Asian cuisine is known for the range and sheer variety of flavours across many different countries and cultures. Ingredients such as seafood, rice, garlic, soy, lemongrass and chilli are common in dishes often stir fried, steamed or deep-fried.
The balance of sweet, sour and salty is prominent and this is one of the things that makes Asian food very different from Western dishes, where these flavours are used singularly. These ingredients usually work against each other, however if mixed in the right amounts and with the right spices and meats, they provide a unique taste to curries and stir-fries.
Australia is home to a plethora of great Asian restaurants, where flavoursome cuisine and good times abound. Here’s some of our favourites:
Asian share plates and cocktails are on the menu at Sum Yung Guys on Duke Street in Sunshine Beach. Styled to capture the personalities of the four partners, the dining room presents a fun and funky vibe with neon signs, Japanese-style wall murals and wooden furniture, creating warmth and energy, just like the fare on the menu.
Kick off with Hiramasa kingfish, green scud, laksa oil and coconut, or King prawn toast, gochu mayo and sesame; before larger plates of pork belly, nam jim jaew, fried garlic, Thai basil and steamed rice.
Tell your fortune through Asian fusion fare at Ally Chow on Gold Coast Highway at Nobby Beach. A moodily-lit interior embraces Asian accents from the well-stocked bar to Oriental cushions, bamboo plants and pendent bulbs glowing seductively overhead; while the alfresco laneway space is dominated by a vibrant wall mural depicting river life.
Grab some sweet and salty chicken wings with smoked chilli vinegar, or slow-cooked lamb shoulder curry, steamed rice and snake beans to share; best washed down with a Vietnamese coffee martini.
Relax under the peppermint trees with a delicious cocktail in hand at Blue Manna Bistro on Cyrillean Way in Dunsborough. Settle into polished wood surrounds at black table settings, under the watchful eye of the resident crab adorning the wall, or linger over lunch in the large alfresco area; while perusing a menu bursting with Asian fusion fare.
Perhaps start with salt and vinegar crab tacos with avocado and sweet corn salsa, before mains like sticky char siu beef back ribs, caramelised Winter greens, XO and hawker’s rice; for something special opt for crispy whole fish with tamarind sweet chilli sauce, toasted peanuts and hot and sour salad.
Red Ginger emporium on Jonson Street in Byron Bay grew out of a love of Asian food and culture. This dumpling house is the place to be seen in Northern Rivers for a green tea and steamed treat, as well as offering a full range of Asian groceries for the home cook, decorative homewares and furniture.
Like stepping into the lanes of old Shanghai, sights, sounds, aromas and tastes lure guests to linger awhile while tucking into a steamed bun with Chinese BBQ pork inside; or a delicate scallop and prawn dumpling.
Immerse yourself in true and authentic Asian flavours at Eddy + Wolff on Ron Penhaligon Way in Robina. Named after the streets the Vietnamese owners grew up on, this cosy intimate space transports you to another time, where you feel a sense of belonging and a connection to where their love for food all started.
Kick start your culinary adventure with a glass of sake to accompany an entree of barbequed octopus tentacle with char siu glaze; before larger plates of crispy lamb ribs, cumin, sesame, baby gem lettuce and Shandong sauce.
Lush palm fronds and tinkling wind chimes await at the wondrous world of The Spirit House Restaurant on Ninderry Road in Yandina. Head Chef Aaron Tucker serves up a memorable dining experience of modern South-east Asian flavours, such as char-grilled quail with mandarin nam jim, King brown mushrooms, spiced cashew and crisp roti.
For the main affair, be enticed by Wagyu brisket with Massaman curry sauce, peanut and egg emulsion, pickled ginger and holy basil; before an indulgent dessert of roasted rice ice cream, coconut dark chocolate, rice paper tuile and red shiso.
Stylish Mod Oz dining infused with contemporary Asian twists is on the menu at The Tamarind Restaurant on Obi Lane South near Maleny. Set in the rainforest, Executive Chef Dan Jarrett is the force behind this elegant restaurant, where an open timber pavilion design allows guests to soak up the region’s stunning natural surrounds.
Expect dishes like cured ocean trout, yuzu kosho crème fraiche, furikake, wakame and caviar, or red curry of braised duck leg, local lychee, snake bean, Thai eggplant and basil; to finish, delve into koji crème caramel, carrot and yuzu sorbet.
For more Asian restaurants near you, click on the links below.