Touted as Asia's rising new city, Brisbane is no stranger when it comes to a rice feast. From bibimbap, to sushi, and choli – this just about sums up the biggest Asian flavours in the west.
1. Fat Dumpling – Looking for a quick gyoza fix? Fat Dumpling packs a crowd every night with plates of dumplings flowing out from the kitchen right into the heart of Fortitude Valley on Brunswick Street. Be prepared to be greeted in Japanese by the friendly staff and chefs as you walk through the door.
2. Maru Korean BBQ Restaurant – Maru Korean BBQ Restaurant is the place to catch a glimpse of Brisbane's Korean community. Located on the first floor of Elizabeth Street, this cosy place is a hidden haven for kimchi, bibimbap and grilled ox-tongues.
3. Chow House – Set in the midst of Brisbane's trendiest James Street, Chow House dishes up Asian inspired cuisine. Bali-lovers will be thinking of beach and bintang with the 'Chow House nasi-goreng'.
4. Nonbei Sake Bar & BBQ – Tucked away on the fringe of Fortitude Valley is a quaint little Japanese Sake Bar and BBQ restaurant. The ambience and décor comes straight from the Izakayas of Tokyo-as do the Japanese patrons and staff. Go with the all-you-can-eat buffet BBQ.
5. Fat Noodle – What is a city without a celebrity chef restaurant? Lucky for Brisbane, Luke Nguyen-a television host noted for his cooking shows in France and Vietnam- opened his kitchen in the Treasury Casino smack in the middle of the City. Ranging from a spicy Singaporean Laksa, 20-hour cooked beef broth pho and fragrant Hainanese chicken rice – Asian food aficionados will leave satisfied.
6. Little Singapore – Located on Charlotte Street, Little Singapore serves up a mixture of Singapore and Malaysian cuisine, including all-time favourites like Hokkien noodle to delight the South East Asia tastebuds
7. Pho Hien Vuong Pasteur - Point your car south and follow your nose to what has to be the most fragrant pho in the country. Tucked in the corner of the popular Chinese food headquarters at Market Square, Sunnybank this restaurant serves up big, steaming bowls of pho. Adventurous souls can opt for the whole shebang, including the innards of beasts or stick to the plain beef. You might have to pay a cabbie to get here, but at less than nine bucks a bowl, it's easy on the wallet.
8. Bamboo Basket – Located on Grey Street at South Bank, Bamboo Basket is the target for big groups of friends and extended families to enjoy the selection of dishes on the menu. The 'Xiao Long Bao' is an absolute winner for dumplings.
9. Kwan Brothers – Kwan Brothers on Alfred Street, Fortitude Valley is a hip take on Asia and a riotous bar dishing up small plates inspired by the Hawker markets of Singapore and the Isakayas of Japan, alongside bowl-sized cocktails like Big Trouble in Little China and Kwan in a Million.
10. Moga - Take bus 475 and head to Rosalie, a pretty little village just 2.5 km west of the city for one of the most authentic robota bars outside Osaka. Relax in the courtyard or tuck yourself next to the sushi train. But beware, the chef is a crack craftsman at slicing sushi and the flavour is planets apart from the usual big brands.
11. If you want to eat where the locals go, then head to Sushi Kotobuki in Kangaroo Point. You almost need a sniffer dog to find this place, but the hunt is worth it if you land the piping hot ramen and lovingly wrapped nigiri sushi. Avoid the parking problems and take a city cat to Mowbray Park, where the giant weeping fig trees and city views make a great place to picnic Japanese style.
12. Bo Lan Thai – A small eatery in the heart of Brisbane on the top end of Charlotte Street, Bo Lan Thai, serves one of the spiciest Tom Yum Soups in town. It also cooks up a mean 'pad thai' that gives Bangkok chefs a run for their money.
13.Birds Nest Restaurant in West End -Brisbane's best yakitori bar where the skewers of succulent white meat from just about every part of a chicken ('chook' to Aussies) are barbecued over little blocks of coal imported direct from Japan. Given Queensland must be the biggest exporter of coal in Asia we think this two-way trade deserves a little look.
14. Little Saigon Grill - There's a revolution going on in Brisbane that would make Uncle Ho proud. Everyday come lunch time, dozens of white collar Aussies line up at Little Saigon in Roma Street Brisbane for the assorted Goi Cuon rice rolls and handmade dumplings. It's cheap. But this place is definitely not nasty.
15. Mrs Luu's Vietnamese Canteen- is a cheap-as-chips staple for the inner west worker. At lunch time you'll find a lineup of white shirts salivating for the freshly baked Banh Mi stuffed with succulent char siu pork.
16. Outside Chinatown, a Kenmore restaurant is wokking the bellies of the western suburb. Using 2000 year old recipes from the “heavenly country” in south west China, Sichuan Bang Bang serves up a hot dose of chilly and spicy dishes against a scarlet red interior that reeks of the bygone days. Peking Duck'n Mondays are just $10 until sold out. Eat with the peace of eating certified organic and free range produce.
17. Eat Streets - Not sure what you want to eat? Then head to Eat Street Markets in Hamilton for Brisbane's version of an Asian hawker centre. Built from old shipping containers that ironically traded the world's seas, the 50 or so colourful mini restaurants bring food of the world to a single outdoors destination and offer dumplings, okonomiyaki, and authentic Malaysian laksa. http://www.eatstreetmarkets.com/. Closer to the city is a micro version of Eat Streets at The Boundary Street Markets in West End.
18. Mircch Masala - Feel the rush hour of New Delhi as you order a tiffin-sized vegetarian bite at Mircch Masala Chaat Court about 2km south of the city in Woolloongabba. The bright red “Happy Days” style diner seems a little out of place with the mouth popping food which includes chickpea choles and tangy panipuris.
19. MyThai, Auchenflower- Open for more than two decades, this traditional Thai institution has moved a few streets up the road from its original starting point and notched up the decor, but the flavours are still big and bold. The doyenne of this staple has a great sense of humour too. Try the One Nation special of steamed farm barramundi which comes at a “Hansome Price” of $29.90.
20. Sultans Kitchen - Located in Paddington, a short drive from the city, is a rustic Indian hut that blends the most fragrant spices for their vindaloos.
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Author: Tourism and Events Queensland
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