Once upon a time, Joburg’s Asian food offerings were limited to soggy takeaway boxes of chow mein (which, as any foodie worth her miso knows, isn’t even Asian in origin). Thankfully, those days are long, long gone, and there is a plethora of choices for diners on the hunt for the mosaic of flavours that typifies eastern cuisine. Here are our favourites.
There’s been a lot of hype around this new street food-inspired barbeque bar, but Saigon Suzy definitely lives up to expectations. We love the ginormous range at the bar (especially the Asian fusion cocktails, like the China Girl – a vanilla vodka concoction spiked with plum liqueur, cranberry and lime), just right for getting up the courage to rent a karaoke pod! The choice is similarly varied on the food front – pick from ramen, bao or curries, or make your own wok masterpiece.
It’s been described as Joburg’s coolest noodle bar, and that’s certainly a description that fits. Everything about this Linden gem is on point, from the kitsch décor to the tapas-style dishes. It’s the ideal venue for people who constantly battle with what to order and suffer from menu envy – get a bunch of dishes (our favourites include spicy brinjal salad, seaweed salad with garlic and chilli and sweet potato noodles with beef mince) and share!
After causing a social media stir for opening with one of the most culturally inappropriate names in recent times, this Melville spot reclaimed some fans thanks to its excellent fare. Choose from build-your-own ramen bowls, Korean barbecue, poke and Asian tapas. Make sure you leave room for the black sesame ice cream!
Although it’s touted as one of Johannesburg’s best Thai eateries, Erawan also offers a delectable array of dim sum and sushi. You’ll also find the usual curries and noodles, but it’s the crispy duck that has patrons coming back for more.
Convinced you could be the next Siba if only someone would give you the chance? Biru has done just that! The Rivonia restaurant introduces a rather unique concept, inviting you to cook your own dinner at your table, using their ingredients. And what ingredients they are – there’s a wide range of Wagyu beef cuts, as well as Taiwanese sausages and options for vegetarians and seafood lovers. The green tea ice cream is famous (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make it yourself!)
Be sure to book ahead of time for this Wednesday night pop up, hosted in chef Su-yen Thornhill’s home. Watching Su-yen cook is like having front row tickets to Masterchef, and definitely adds to the unique experience. Throw in an unpredictable menu (it all depends on her mood and the ingredients you she has to hand) and a few fusion elements, and you have all the ingredients needed for a night like no other.
Have you been to any of these restaurants? Which one are you keen to go to?