Asian restaurants craft their menus with explosive flavours drawn from Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, or Thai cultures. In South Africa, we’re fortunate to play host to some of the finest Asian eateries. From delectable spring rolls and sushi delights to beautifully-plated buns and bowls, here’s a few of our favourite local spots.
SHIO, Cape Town
This award-winning restaurant is a moody, modern Japanese establishment which offers a menu divided into subdivisions of land, ocean, earth, and sweet. As the brainchild of Chef Cheyne Morrisby, SHIO sets an esteemed precedent for Asian-inspired cuisine. Our recommendation? The Izakaya Tasting Experience (R340 per person for four dishes).
Lucky Bao, Hout Bay
Chef Cheyne Morrisby’s smaller establishment, Lucky Bao, is a a street-food-style diner that whips up a hybrid of Japanese and Chinese dishes served fresh over the counter. Our recommendation? The Pork Belly Bao with sriracha, kewpie, and peanuts is tremendous! We’d recommend booking your seats beforehand, too.
YU, Cape Town
This new quality Asian tapas restaurant, which forms part of the apartment-style hotel The Onyx, specialises in contemporary Asian fusion food. Owner and restaurateur Rory Jossel shows off his expertise in dishes like Butternut Dim Sum and Crispy Rice with Beef Wagyu Tartar. Our recommendation? The unique and different sushi dish – Marinated Seared Salmon with Burnt Spicy Mayo.
At Momo, you’ll discover the flavoursome fusion of ingredients in Asian cuisine. There’s a Momo in nearly every corner of Joburg, including: Momo Baohaus in Greenside, Momo & O in Norwood, Momo Kuro in Rosebank, and Momo Soko in Illovo. Our recommendation? The Colonel Bao, which consists of crispy chicken tucked within a fluffy bun with raw ginger and coriander, is an utterly exquisite meal.
Fushin, Port Elizabeth
At Fushin, each dish is likened to a work of art. Here, the produce is fresh and the sushi is considered too elegant to eat. If you’d like to test your palate with delicacies like the Australian Eel or Alaskan Snow Crab, then a visit to Fushin is a must. Our recommendation? The salmon poke bowl or Teriyaki Salmon Collar.
Mooki Noodle Bar, Durban
Mooki Noodles is a fun and quirky establishment that offers guests the same flavours and freshness of the pan-Asian cultures its menu is inspired by. All sauces and dim sum items are made in-house, cementing Mooki’s promise of fresh produce. Our recommendation? Apart from all the noodle options, we’d recommend the Japanese-style burger.
Crazy Korean, Durban
At this Asian-inspired restaurant, your affable host will make you feel right at home. As a Korean chef, KJ Lee ensures all meals prepared in his kitchen are of the highest quality. Our recommendation? There are five set-menu options, and we’d advise choosing menu 4. This option includes three extravagant dishes made with fresh white fish sashimi – simply delectable!
Compiled by Marike Watson and Michelle Nortje
Features writer by trade, music lover and fine-line illustrator by nature. As an expert on the ’70s era, Marike will happily introduce you to her record collection. She’s passionate about African art and culture. And if she’s not off on an adventure, you’ll most likely find her making coffee.