Once upon a time – and not that long ago – meat and three veg was considered traditional Aussie fare. But in recent years, Chinese has taken over with more than 70 per cent of us voting it our fav food, according to Roy Morgan Research.
And while Gen Xers also list Chinese as their top choice, they are more likely to choose Italian or Greek for a night out or takeaway over other Asian foods. But it’s Gen Ys who are leading the charge in the boom of Asian cuisine in Melbourne – which, says the Morgan research, is a good thing for Asian restaurants because they are also the generation most likely to dine out and order home-delivered food!
So, here’s our choice of 5 of the best East and South East Asian eateries in Melbourne.
1. Gourmet Dumpling House, 71 Glenferrie Road, Malvern.
This is a small Malaysian-Chinese restaurant located near Malvern station. Don’t let the bland interior fool you, this place is a hidden gem. You get a large amount of good food for not a bad price.
A family of three can eat a good-sized meal for under $40, but you may want to get drinks and optional “fatty” extras such as spring rolls or even an extra bowl of rice.
The dumplings are not the best you’ll find in Melbourne, but they’re not bad and you get a good-sized serve of them. And they deliver, you can get them on UberEats.
2. Kotaraya, 237 Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick.
One of our favs, the food here is really good. They describe themselves as an “Asian Multi Cuisine Restaurant” and it would be hard to argue against this given the variety of dishes from on offer.
The curries have just the right amount of flavour, spice and rice. And there is even a great specials list.
The restaurant itself is welcoming and spacious, it doesn’t go overboard on décor and the service is always with a smile. It’s a great dining experience.
Kotoraya will cost at least $20 per person for a substantial meal, plus drinks.
3. I Love Dumpings, 298 Bridge Road, Richmond.
Within walking distance from the MCG means this is a great place to go after a game or just if you’re in the area.
The dumplings here were the best we’ve had in Melbourne and, best-of-all, you can order in half-servings. What a great option to have at a dumpling restaurant.
The restaurant is busy and gets quite packed, so if you are looking for space in your dining experience it’s probably not the best choice. You won’t find yourself packed in like sardines, but you might find yourself sharing a table with other patrons.
Expect to pay at least $15 per person, plus drinks.
4. Spice Temple, Crown Complex, Southbank.
The food here is excellent, the service is impeccable and the aromas are stunning. Admittedly, we haven’t been to many high-end Asian restaurants in recent times, but Spice Temple must rate right up there with the best on offer.
You are treated as an honoured guest and the staff are always on call to help with everything you need to make your dining experience special.. The spicy options are truly spicy and if you do go for the hotter food, you should be warned about the dried chillies – they are super hot. And do not eat a handful because your dining companion dares you – definitely not a good idea.
The price reflects the quality and service and it can set you back more than your average meal. Food alone can cost up to $100 per person, it’s a fancy restaurant after all. But if you are looking for a good fancy restaurant then this is worth the cost.
5. China Bar, located around Melbourne CBD and wider suburbs.
The food here is good and it is definitely value for money. They have a massive menu with plenty of variety – and they are open late.
It reminds us of the fast-food in Asia. Our particular favourite is the BBQ-Pork plus roast-Duck over a bed of rice. China Bar grew into a chain preparing good quality meals at a decent price and that’s what you get.
If you do go here and you are watching your waste-line, avoid the milkshakes. They are almost too good.
Including a soft drink China Bar costs around $15-$20 per person making it easily affordable.
Why not share your favourite Asian eatery or what you think of our choices.