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Published October 23rd 2016
Step aside, Sunnybank - you've met your match
Warrigal Square Shopping Centre in Eight Mile Plains is only a few minutes drive from my house, so needless to say, I know it pretty much inside out! Despite the shopping centre being relatively small in size, it is packed with lots of yummy restaurants with origins from all over Asia, including Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Warrigal Square also has all the 'essentials', including Woolworths, BWS, a medical centre, news agency, drug store, and McDonald's. Unfortunately, they do not allow pets on the premises, but the fact that the majority of restaurants (bakery included) close at 9pm or later more than makes up for it!
The only drawback about eating in Warrigal Square.
The Japanese cuisine enthusiasts out there must be excited just from knowing the name of this restaurant! Nikumaki, for those of you who don't know, literally means 'wrapped in meat'. Nikumaki describes them as "oven baked rice balls wrapped in a special marinated slice of pork" - yum! This delicacy, which originated from a large island in the south in the city of Miyazaki in Kyushu, only came about at the end of the 1990s. Having only been around for approximately 20 years, it's a relatively young food, but already has established a popular reputation amongst foodies and Japanese locals alike.
Doesn't look too impressive, but trust me, it's really good!
Another favourite of mine is one of Nikumaki Honpo's newest items - the Buta Kimchi Don, or in other words, Pork and Kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage) with Rice. It may not sound very special, but the blend of flavours go together perfectly - it is my 'go-to' meal when I am running low on time but need the energy to keep myself going. The food here is always prepared fresh upon ordering, but with quick service - the longest I've had to wait for two rice dishes was 10 minutes. The prices for rice dishes range from $10.00 to $11.50, which I think is extremely reasonable for the portion size and quality.
Having only opened last year in 2015, Cha Kee has already established itself as among the most popular restaurants in the vicinity. This is one of the best places for locals who crave a late night snack, because they are open till midnight every day of the week. Cha Kee is a local Hong Kong style restaurant, with flavours representative of the blend of cultures that make up the Special Administrative Region. For those who weren't aware, Hong Kong was colonised by Great Britain for 99 years - the Western influence on traditionally prepared Chinese food can be quite obvious in some dishes.
One of my favourite dishes is Hainanese Chicken Rice - here at Cha Kee, they also have Hainanese Chicken Congee, which I'd never tried prior to coming here! It's worth noting that the portions here are massive, and can easily be shared between two people.
Bread for You is a bakery that sells an extensive range of Asian style breads, in addition to a selection of cakes. Although the breads are technically baked in Korean Style, many of their products reminded me of breads I used to eat as a child in Hong Kong, including "cookie crunch bun" and "plain sponge cupcake base". They even tasted similar (and were delicious), although of course it's not the same as eating food products in the same country they originate from!
I'd been frequenting Sakuraya often for the last 5 years, and I can't seem to stop coming back for more. With its cosy and relaxed ambience, Sakuraya has been the host of many deep and meaningful conversations I've had over the years with close friends. The fact that their drinks, which are fully customisable (e.g. toppings, sugar levels, how much ice you want etc.) are always made to perfection doesn't hurt - I've ordered the exact same drink for as long as I've been coming here!
They even have cute Halloween themed drink designs in October.
Did you know that back in 2011, Vietnamese rice paper rolls were listed as number 30 on World's 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go? Vietnamese rice paper rolls are becoming increasingly popular, especially as we head towards the hotter months. Traditionally consisting of pork, prawn, vegetables, rice vermicelli, and other ingredients wrapped in rice paper, Vietnamese rice paper rolls are a healthy yet filling meal that is also kind on the calories.
My favourite rice paper rolls and young coconut drink.
Seeing as the name of this restaurant was named after Vietnamese rice paper rolls, it comes as no surprise that they were made well here at Rice Paper Vietnamese Cuisine, especially when washed down with my favourite Young Coconut drink!
7. Woka Woka Country of Origin: Hong Kong
Contact Number: (07) 3191 3038
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11am - 10pm
Seating Options: Indoor and outdoor seating
Similar to Cha Kee, another eatery in Warrigal Square with origins in Hong Kong, Woka Woka is one of the newer restaurants in the vicinity, but has quickly risen through the ranks to become one of the more popular ones. As someone who was born and raised in Hong Kong, I was surprised to find how authentic their dishes were - among the best that I've tried in Australia.
My brother and my favourite dishes are definitely the bok choy vegetables, fried with garlic, and the baked pork rice, with cheese, tomato, mushrooms, and a whole heap of other ingredients. The smell from the latter dish is particularly aromatic - if I wasn't already hungry, I always become so once my nose detects that smell!
Bok choy (fried with garlic), and baked pork rice - my favourite.
Pappa roti, the "father of all buns" circa 2003 in Malaysia, is an international chain of coffee shops renowned for its signature buns - the coffee caramelised-coated buns. The store at Warrigal Square is no exception - buns are always baked fresh, and have always been perfect every time I've had them. They look good, taste good, and most definitely smell good...
Although there are other shopping villages and centres within the same driving distance from my house, Warrigal Square will always remain my favourite place to go to for meals, especially at night. The late closing times are just too hard to resist! Plus, I don't need to plan in advance about what I'm going to eat - I can just rock up, and decide on the spot which one catches my eye today. The number of choices here are limitless, and the Asian restaurants are authentic and of good quality. Plus, it's a relatively more quiet shopping area than Sunnybank Market Square, but with similar choices in regards to Asian restaurants.
Which restaurant on this list is one you'd like to try, or perhaps one that you've tried and loved? Leave a comment down below and let me know!