Staycation Spring 2017 Masthead 2
Dumplings filled with pork, prawn and dill.

10+ Canberra Must-Eat Asian Restaurants

Amanda Whitley

10 (ok, maybe a few more) Canberra Asian restaurants which are must-eats.

Portia’s Place

Portia’s was our once-a-week treat when we lived in Kingston many moons ago. We went as much for the cheery service of the eponymous Portia Yeung as they crispy fried duck rolled in paper-thin Chinese pancakes and Hoisin sauce and the King Island fillet steak with pepper sauce and button mushrooms.

Portia may have moved on to new, casual digs in Fyshwick (Wok n Roll) but the food and atmosphere still makes the restaurant well worth a visit.

The essentials
Where: 11 Kennedy Street, Kingston
When: Lunch and dinner seven days.
Phone: 6239 7970.

Griffith Vietnamese

It’s sure as heck not the ambience that makes Griffith Vietnamese a must-eat experience. The queues (go really early or book to avoid); the wobbly laminex tables, the shouting kitchen hands and the crash and flash of the flames coming from the woks – it’s all part of the package when you go in search of great Vietnamese.

It’s cheap as chips; Tan, the host, is both entertaining and obliging; and you can amuse yourself while you’re waiting by reading the penned endorsements of ‘celebrity’ guests which line the walls. We love the deep fried crunchy Spring Rolls and the Bo Sat – Beef with Lemongrass and Peanut Sauce.

The essentials
Where: 6b Barker Street, Griffith
When: Lunch is served 11am to 2pm Monday to Friday; Dinner 5pm to 10pm seven days.
Phone: 6295 6505

Tu Do

Tu Do in O’Connor has been a firm favourite of ours for a good 15 years, and it has a loyal following across the Capital. The Rare Beef Pho is touted by many as the best in the city, and the space is warm and cosy, the staff friendly.

We also love the Pork Chop with Crabmeat Pate and Broken Rice.

The essentials
Where: 7 Sargood Street, O’Connor
When: Open Tuesday to Sunday – 10am to 3pm for Vietnamese breakfast (Pho) and Lunch; 5pm – 10:30pm forDinner.
Phone: 6248 6030

Dickson Asian Noodle House

As anyone and they’ll tell you that Dickson Asian Noodle House is the place to go for Laksa. Specialising in traditional Malaysian, Thai and Lao cuisine, the Laksa selection includes Chicken/ BBQ Pork/ Beef/ Seafood/ Duck/ Fish/ Veg/ Prawn or Combination!

And it’s cheap.  What more could you ask?

The essentials
Where: Shop 4/ 29 Woolley Street, Dickson
When: Open seven days from 11am to 10pm
Phone: 6262 5903

Sammy’s Kitchen (and Timmy’s)

Regardless of which side of the bridge you’re on, you can get your fix of this yummy, cheap and cheerful cuisine. Sammy’s is quick and convenient for a pre-movie meal in Civic (just expect chaotic and buzzy rather than intimate and hushed); and Timmy’s in Manuka is fabulous for a spot of pollie spotting.

Both boast the same signature dishes – are faves are the Hot Rock salted Calamari, Shantung Chicken and the Penang Style Char Kway Teow.

The essentials

Sammy’s
Where: Bunda Street, Civic.
When: Open seven days. Lunch 11.30am – 2.30pm; Dinner Monday – Thursday 5.00pm – 10.30pm; Friday – Saturday 5.00pm – 11.30pm; Sunday 5.00pm – 10.00pm.
Phone: 6247 1464

Timmy’s
Where: Furneaux Street, Manuka.
When: Tuesday – Sunday. Lunch 11.30am – 2.30pm’ Dinner – Tues – Thurs & Sun 5.00pm – 10.00pm; Friday & Saturday 5.00pm – 11.00pm
Phone: 6295 6537

Abell’s Kopi Tiam

Kopi Tiam’s name comes from the combination of malay “kopi” for “coffee” and chinese “tiam” for “shop”. This place is my in-laws’ absolute favourite place to eat. Unpretentious, reliably good and offering fantastic flavours, it’s packed pretty much every night, and for good reason.

The Malayan Beef Rendang is amazing, and the specials board offers a tempting array of dishes.

The essentials
Where: 7 Furneaux Street, Manuka
When: Tuesday to Sunday, 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:30-10:00 pm
Phone: 6239 4199

The Chairman Group (Chairman and Yip, Lanterne Rooms and Malamay)

It’s impossible to nominate one of the Chairman Group restaurants for a gong without mentioning the other two. Chairman and Yip came first, enticing Canberra diners with its fusion of east and west. Then came Lanterne Rooms,- an intimate little space at Campbell Shops, where traditional South-East Asian food. Malay Indian spices, coastal Fukien and local Nyonya cooking are skilfully blended. The newest member of the family, Malamay, brings Sichuan fusion cuisine to the Burbury Hotel in Barton.

Choose any of the three – you won’t be disappointed in the food, service or ambience. Simply stunning.

The essentials

Where: Chairman and Yip – 108 Bunda Street, Civic
When: Lunch – Tuesday to Friday 12.00 – 2.30pm; Dinner Tuesday to Saturday 6.00 – 10.30
Phone: 6248 7109

Where: Lanterne Rooms – 3 Blamey Place, Campell Shops
When: Lunch – Tuesday to  Friday; Dinner Tuesday to Saturday.
Phone: 6249 6889

Where: Malamay – 1 Burbury Cl, Barton
When: Lunch – Tuesday to Friday 12pm to 2.30pm; Dinner Tuesday to Saturday 6pm to 10.30pm
Phone: 6162 1220

Iori

Even if this wasn’t arguably the best Japanese food in Canberra, Iori would be worth a visit for the menu alone. Why not try the Mystery Meal; Three Li’l Piggy; Chicken L’il; or the A.T.M (Assorted Tremendous Meal). If you can’t get a table, try little sister, Coo (Japanese Izakaya), or Iori Plus in Deakin for a finer dining approach.

The essentials
Where: 1 East Row, Canberra City
When: Monday to Friday – Lunch 12 noon to 2pm; Dinner 6pm til late
Phone: 6257 2334

Thirst Wine Bar and Eatery

Thirst Wine Bar and Eatery is all about the flavour. Beautiful fresh salads bursting with herbs; fragrant curries boasting premium ingredients. Its central location sees hordes of public servants beating their way to the restaurants door most weekdays.

Our favourites? The deep-fried pork belly with tamarind and their Green Curry with Trout Dumplings. And, as the same suggests. there’s a nice selection of wines, too.

The essentials
Where: 20 West Row, Melbourne Building, Canberra City
When: Dinner Monday to Saturday 5.00pm -9.30pm. Lunch Wednesday to Friday 12 noon til 2pm.
Phone: 6257 0700

PLUS don’t miss

The Seafood Noodle Soup or the Noodles in Long Soup at Chinese Kitchen Woden.

Ruby Chinese in Dickson for wagyu beef.

Asian Food Mart in Kippax for their mie ayam (Indonesian egg noodles with chicken and meatballs, in soup).

Streets of Asia in Tuggeranong for the best hainan chicken rice.

Shanghai Dumpling House in Childers Lane, Civic for dumplings and the vegetarian fried rice cakes (and value for money!)

2 Yummy Noodle House in Belconnen for Super Tasty Duck.

Kudos Taste for Japanese in Civic – try their katsudon.

What’s your favourite Asian restaurant in Canberra?

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

  • Michelle

    My’s in Weston is really good

  • Michelle

    Glad to see all my favourites are on there 🙂

  • Vivienne

    Last Sunday we tried ‘Red Chilli Schezuan’ in Alinga St Civic. Delicious food, well priced. We were the only Caucasians there, which I took to be a good sign.

    • Julie

      Surprised to see your good comment on Red Chilli Schezuan. The customer service was absolutely “Horrible”. It was difficult to get the attention of the the waiting staff as they were busy chatting, and when we did achieve this, their demeanour and attitude was very unpleasant.

      • Amanda Whitley

        Hi Julie – our article was put together in June last year – things may well have changed since then. Sorry to hear your experience wasn’t the best…

  • Vicki

    Kagawa in Dickson for Japanese – their sashimi is second to none!

  • Jing

    Ming’s in Phillip. A hidden gem …now not so much haha.

    I’ve eaten my way through most of the Chinese restaurants in Canberra (besides up North Gungahlin way) and it took me so long to find a place that was tasty and decent prices! Ming’s is my go to place for when I’m missing the spoils of Melbourne and my mum’s cooking.

  • Michelle

    Actually, I’ll give a +1 for Kagawa Japanese. Consistently good and reasonably priced.

  • Amy Fulham

    Sanur’s in Belconnen takes you to Bali for the night for yummy Indonesian food washed down with a Bintang beer. Kusina in Weston has mildly spiced but tasty Filipino food and is kid friendly.

    • Michelle

      Amy, if you like Indonesian food I highly recommend Asian Foodmart in Kippax. It doesn’t look like much (I didn’t even know it did Indonesian food til one my Indonesian classmates at uni told me), but the food is delicious. Ignore the bain maries and take a look at their menu.

  • Maree

    Rasa Sayang (Chinese/Malaysian) in Dickson is our family favourite.

    Agree with all of those on the list though!

  • Elle

    Morks is consistently ranked #1 restaurant in Canberra on Tripadvisor, with good reason. They do exquisite Modern Thai. The place is extremely popular so bookings are essential. Currently tucked away at Florey shops, but opening a new restaurant at Kingston Foreshore soon. Don’t let the Florey location put you off if you’re a southsider – it’s worth the drive. This place definitely belongs on any Top 10 list for Canberra dining. I have no interests in the business – just a happy customer.

  • Sarah

    Was thinking no one dined further south than Manuka when I saw a couple of add-ons at the end of the article, including my favourite – Streets of Asia in Tuggeranong, the seafood laksa is yummo!

  • Great post! We love 2Yummy in Belconnen. Morks in Florey is brilliant. Simply Pho at Gungahlin is fresh and delicious for Pho and other light Vietnamese options. There’s also a family owner Chinese restaurant at Campbell shops, good food, great friendly service, always consistent meals.

  • Natalie

    Burmese Curry House in Civic is a delicious hole-in-the-wall option. AH-MAZING.

  • Beck

    Dumping house… *snort*

    • Amanda Whitley

      Oops :/

      • Beck

        Lol don’t worry! A Freudian slip perhaps? 😉

  • Li

    What about Soju Girl? I have taken a bunch of Melbourne foodies there and the menu blew their minds (and made them reappraise their views of the Canberra dining scene!).

    • Amanda Whitley

      Eating there tomorrow night – expect a dedicated post soon!

    • Michelle B

      I love Soju Girl! I’ve had the same experience with friends from foodie friends from Sydney, they were very impressed. I didn’t list it as it doesn’t spring to mind when I think Asian, but I guess it is Asian-fusion! I’m still mourning that they no longer have the tataki cut sirloin or the chocolate fondant with peanut butter ice cream 🙁

  • Nic

    I can’t believe Dickson Dumpling house didn’t get a mention- we go there about once a fortnight – you can watch the dumplings being made.

  • Claire H

    Sin Yau Garden at Chapman shops has been a favourite of mine for over 10 years! The family owned restaurant and waitress offer friendly great service. The restaurant is predominately take-away so the restaurant is usually very relaxed and you are not crammed in like most other Chinese restaurants. The dishes range from $10 for veg dishes, $12 for meat and $16-$20 for seafood. The food is great and always fresh. I always recommend this to all my friends and is always my go-to restaurant when I have guests. I would highly recommend this to anyone who needs a cheap, good fix of asian food. It never disappoints.

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