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Multicultural Brisbane

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by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published June 3rd 2014
Enjoy other countries without leaving Brisbane
Cultural Pockets

One of the joys about living in most big cities around the world, you have little pockets where recent immigrants have moved. When you visit these areas you feel like you are stepping into another country.

Historically Brisbane is often the second choice for migrants to Australia behind larger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. It is still possible to find little cultural pockets within Brisbane.

We shouldn't forget the wonderfully multicultural areas in Brisbane such as Woodridge, which has many new arrivals and also has great South East Asian street food every Sunday morning as part of the Woodridge markets. Fortitude Valley's Chinatown tends to be less Chinese today than it did in the past, but has numerous restaurants from around Asia.

Cultural diversity at Woodridge Markets
Cultural diversity at Woodridge Markets


The real Chinatown: Sunnybank

Brisbane's official Chinatown is in Fortitude Valley, however, like many official Chinatown's in Australia, it is now more of an Asian town with only a small number of Chinese restaurants and none with a great reputation among Brisbane's Chinese population.

Sunnybank and surrounds are where many Chinese people have come to settle in recent years. There are numerous Chinese restaurants and shops. Sunnybank Market Square is full of great Chinese restaurants. It has plenty of parking but it is so busy on a Friday or Saturday evening that it is impossible to find a parking spot as people from far and wide descend on the area to enjoy the food.

Southern Chinese style barbecue in Sunnybank
Southern Chinese style barbecue in Sunnybank

What do to

Eat real Chinese food that you can't get anywhere else in Brisbane.

Stock up on your Asian groceries

African Village: Moorooka

Moorooka has rapidly become the place that African migrants, particularly from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Southern Sudan, set up businesses.

The colours of Africa in Brisbane
The colours of Africa in Brisbane

What to do

Try Ehiopian Coffee

Eat Ethiopian food with your hands

Browse African grocery stores

Have your hair styled in an African hair salon

Korea and Japanese Street: Elizabeth Street

It often seems like every second shop or restaurant along this street is either Korean or Japanese or caters to that market. Over the years they have spread out from Elizabeth Arcade up Elizabeth Street.

Korean shops and restaurants in a row on Elizabeth Street
Korean shops and restaurants in a row on Elizabeth Street

What do to do

Eat Korean Barbecue or Bibimbap (mixed rice dishes served in stone bowls)

Have a Japanese Lunch box

Try one of the Japanese brand cafes or dessert restaurants

Buy cheap UGG boots from the shops that sell pure Australian wool products to mostly Korean and Japanese Tourists.

Have your hair cut at a Korean hairdresser. Note: Korean trained hairdressers are among the best in the world. While they can cut anyone's hair wonderfully, I always recommend people of Asian descent seek out a Korean hairdresser.

Vietnam in Brisbane: Inala and Darra

Nearly 25% of of people who live in these suburbs speak Vietnamese as their first language and as a result there are plenty of Vietnamese restaurants to enjoy the real flavours of Vietnam.

Vietnamese Shops in Darra
Vietnamese Shops in Darra

What to do

Shopping for Vietnamese and other Asian groceries

Eat a bowl of Pho noodles in a Vietnamese restaurant

Enjoy Banh Mi (Vietnamese bread rolls with meat, vegetables and optional spicy sauce) from a Vietnamese bakery

Big Fat Greek Brisbane: West End

West End has very strong Greek roots that can still be seen today with the Greek Club, Greek Orthodox Church and numerous great Greek Restaurants. It also plays host to the Annual Paniyiri Greek Festival in Musgrave park.

Dancers at the annual Paniyiri Festival in West End
Dancers at the annual Paniyiri Festival in West End

What to do

Go Greek every year at the Paniyiri Festival

Have a big fat Greek wedding at the Greek Club

Stay healthy with Mediterranean cuisine

Little Italy: New Farm

Historically New Farm was first settled by Italian migrants. Today you don't get a strong Little Italy feel, but it is still home to a number of great Italian restaurants.

New farm in the 19th century
New farm in the 19th century

What to do

Eat Italian food and dream about what this suburb used to be like.
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Why? Isn't it wonderful living in a multicultural society?
Cost: Free to walk around
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