Freelance writer and blogger from Brisbane. Follow my social media, photography, technology and food blogs at www.acarrick.com
Published May 12th 2020
Enjoy nice Asian food, without breaking the bank
With Brisbane's fondness for Asian food, we have an enticing collection of good food at good prices to boot. Here are some of my favourite casual Asian venues for a budget feed without the wait.
Jackpot Dining is a Brisbane favourite among Westerners and Asians alike. Jackpot Dining serves a variety of roast meat, stir-fry, and rice dishes, along with their namesake noodle meals. With 4 venues in the inner city, Jackpot Dining should have plenty to satisfy all tastes wherever you are located. Most noodle and stir-fry dishes are around $11, the roast meat dishes are $9 - $15 depending on the protein and staple. There are premium stir-fries and chef signature dishes for around $13 - $14 - these are often more "lively" dishes served in fun sizzling pans or a hot pot, often served with candles to keep the food warm.
Jackpot Dining prides themselves on quick service, local ingredients, and their open kitchen. Indeed I like to come here because the meals usually arrive in 5 - 10 minutes and the venues are comfortable with friendly staff. They are also licensed to serve alcoholic beverages, which are reasonably priced around $7 - $8. They have one restaurant in the CBD at 55 Elizabeth Street, one in West End (132 Boundary Street) and another in Toowong (45 Sherwood Road). (There used to be one on Albert St, but it has closed for Cross River Rail.)
The tempting noodle, rice, and chef selection dishes. Photos from the website
Roti Place is Malaysian restaurant owned by the same company who established Jackpot Dining, and also follows a similar philosophy of quick service and reasonable prices for both food and drink. Roti is a Malaysian style flat bread served with various sweet and savoury fillings. A signature dish I had once is the Bak Kut Teh (Pork Tea) which is a pork rib and herbal broth soup served with a Chinese fried breadstick, perfect for dipping in the broth. I was quite impressed with the presentation and flavour, at the quite affordable price of $15.80. Another time I had the Guinness Pork for $15.80 (also a signature dish) - deep fried pork chop pieces coated in a sticky sauce made from Guinness (the stout beer) served with a salad. Other items are priced around $10 - $14 including rice and noodle dishes, basic roti meals for less than $10. Each time, the staff have been friendly and the food has arrived within 5 - 10 minutes. Self-service water is available too. Roti Place is located at 42 Charlotte Street. (Having had to move for the Cross River Rail project.) They also have a restaurant in West End at 132 Boundary Street.
From left: Guinness Pork Chop, Laksa, and the fun Pork Tea at Roti Place
One of my "go-to" places for a fast Asian meal in the mall is FantAsia. With several outlets in CBD shopping centres - Myer Centre, MacArthur Central and The Wintergarden, FantAsia offers good quality, healthy Asian fusion meals for around $10 - $13 at convenient locations. FantAsia offers one or two dishes that represent a "signature" dish from various Asian countries. For example, Beijing Zha Jiang Noodle and Chinese BBQ Pork from China or Singapore Chicken & Prawn Laksa or Hanoi Spicy Beef Noodle Soup.
I don't care too much for authenticity particularly at FantAsia's affordable price point, so I am happy with their hearty and usually vegetable filled meals, even if they have been modified from tradition to suit the casual format. One of my favourite snacks are the Spicy Chicken Wings which are dipped in an onion, shallot and chili sprinkle! Other FantAsia locations in Brisbane include Garden City, Westfield Chermside, Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, plus other malls in outer suburbs.
As previously discussed in my full review, Chinese BBQ Heaven at ANZAC Square is certainly convenient to access on the way home to Central Station for a takeaway Chinese meal. The staff are always friendly and helpful, and the meals are very quick when it's quiet and still timely even during the busy lunch-time periods. If you prefer a sit-down meal, there is plenty of seating available with nice crockery if you have a preference for that.
Recently Chinese BBQ Heaven introduced $5 cup rice and chicken meals so I couldn't help but try one for lunch! I liked the spicy chicken and rice which was made with some crumbed deep fried chicken pieces, smooth but spicy mayonnaise, and corn kernels for an added touch! Other flavours include teriyaki chicken/beef and lemon chicken.