You couldn't get much farther away in the world than Asia to Ireland. But you would never know that from some of the restaurants you'd find here in Dublin. Over the last few years, a blossoming Asian cuisine scene has brought the real flavours of the 'far East' to our capital. Chinese, Korean, Nepalese, Thai, Japanese – they're all here. We've rounded up five of our favourites.
1. Sitan/Snacks, Three Monks Asian Foods
They use influences from Indian, Japanese and Thai cuisine here, but it's their Nepalese meals that make this place unique. Think hot and fiery dishes from the Himalayas and street food straight from Kathmandu.
This kind of cooking has plenty of lentils, spices and juicy marinated meats. A Nepalese spread should feature the traditional Daal dish of lentils and spices and the Janeko Daal here is tempered with jimbu, cumin and smoked chilli. Another favourite is the Shirpa Chilli Masala – a lip-smacking spicy Himalayan curry with peppers, tomatoes, spring onions and a delicate mix of Himalayan spices and herbs. But if you can't decide, you'll always win by ordering an assortment from their Sitan/Snacks menu.
Where: Three Monks Asian Foods, Portobello
2. Green Curry, Kyoto Asian Street Food
This Asian street food restaurant takes its menu and influences from Japan and Thailand, priding themselves on only using the freshest ingredients, locally sourced beef and no MSG – ever.
They have a range of starters and small plates – perfect for sharing. The salt and chilli chicken wings might just be one of the tastiest dishes in Dublin with crunchy wings tossed in fresh ginger, spring onions and hot chilli. The gyoza with chicken, cabbage, garlic and ginger is served hot and crispy and is great when dipped in a hot sesame soy sauce. But look out, they come in servings of five so you may end up squabbling over the last one.
For a main, the Green Curry with prawns is fragrant and creamy, a medium spiced number with coconut milk, green beans, chilli bamboo shoots, sweet basil and kaffir lime leaves.
Where: Kyoto Asian Street Food, Dun Laoghaire
3. Sushi Combination (10), Chai Yo
Chai Yo is one of Dublin's most popular Asian restaurants – and it's not just for the spectacle of a huge flaming wok. This place has top quality fare with a terrific range of Chinese, Thai and Japanese dishes.
Their sushi is fresh and filling, with choices that include crispy tempura, classic California with fresh crab and creamy avocado, and spicy dynamite rolls with fresh salmon, hot chilli, zesty spring onion and a smidge of mayonnaise. Do yourself a favour and get the combination with 10 pieces.
Where: Chai Yo, Grand Canal Dock
4. Monster Kimchi Fries, Bread & Bones
Bread & Bones combines the best of both worlds, with Asian inspired flavours coupled with western-style burger buns and crispy fries.
The perfect exhibit is the Monster Kimchi fries, topped with succulent pulled pork, sliced flat iron steak, a fried egg and garlic mayonnaise. But the most important ingredient is the Kimchi – an addictive Korean staple made from fermented cabbage and radish, seasoned with hot chilli, sharp scallions, pungent garlic, zesty ginger and salty jeotgal (fermented seafood).
Where: Bread & Bones, North City
5. Braised Sliced Pork Fillet & Vegetables, Hilan Chinese and Korean Restaurant
Hilan Chinese and Korean Restaurant was the first venue to dish up Korean food in Dublin. For more than 15 years, any local seeking a fully fledged Korean or Chinese experience can get their hands on dishes that you'd find on dinner tables across Asia. What's not to like about that?
There's the tender Korean Spicy Ribs and the sizzling Chinese Sea Bass, faithful favourites that have been brought to Dublin yet remain true to their origins. But for a dish with real buzz, we love their Braised Sliced Pork Fillet & Vegetables in Hot & Spicy Sauce.
Where: Hilan Chinese and Korean Restaurant, North City
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