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5 Asian Lunch Spots in the Melbourne CBD

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by Mon's Adventure (subscribe)
Documenting roadtrip adventures and foodie outings. See more at monsadventure.com!
Published April 23rd 2015
Simple, straightforward and quick are generally the features you are looking for during your limited lunch break in the CBD.

And if you're looking for a full meal, not just a snack or wrap, Asian eateries often meet and cater to these requirements. For workers in the CBD, mainly closer to the Latrobe/Swanston end, these might be useful for you:

New Shanghai: Level 3, Emporium, 287 Lonsdale St
Along with the opening of Emporium came a plethora of eateries. In the corner of the food court you'll find a bustling Chinese restaurant - New Shanghai.

New Shanghai
Crab xiao long bao


The soup dumplings/xiao long bao are to die for. They're full of a hearty soup and even offer variations such as a black truffle special and a version with crab meat.

New Shanghai
A table full of delicious dishes. Pork buns are located on the far right.


I'd also recommend the pan fried pork bun. Anything fried here is not overly done, merely lightly fried on the bottom and makes you feel less guilty! Take a full look at their menu here.

New Shanghai
Panfried pork dumplings


It's often very busy so you need to grab a number and then wait in line. The wait has never been too long though for lunch, so drop by if your office is near here!

Sugarbun: 205 Russell St
You might walk past this one without noticing but you'll actually have to look out for the sign that says Bak Kut Teh.

Bak Kut Teh is a pork bone tea broth dish that Sugarbun specialises in. My friend had this dish and the soup was extremely fragrant. It comes in a large bowl with rice and Chinese donuts on the side. At $18 it's not a bad deal as it also includes a drink.

Sugarbun
The classic soup bak kut teh and Sarawak laksa


Meanwhile I was curious to try the Sarawak Laksa to battle the recent cold weather. Similarly it comes in a deal with a drink for $13.80 and the bowl is huge and filled to the brim.

The broth was tasty and not too spicy - it's made with a variety of ingredients from Belacan (shrimp paste) to tamarind and lemongrass.

Their drinks are not the usual either. I chose a lemon and barley drink, which was simple and had the expected taste. The winner was the rose and milk syrup though, as the syrup added a good dose of sweetness.

Sugarbun
The lemon barley and rose syrup drinks


Take a look at their menus here.

Tina's Noodle Kitchen: 237 Swanston St
Part of the Dainty Sichuan company, Tina's Noodle Kitchen opened up and with it came long lines attracting attention on Swanston St.

With a short lunch break I could never really consider it, but my friend went to line up for me and got there so early there was no line. A handy tip!

I ended up choosing the Beef Ball noodle soup. The servings are enormous and the large bowl keeps it hot. The problem is it was too hot and we couldn't eat it properly for a while. This is tough when there is a line of people waiting outside!

Tina's Noodle Kitchen
Beef ball soup


However, when it did cool down the broth was tastier than I expected. The serving size was generous and soup quite tasty - if it didn't have a line all the time I would consider trying it again.

Sushi Burger: 167 Exhibition St
Sushi Burger has been an old favourite for a few years. Back then they made burgers to order, but I hear now that at least the soft shell crab burger was premade.

The burger is made with two rice patties as the buns and the meat in between. The seaweed envelops the burger. By itself, the burger would not fill you up, but lucky they have bento lunch deals with the burger.

Sushi burger
Salmon aburi sushi burger in a bento box


You can choose a side in your bento, so I chose the karaage aka fried chicken. They add a few strange things too such as noodles with the salad...it's strange but I guess it helps fill you up!

I had the salmon aburi (partially grilled salmon) burger and was pretty full by the end of the bento.

Sushi burger
Salmon aburi


See their menu here.

Warra Warra Kitchen: Tivoli Arcade, 235-251 Bourke St
Another old favourite, Warra Warra Kitchen won me with its cute charms and affordable lunches. Their simple tickbox menu reminds me of Darac, but you also have the option to call up and place your lunch order.

Warra Warra Kitchen
The mild pork bulgogi - but it's not spicy at all!


Although it says it's Korean I find it is a bit of a mix of Japanese/Korean/Western influences. For example the teriyaki chicken is great, a strong almost BBQ-like flavour, but the mild pork bulgogi is not spicy at all.

Warra Warra Kitchen
Smoked salmon bibimbap


They also do takeaway bibimbap, a Korean rice dish where you mix all the ingredients and rice together with some spicy red sauce. I love that they have a smoked salmon version, a bit of a modern twist on the dish.

Check out their lunch and dinner menus here.

What spot is your favourite near work?
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Why? To find quick Asian eats in the CBD for lunch
Where: In Melbourne CBD
Cost: $10-$25
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