I'm a freelance writer who likes to wax lyrical about hiking, eating, art, gardening, and the joys of living a little like a gypsy.
Published August 13th 2014
Eat your way through Asia without even leaving Brisbane
There are 48 official Asian countries (or thereabouts; depends on who's counting!) and our humble little city is, impressively, home to restaurants specialising in the cuisine of 23 of these countries. Pretty neat for a city with a population of just over two million, no?
I've put together this handy guide to help you eat your way through Asia without even having to leave the western comforts (Seatbelts! Road rules! Free toilet paper in public toilets!) of your darling hometown.
Located in Milton, Chopan Charcoal has been on the receiving end of loads of flattering reviews on Trip Advisor. Quote: "A hidden humble gem with authentic and seriously tasty food". Sounds pretty good to me.
2. Experience Bangladesh at Bengal Kitchen
It's a good idea to dine in at Bengal Kitchen, because this Wooloongabba restaurant is seriously cute. While its exterior is unassuming, inside are tables that are tented in bright colours and traditional patterns- you'll think you're in the heart of Colombo.
3. Experience China at King of Kings and Bamboo Basket
If you're in the mood for something that doesn't call for wearing fancy pants, go to King of Kings, in Fortitude Valley. So, the place is a little dingy and what you would call 'worse for wear', but the food is still pretty awesome and their yum cha is always a win. If I recall correctly, it's also BYO, so, hurrah!
Also, Bamboo Basket in Southbank and Portside specialise in Shanghainese cuisine so, if you're after something regionally specific, head this way.
Bamboo Basket, Southbank
4. Experience India at Punjabi Palace and Southern Spice
Having trawled through India twice, I can vouch that the food in this colourful country changes from area to area. To try something oriented toward northern Indian cuisine, visit Punjabi Palace. If it's the south that is calling you, then Southern Spice in Upper Mt Gravatt is your best shot.
5. Experience Indonesia at Jakarta
New Farm is the home of Jakarta, a great little restaurant that's rich with Indonesian decor and music. Featuring dishes from several of Indonesia's regions, including Bali, Java and Padang, Jakarta is your place for Indonesian food dreams.
6. Experience Iran at The Persian Restaurant
The Empire of Persia (now Iran) is the home of some seriously fine dishes. The Persian Restaurant, in Bardon, is one place your can have your Persian fix, otherwise, you can go to Zafron on Brunswick, in New Farm.
7. Experience Iraq
So, these restaurants aren't strictly Iraqi, but you will definitely get a taste of what the Middle East has to offer at Mecca Bah, Caravanserai and Byblos. I've dined at all three restaurants, and was pleased with the service, ambience and, of course, menu.
Caravanserai, West End
8. Experience Japan at Sono, Harajuku Gyoza and Mizu
I just love Japanese food, so I couldn't stop at suggesting one restaurant. If you're after haute cuisine, then Sono is the place you should go. For something with a fun and lively ambience (it's great for birthday celebrations - trust me!) then Harajuku Gyoza in Fortitude Valley is your home girl. Mizu, which is located in both West End and Tenerife, offer superb food and wonderful service, although the vibe can be a bit hit and miss.
9. Experience Kazakhstan at Kazakh-Khan
I was more than a little excited at this rare find! Yes, it's located in a plaza, and, yes, it is located in a very suburban plaza, but Kazakh-Khan, in Cannon Hill, is your only chance of experience Kazakhstanese delights in Brisney. Give it a go - it will probably be worth your while.
10. Experience South Korea at Maru, Sunny Seoul and Tobaki
For some authentic Korean BBQ in a convenient location, head to Maru, in Brisbane's CBD. If travel isn't an issue for you, get yourself down to Sunnybank, pronto, where you will fine Sunny Seoul BBQ and Tobaki BBQ Restaurant, because "one can never tire of BBQ" (A Korean proverb - true story).
11. Experience Lebanon at ROUJ
The guys at ROUJ, in Rosalie, are passionate about food. Better yet, ROUJ's dining style is rooted in Lebanese tradition, so you'll definitely be experience something that's both delicious and authentic.
12. Experience Malaysia at Malaya Corner
There's no better place to get your plate of Malaysia than at Malaya Corner, Sunnybank. The food here is better than practically anything you can get on a stopover at Air Asia's KCCL budget airport in Malaysia, so don't hesitate.
13. Experience Mongolia at Sizzling Mongolian BBQ House
Good news! There's a Sizzling Mongolian BBQ House in both Taringa and Loganholme, so whether your 'hood is in Brisbane's north or south, experiencing Mongolia shouldn't be too much of a trek. Get yo' sizzle on, now.
14. Experience Myanmar (Burma) at River Kwai
Nestled in Ormeau is River Kwai, who specialise in both Thai and Burmese cuisine. It's a bit of a hike from Brisbane's CBD, and I can't vouch for the place, personally, but if skipping Burma on your Brisbane-Meets-Asia foodie adventure is something you feel you'll regret, thae you simply just have to go.
15. Experience Nepal at Himalayan Café
Behind quaint blue and red doors of Himalayan Cafe, New Farm, lies a culinary masterpiece: momos, goat dishes, sherpa chicken, you name the Himalayan-esque dish, and you'll find it, here.
16. Experience The Philippines at Best Friends Kainan Sa Valley
In Fortitude Valley's McWhirter's Centre dwells a hidden Asian culinary gem: spring rolls, noodle dishes, fried rice and super awesome, super authentic Filipino desserts. Get on it.
17. Experience Russia at Torba
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Torba, located on Southbank's Little Stanley St, is your Russian dining go-to. You'll find everything from cavier, to goulash, blimi and a number of other authentic Russian dishes.
18. Experience Singapore at Little Singapore
In Sunnybank's Market Square stands Little Singapore and, as the restaurant's name suggests, it is the place to go to for everything Singaporean.
19. Experience Sri Lanka at Fire and Spice
Coorparoo's Fire & Spice has both Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine on its fragrant menu. Offering dine in or takeaway, you can enjoy Sri Lankan in a relaxing public setting or in the comfort of your own home.
20. Experience Taiwan at Yang's Cuisine
Like dumplings? Noodles? And does yoghurt tea sound appealing (or, at least, interesting?) Then visit Yang's Cuisine, a casual hole-in-the-wall diner in Brisbane's deep south (the deep south being Sunnybank Hills).
21. Experience Thailand at Green Papaya
There are dozens of Thai restaurants in Brisbane, but perhaps none serve food as fresh and delicious than the guys at Green Papaya, Woolloongabba.
Green Papaya, Woolloongabba
22. Experience Turkey at Mado and Ahmet's
To of Brisbane's better known Turkish restaurants - Mado and Ahmet's - are located in the same precinct, that being, Southbank. (Ahmet's also has a restaurant in Bulimba.) Why not give both a whirl and decide for yourself which one restaurant you prefer?
23. Experience Vietnam at Libertine
This is Vietnamese at its fancy pants finest. Note that the food at Libertine, Petrie Terrace, isn't strictly Vietnamese; their dishes are actually a fusion between French and Vietnamese style cooking (bit of history for you: the French colonised Vietnam for more than six decades!).