Canberra is a multicultural city, with a wide range of international restaurants from Ethiopian to Nepalese and everything in between. For those of you (like myself!) who enjoy Asian food in particular, there is a huge variety of food trucks, cafes and restaurants who cook up a storm all around the city. Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Laos and Filipino food are all popular options to try. Although India and Middle Eastern countries are also Asian food, I may have leave those restaurants for another article - as there are too many of them to mention as well!
So where are the most popular Asian restaurants in Canberra's CBD? The following 5 restaurants are ones that I have tried, discovered or heard about with rave reviews from locals around Canberra. The first 4 are also all located within walking distance from one another, so if one is full - keep walking. If you have a favourite Asian restaurant in the city that isn't mentioned, please leave a comment on this article. You can never try too many Asian restaurants - or dumplings.
1/ AKIBA is a modern, Asian-infused restaurant located on Bunda Street in the heart of the CBD. This popular restaurant opened over two years ago and has been a firm Canberra favourite ever since. It is a vibrant restaurant with modern décor, neon lights, wooden panels, a large well-stocked bar and a party atmosphere. Akiba is inspired by the informal atmosphere of food halls throughout the East-Asia region, so they love it when the noise level is high and the place is pumping. On a busy Saturday night, it feels as if you could be sitting at a bar in Tokyo, with the hustle and bustle of a lively crowd packed inside. As well as an outstanding drinks menu, their food showcases the many styles of Asian barbecue, raw bar, modern day Dim Sum and street food. See here for website and menu.
If you love Akiba, ensure you check out Lazy-Su, opening on Lonsdale Street in Braddon in late February/ start of March, 2017.
Enjoy the atmosphere at Akiba. Source: Akiba website
2/ Sammy's Kitchen is a Chinese and Malaysian restaurant, also on Bunda Street, which was established over 10 years ago and it is a firm favourite with the people of Canberra. Famous for its quick service and delicious food, this restaurant is always busy, so if you wish to give it a try on a weekend night it is recommended that you book a table before you arrive. The menu is extensive, which can be a little daunting for the first-timer, however anything you choose will be simply delicious. Sammy's is perfect for a quick meal before or after a movie upstairs at Dendy Cinemas as the service is fast - you can be in and out of the restaurant in under an hour. For a full article on Sammy's Kitchen (CBD), see here. Due to the success of their city restaurant, they have also opened a restaurant on the Kingston Foreshore called Sammy's Foreshore - see here for details.
3/ CBD Dumpling House is another popular Asian favourite located just outside the Canberra Centre, off Bunda Street. On the outside of the restaurant, as well as inside, there are viewing windows so diners can watch the dumplings getting made by a host of efficient chefs. This modern, yet traditional restaurant is a popular venue for local office workers in particular, as the service is quick and the dumplings are tasty. Popular dishes include the pork buns, pan-fried dumplings and the duck pancakes. They have no official website or Facebook page, however see here for the Canberra Centre details.
4/ PappaRich Malaysian restaurant is located just a few doors down from the CBD Dumpling House above, inside the Canberra Centre. This franchise has over 20 other outlets found in most cities in Australia and it is particularly popular in Canberra, with lines often seen out the front on a Saturday night. They have delicious food (especially the Laksa's!) and quick service, which is made easier with their photo menu's, so you know what to expect from your meal. This restaurant is particularly family friendly, with highchairs and a range of food that which kids will enjoy, however they also have hot chips and nuggets on the menu in case kids prefer something milder. See details here. For a full article on PappaRich see here.
Relax and enjoy the choice of flavours at PappaRich
5/ Dickson is a suburb 10 minutes north of Canberra's CBD, which has an entire block dedicated to Asian cuisine. Although it has been called "Canberra's Chinatown" in the past, it is more a collection of authentic Asian restaurants and food outlets, which are part of the Dickson community shops. It is an eclectic area, with a KFC on one end of the street and a Vinnies op shop on the other - and a host of noodle houses and Asian eateries in between. Popular options on the main Woolley Street include Dickson Asian Noodle House (with reportedly the best Laksa in the city!) and The East Kitchen, as well as many others who don't have any website or Facebook. These include Tak Kee Roast Inn (number 10), The Scholar (number 23) and Jimmy's Place (number 71). See this Google map for Woolley Street and surrounding restaurants.
There are also a host of fine dining Asian restaurants in Canberra including Chairman and the Yip, Lilotang, Lanterne Rooms, Wild Duck and XO, to name a few. With so many authentic and popular places to try around the city, where will you be going this Saturday night?
The East Kitchen cuisine. Source: The East Kitchen Facebook