While authenticity is often a drawcard for Asian eating, there’s also something wonderfully intriguing and delicious about discovering a chef who can fuse the best of many different cuisines to create a whole new take on classic favourites. Discover some of Melbourne’s most talented in this quick guide to getting your fix of Asian flavours.
Rice Paper Scissors
The queue out the door is testament to the popularity of this hawker-style Southeast Asian eatery. When you do get a table, there’s one thing missing—cutlery, so get set to eat enjoy a shared sensory eating experience (#useyourhands). Standout dishes include the Duck Salad and Crying Tiger (char-grilled wagyu with a spicy citrus dipping sauce).
19 Liverpool St, Melbourne
Overlooking the bay in Port Melbourne, Tenpin’s laidback vibe reflects its coastal location. Fusing the flavours of Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia with a dash of Korean, the menu is designed to be shared, with highlights including Fried Pork and Shiitake Birds Nest Dumplings, Indonesian Wagyu Beef Skewers and Stir-Fried Portarlington Mussels with chilli jam, Thai basil and lime.
49 Beach St, Port Melbourne
While it’s open for lunch and dinner too, Chumanchu is a great choice for an Asian-inspired breakfast. While they pitch themselves as Vietnamese, they add a ‘modern twist’ in the form of Japanese, Thai and even Indian influences. Start your day with Asiatic sauté mushrooms, Okonomiyaki, congee or perhaps Green Lentil Dahl.
2/4 Gilbert Road, Preston
Having been a Melbourne dining success story since 2006, Gingerboy, the younger sibling of Ezard, is touted as the city’s “original fusion hawker restaurant”. You can choose from the regularly updated menu of dumplings, snacks and street food, and shared dishes, or simple say “Feed me!” to the waitstaff and they’ll put together a banquet that will certainly fill your boots. Or if you’ve got cocktails in mind, head upstairs for tipples and snacks.
27-29 Crossley St, Melbourne
Describing their offering as “twisted Bánh Mi”, the Hawker Boys fuse their Vietnamese and Chinese heritage to present an eclectic street food menu. While the idea of street food suggests food in a hurry, the Hawker Boys don’t scrimp on time when it comes to preparation. The lemongrass is hand chopped, the broth for the Wonton Noodle Soup is made fresh every morning and the Char Siu Pork is marinated for at least 48 hours.
85 Hardware Lane, Melbourne