Once a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood Cyrildene saw a large influx of Chinese immigrants in the 2000s as the First Chinatown on Commissioner Street was abandoned, and it offers a fascinating look at Joburg's rapidly shifting urban spaces. The street itself has undergone a lot of changes since 2020 with many of our favourites having closed (including Fisherman's Plate and Chinese Norther Foods). Still, there's lots of good reasons to visit.
If you want to experience a wide variety of Asian cuisine, are searching far and wide for an uncommon ingredient, want to sing some karaoke, sit down for a cup of tea or go for a beauty day at the spa, Chinatown in Cyrildene has plenty of options. Chinatown offers an enormous choice of places to eat tasty and well-priced Asian food – anything from Szechuan cuisine to Thai, Taiwanese, Korean and Shanghai delicacies. There's plenty of fun to be had in deciphering Chinese menus that carry no English translation (if one prefers not to be surprised, you can usually ask the owner or wait staff for assistance).
These are some of our Derrick Avenue favourites:
This Cantonese restaurant has some of Joburg's best yum cha and heavenly jasmine tea. As you walk in your senses are greeted by red and yellow decor and smells of jasmine, ginger and garlic. The steamed buns and side plates of prawns, duck and rice make it a great spot to go with a group if you're looking to try a variety of dishes.
23 Derrick Ave, tel. +27 11 615 7168
Bangkok Thai Spa
This Thai Spa offers a range of Thai traditional and Western-style massages to suit any tastes, at cut-rate prices. Weekdays specials are a one-hour massage for R199. The rooms are spotless and brightly outfitted in Thai fabrics and you will be greeted cheerily from the front verandah by a profusion of silk orchids that give the adjoining Thai restaurant its name.
Cnr Derrick Ave and Hettie St, tel. +27 78 783 7191
Simplicity Coffee and Tea
There are plenty of places to get boba in Joburg now but few can beat Simplicity. The owner of this store is incredibly friendly and welcoming and makes some of the best bubble tea we've tasted. Either sit down at their store or get a takeaway and stroll down Derrick Ave.
18C Derrick Ave, tel. +27 11 616 0288
Chong Qing Hot Pot
Spend an afternoon throwing ingredients into a simmering pot of broth and chilli oil. The traditional Chinese hot pots at Chong Qing are perfect for sharing with a couple of friends and the communal nature of the meal means its excellent for letting the hours pass as you lazily chat. In addition you get free karaoke with your meal so you can judge which friend you want to sing at your wedding (no hard feelings if you'd rather get a professional).
23 Derrick Ave, + 27 83 554 3054
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri 08:00–16:30, Sat 08:00–14:30, Sun 08:00–12:00 .