Turns out David Novak of Sydney band Polish Club is quite the discerning foodie, and since we here at The AU Review are constantly in-touch with both local musicians and the local food scene we thought it best to grab his thoughts on a topic he is most passionate about: Asian food. Sydney is swarming with top-quality Asian eats, both high and low profile and extending far beyond the confines of the general CBD area; ask anyone where their favourites are and you’ll be met with wildly different results, though that doesn’t mean you should ever stop adding to what is no doubt an already massive to-do list. This is where these lists come in, guiding people on the seemingly non-stop quest to find the very best of all types of Asian cuisines around, inside and outside of the city. Plus, finding your new favourite inexpensive Asian joint is a sure-fire way to save some nosh for more live music.
David Novak’s Favourite Asian Eats Around Sydney
“I don’t have nearly enough money to be eating out enough to make a strong, specific list of specific cuisines. Nor are there enough inner city Filipino restaurants to fill a listicle. But to be honest, as a constantly famished half-Filipino boy, I more often than not find myself with a strong hankering for some “Asian”. Any old noodle, rice or deep fried meat will do. I’m not a picky eater, and if you are, you’re doing it wrong.
So here are some half good Asian joints, from a half good Asian.”
My Delight (Mascot)
Merivale just bought up the massive shit pub in Mascot, so that means it’s next on the list of Sydney gentrification. Which also means this amazing Indonesian resto will probably be a poke bowl cafe or Max Brenner soon. So get there quick and grab the gado gado and bakmie campur.
Address: 1131 Botany Rd, Mascot NSW 2020
Bbaek Ka Ne (CBD)
Honestly, this place will probably close down tomorrow. It’s impossible to find online and has had three different names since I first went. It’s to the right of the Sanctuary Hotel on Kent near Liverpool. It’s legit Korean fried chicken and more stuff that I can’t read because it’s all in Korean. We had some sort of pipis in spicy soup dish that was legit too.
Address: 545 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000
Happy Chef (Haymarket)
I’m heartbroken by Happy Chef, because they’re recently upped their prices by about $2.50, which is pretty shitty. Paying $12.50 for a big, rich combination laksa was way easier than $15. Still worth it though I reckon and the other options are cheaper, like BBQ pork laksa. Also if you find yourself in Sussex Centre Food Court and you don’t feel like laksa, the other stalls around there are pretty damn good (esp. the Vietnamese and the giant Katsu Curry joint)
Address: f3/401 Sussex St, Haymarket NSW 2000
Petaling Street (Haymarket)
This place is open til 11pm, which is unheard of in Sydney. It also happens to have super delicious Malay. The serving of rendang is the biggest around and is deliciously tender and the XO pipis with fried bread is insane.
Address: 760 George St, Haymarket NSW 2000
Kabocha (Neutral Bay)
Neutral Bay has a crazy amount of Japanese restaurants. It’s ridiculous. No matter what your budget, it’s got you covered. Kabocha is a cheap, quick and legit Japanese hole in the wall. Perfectly cooked chicken katsu curry for $10. The spicy teri don is also great. If you’re looking for a more fancy meal, Kyushu around the corner is more of a proper restaurant and their beef rolled maki is insane.
Address: 6/6-8 Waters Rd, Neutral Bay NSW 2090
Origami Cafe (Darlinghurst)
Just a sweet old Japanese lady and what I assume is her son, making the most delicious, underpriced Japanese standards and taking cash only. Like a huge bowl of curry for only $8.50. It’s criminal. It’s like being in someone’s bedroom in there, complete with weirdly sexual hand drawn anime basketball art on the wall.
Address: 58A Flinders St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Paper Bird (Potts Point)
A slightly fancy modern East Asian joint by the legends who ran Moon Park in Redfern. It’s less Korean-centric than Moon Park was, but there are still dishes like Korean Fried Chicken and Yukhoebap which are both tasty, alongside delicious small Japanese and Korean inspired share plates. Get the eggplant. They also do a brekky congee which I want to try.
Address: 46A MacLeay Street, Potts Point NSW 2011
Marrickville Pork Roll (Marrickville)
$5. It’s fucking five dollars. For a bigger-than-usual banh mi. Everyone knows about it, everyone goes there. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s $5 for the best banh mi I’ve had in Sydney. The pâté is the star here. BBQ pork roll > everything else.
Address: 236A Illawarra Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204
Menya Mappen (CBD)
If you’re in a rush, there is no quicker Asian joint than Mappen. It’s not going to blow your mind, but its single-digit cheap and you can literally order your noodle/soup, grab some self-serve fried goods or salad, get your main and eat in a solid 5 minutes. It’s very customisable and delicious. I like the Bukkake (lol) Ontama Mentaiko with Soba noodle, which is hot noodle with chilli cod roe butter and half boiled egg. Chuck in a takoyaki stick or piece of prawn tempura, whatever you want, because it’s right there ready and you’ve been a good boy/girl and deserve it.
Address: 11/537-551 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
A Korean run restaurant that somehow makes the best sushi I’ve had in Sydney. I believe the sushi chef is Japanese though. Really clean, fresh, classic sushi. Eastwood in general is an Asian cuisine haven. Lots of amazing Korean going on up there.
Address: 1/25 Railway Parade, Eastwood NSW 2122
Image: clockwise from top left – Mappen, Bbaek Ka Ne, Bbaek Ka Ne, Origami Cafe, Origami Cafe, Kabocha, Kabocha, Paper Bird, Happy Chef.
Think Novak’s got some pretty damn good taste? You should check out his band Polish Club, who recently released a new EP and are touring around Australia in December. Check out the full tour dates below, and grab some tickets HERE.
Friday 1 December – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
w/ West Thebarton & Diet
Saturday 2 December – Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW (All Ages)
w/ West Thebarton & Diet
Friday 8 December – The Croxton, Melbourne VIC
w/ West Thebarton & Diet
Friday 15 December – Uni Bar, Adelaide SA (All Ages)
w/c West Thebarton & Diet
Saturday 16 December – Rosemount, Perth WA
w/ West Thebarton & Stella Donnelly