It’s hard to believe, we know – but some people don’t drink coffee. What’s the…
10 (ok, maybe a few more) Canberra Asian restaurants which are must-eats.
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.
Where: 11 Kennedy Street, Kingston
When: Lunch and dinner seven days.
Phone: 6239 7970.
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.
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 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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?