By Mel Fernandez, Editor, ‘Travel Galore’ www.travelgalore.nz
ONEHUNGA, Auckland – If you are craving some classic Cebuano street food in Auckland the go-to place is ‘Piknik’ in Onehunga – situated a stone’s throw away from Dressmart.
It shot to fame in August last year when Leo Fernandez, Master Chef New Zealand 2015 runner-up, was based there briefly to promote the soft opening of this speciality Filipino takeaway.
Then in January this year ‘Piknik’ got a further boost of patrons when Lloyd Macrohon and his team introduced Auckland Pinoys to this new takeaway’s authentic yet reasonably priced Cebu street food favourites at the Sinulog festival on the North Shore.
“As my partners and I love cooking you get to taste some of our family recipes at ‘Piknik’”, says Lloyd, 39, a successful computer whizz who hails from Cebu. “Most of the Cebuanos who have tried our food have really enjoyed it and keep coming back.
“We have a number of good traditional Cebuano dishes over there – la paz batchoy, ngohiong, siomai, steamed rice, Cebuano-style longanisa and tapas.”
Some regulars FMN spoke to during our first visit to ‘Piknik’ gave the thumbs up to this concept takeaway. A Pinoy youth who works nearby said that he drops in for a quick lunch and the ‘sisig’ burrito is his favourite. Family shoppers drifting over from the outlet stores prefer takeaways and snack on some entrees whilst waiting for their orders.
Lloyd concurs that the concept of this takeaway is akin to the popular ‘Noodle House’ and ‘Chowking’ franchises. He has similar ambitions and intends to open a chain of ‘Piknik’ outlets in the future. At the moment he reckons they are still in the learning phase of the operation as new dishes are being added progressively, as well as building the ‘Piknik’ brand.
Although Lloyd and his wife Christine are novices in the food industry, the company is part of a bigger hospitality group based in Cebu, which provides the support, inspiration and guidance the company needs.
‘Piknik’ is one of the jewels in the group company’s eateries. The others are Azon in Parnell, where Leo’s culinary vision takes flight and Kibo in Panmure, where authentic Japanese cuisine is crafted by a versatile Pinoy chef who has worked in restaurants in Japan for around 15 years.
If you are in the Onehunga area it is worthwhile checking out this ‘cute’ takeaway at 6 Upper Municipal Place. It is reminiscent of the typical carenderia (fast food) cafes in Cebu with a big helping of traditional warmth and hospitality.
Also, if you are ever in Cebu, try and visit Piknik’s sister companies, Albur’s in Mabolo and the stunning Scape Skydeck in Mactan.