looking at the markets here to find the mixture as I like making the pancakes on a rainy day. Thanks for reading!

  12. October 27, 2016 / 11:09 am

    I have eaten a lot of Korean food in my life but never have seen or heard of that dish =O
    I mean I was in Korea and don’t remember seeing that! Anyways I think my favorite is Vietnamese food, so much variety !

    • October 27, 2016 / 6:47 pm

      Oh really? I am a vegetarian so I haven’t eaten it, but my friends ate it often after nights out, etc. It’s very popular in the army as it’s cheap and easy to make. Thanks for reading!

  13. October 27, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how much food we can get in Korea for such a low cost? It’s just stunning. I’m glad you found something there to eat because it would be hard to go off Korean food all together. Some things they just do so well.

    • October 27, 2016 / 6:46 pm

      The cost of food in Asia in general is impressive. It was definitely great to be able to fulfil the craving of some Korean eats!

  14. October 27, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    I’m slowly becoming a fan of Korean food. We have a fairly big population here in Los Angeles, and there are seem to be some very popular restaurants. Though, I’ve never been to Korea, so I don’t have much to compare it to (unlike you). 🙂 Glad that you found something to ease at least some of the food cravings in Auckland!

    • October 27, 2016 / 6:44 pm

      I’m sure the Korean food in LA is quality as there are so many students, immigrants and American-Koreans living there. I think you’re in luck as far as location goes! Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!

  15. October 27, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    It is always a feeling of euphoria when you find your favorite food outside the country! Stuff your face time.

    • October 27, 2016 / 6:43 pm

      I totally agree! It was a bit more expensive that we’re used to but totally worth it. Thanks for reading!

  16. October 27, 2016 / 6:38 pm

    I have never had Korean food but some of this sounds delicious. I think it might be a while before we ead to Auckland but I think I need to seek some out from somewhere near us to try.

  17. October 27, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    I loved living in Auckland and only went for Korean food once when I was there. Not sure which restaurant though. The food looks great in the pics. Wish I was back in NZ and could try this place 🙂

  18. October 27, 2016 / 8:21 pm

    All the photos on this posts look so great. Am hungry now, THANKS 😉

  19. October 28, 2016 / 3:16 am

    I love Korean food, and luckily we have some great options in Toronto. Now I know where to get some when I visit New Zealand!

  20. November 10, 2016 / 4:10 am

    Yuuuuum, that looks so good! I had been missing that typically Korean taste that you only get from heaps of gochujang (why can no other chilli paste do the job???) while I was in India. Had galguksu as my first welcome home meal 🙂 That kimchijeon looks too good- just missing a generously sized side order of makgeolli haha. Btw, do you find that it’s much easier to find vegetarian adaptations of Korean food outside of Korea than it ever was in Korea?

    • November 18, 2016 / 9:57 pm

      Awesome!! Yeah there’s some sort of crack in Korean gochujang. It’s definitely easier outside of Korea so I’m a happy gal! It was a bit weird to have tofu in the bibimbap, though!

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