Explore Asian Joburg - a food guide

01 Feb 2024

Joburg is home to many immigrant Asian communities and you can find authentic Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Japanese cuisine across the city, as long as you know where to look. Trust our comprehensive guide to Asian Joburg to find the best produce, local and imported goods, Asian-style, and traditional restaurants in your area. Here we're talking specifically about China and East Asia. If you're looking for authentic cuisine from the Indian subcontinent, our guide to Fordsburg Square is a good place to start or an immersive Fordsburg walking tour with Eenblond Tours. 

Joburg's East Asian community started with a large Chinese community who first settled on Commissioner Street in Ferreirasdorp to be close to the mining camp activity. This historic First Chinatown has over the years been largely abandoned as a centre of Chinese cultural activity as the Joburg economy shifted from the City Centre, but it still retains its historical landmarks which include the oldest Chinese restaurant and one of the best Chinese supermarkets. 

Fresh produce at the street market on Derrick Avenue, Cyrildene. Photo: Supplied.

From around the late 1990s, the Chinese community's businesses migrated to Cyrildene, and a vibrant new generation has created a distinctive neighbourhood there. In the north, a hub for Chinese immigrants was established in Rivonia where various Chinese supermarkets and restaurants can be found along Rivonia Boulevard. And all across Joburg, there's a network of China malls stocked with local and imported goods at wholesale prices. The city’s original, and possibly the largest China Mall, is on Main Reef Road in Amalgam. The China malls are great for electronics, fashion, and homeware,  but for cooking essentials and ingredients read on to explore our favourite Asian markets – starting with Joburg's three key Chinese neighbourhoods. 


As you enter through the grand paifang (archway) of Chinatown Cyrildene, it can feel overwhelming, but this street has a lot to offer. 

Derrick Avenue

Take a stroll down Derrick Avenue to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, like Chinese eggplants and daikon, from the street markets. Stop for boba tea at Coco, dumplings at Shun De, and spicy barbecued lamb skewers at Northern Dumpling

Welcome to Anong Thai Restaurant in Cyrildene. Photo: Anong Thai Restaurant via Instagram.

Anong Thai Restaurant

For authentic and delicious Thai cuisine, you can’t miss Anong in a beautiful wooden structure just off Derrick Avenue. The restaurant is light and breezy with comfortable seating, and the abundance of tropical foliage makes you feel like you’re really in Thailand. Menu highlights include pad thai, whole fried fish, and the most delicious mango and sticky rice for dessert.

CJ Supermarket

CJ Supermarket is the largest store on Derrick Avenue. They have endless aisles of imported noodles, snacks, and biscuits. As you venture further into the store, there’s a small Korean section, a wall of freezers packed with frozen dumplings and buns, and a large butchery section. At the back of the store, you’ll find cooking equipment, spices, condiments, tofu, and fresh produce. 

Shun De is a landmark restaurant along Derrick Avenue in Cyrildene. Photo: Shun De via Facebook.

Shun De Chinese Restaurant

Shun De is something of an institution on Derrick Avenue. Once you make your way up the stairs leading off Derrick Avenue, an inviting patio that overlooks the street gives way to a vast indoor restaurant. On an average weekday only a few tables will be occupied but, come Sundays, the restaurant becomes a hive of activity as every table is soon occupied by hungry diners settling in for the ever-popular yum cha, a Cantonese tradition of brunch with Chinese tea and dim sum. It's a Sunday morning tradition that we highly recommend: it's tasty, social, and easy on the pocket. If you're looking to visit for lunch or dinner, or simply want a takeaway, their menu is vast and offers authentic Chinese dishes.

Swallows Inn

For authentic Chinese cuisine visit Swallows Inn. This small, no-frills restaurant with a red and green façade is credited as the oldest Chinese restaurant in South Africa. Their menu features traditional Cantonese dishes, with wonton mein as a firm customer favourite. 

Long-standing Chinese supermarket Sui Hing Hong in Ferreirasdorp. Photo: Supplied.

Sui Hing Hong Supermarket

Across the road from Swallows Inn is one of the oldest Chinese supermarkets, Sui Hing Hong stocking a little of everything including condiments, tofu, fireworks, and crockery. 


Although Sandton’s unofficial Chinatown is clustered in Rivonia, from Rivonia Junction to Rivonia Centre you will find many different Asian supermarkets and restaurants, not just Chinese.

Biru Restaurant

Have lunch at hot-pot restaurant Biru on Rivonia Boulevard. Select a broth base (Japanese, bone broth, chilli soup or vegetarian) and choose any toppings from an endless list including wood-ear mushrooms, handmade noodles, and golden fish eggs to add to your broth.

Hot pot at Biru Restaurant in Rivonia. Photo: Biru Restaurant via Facebook.

Market Kokoro

Visit Market Kokoro in Rivonia Junction for all your Korean and other Asian cooking needs. Their extensive selection of condiments, noodles, and cookware is unrivalled, and they stock beautiful fresh produce including oyster mushrooms, napa cabbage, and bean sprouts. Kokoro has recently introduced a hot food menu with dumplings, corndogs, and fried rice which is made to order. Pop in between 11:00 and 16:00 to give their hot food a try. 

My Basket Supermarket

Do all your Asian pantry shopping at My Basket Supermarket and make sure to sample their freshly baked goods like pumpkin milk bread and hot matcha steamed buns. They also have a great selection of fresh produce including spring onions, bok choy, and bean sprouts.


Tea & Antique

Tea & Antique is a lovely spot neatly tucked into a corner of Bedfordview. It's a Chinese tea garden meets antique shop meets family-run restaurant. Tea service here is quite the affair. Choose between cold or hot teas and enjoy the elaborate way in which each is presented, complete with a little card which tells you more about each. The menu changes often but luckily staples like dumplings and steamed egg custard buns are a delicious constant you'll want to come back for. Finish your meal with one of the dainty Chinese cakes (ask for the peach and oolong tea variety). They're almost too pretty to cut but the Instagram-worthy pictures you're able to snap of them will leave you smiling long after they're devoured.

Tea service at Tea & Antique is a memorable affair. Photo: Sanet Oberholzer.

Lu Dong Chinese Restaurant

Driving along Van Riebeeck Avenue, it’s easy to miss Lu Dong – a tiny North East Chinese eatery. Their extensive menu features various cold dishes, meat, seafood, and soups but the absolute highlight is hand-pulled wheat noodles. We adore their ‘hot oil dry noodles’ which are prepared by pouring boiling hot oil over freshly cooked noodles, spices, and scallions. 

Chez Fong Pop-Up Restaurant

Enjoy an intimate dinner at the bookings-only pop-up restaurant Chez Fong in Forest Town run by Su-Yen Thornhill of Scottish-Chinese descent. After booking via WhatsApp, arrive at Su-Yen's home for a multi-course, Asian-influenced tasting menu of three or five courses for lunch or a surprise ten-course menu for dinner. The menu is different every time – inspired by seasonal ingredients picked up locally or according to popular holidays such as Thai Songkran. Make sure to provide Su-Yen with your dietary requirements ahead of time. 


Joburg’s upmarket shopping mall Hyde Park Corner is home to two restaurants that have earned their reputations as favourites on the Asian culinary scene for vastly different reasons. KōL Izakhaya is a sleek restaurant that serves contemporary Japanese cuisine. Sample a variety of sake options as you ponder the menu. Order a few plates of sushi, something from the robata grill, or try your hand at cooking your own food on a hibachi. Opposite KōL Izakhaya is one of our favourite Chinese restaurants, Red Chamber, which was opened by local legend Emma Chen in 1989. Try to book a round table and spin the lazy Susan, sampling the dishes they’re famous for, including spicy cucumber salad with chilli and garlic, Peking duck, and sizzling plates. Chen also has a second Joburg restaurant, the casual noodle spot People's Republic of Noodles (PRON) in Linden, where she serves up a simple menu of classic northern Chinese noodle bowls and small plates such as handbreak bread.

Feast on sushi and contemporary Japanese cuisine at KōL Izakhaya. Photo: KōL Izakhaya via Instagram.


Diners looking to indulge in Asian flavours are spoilt for choice when heading towards Rosebank and The Parks. Saigon Suzy is located along Jan Smuts Avenue's art strip and is popular not only for its Asian fusion menu but also for its luxurious karaoke rooms. The funky décor inside is a marvel on its own but don't forget the cherry blossom garden when Joburg shows off with its glorious weather. If you're heading to The Firs, Chunky Chau is another fun spot. Gorgeously decorated, the menu draws from pan-Asian inspiration, with plenty of dim sum parcels, noodle and rice dishes, curries, poke bowls, and fresh salads. And if you're heading over to Keyes Art Mile there's Kanpai, a Japanese-influenced restaurant that celebrates bubbles, cocktails, and sushi. It's next door to The Prawnery which has re-opened to offer their legendary prawn dishes and seafood favourites. Located on the top floor of the swanky Trumpet building in Keyes Art Mile you'll find Momo Kuro. Part of the home-grown Momo chain, whose other branches include Momo Baohaus in Greenside, Momo Soko in Illovo, Momo & O in Norwood, Momo Nikkō in Bryanston, and Momo Roku in Fourways, Momo Kuro is one of our favourite restaurants in the Asian street food-inspired brand.

You'll find plenty of delicious pan-Asian flavours on the menu at Chunky Chau. Photo: Chunky Chau via Instagram.


Chef Micky’s Thai Dining

Tucked away on Corlett Drive, you’ll find Chef Micky’s Thai Dining – brought to you by the same chef as Cyrildene’s beloved Sai Thai which closed down a few years ago. Pre-orders are essential as all the food is freshly prepared by Chef Micky herself. She also offers a catering service, called Chef Micky’s Private Dining, for events. 

Yamato Japanese Restaurant

Located within Melrose Arch (previously in Illovo), Yamato serves elegant and traditional Japanese food with polite service. The superior sushi and sashimi menu is more than a few cuts above your average conveyor belt. Other highlights include wakame seaweed salad with the chef's signature dressing and gyoza dumplings.

Arirang Korean Restaurant

Well worth the journey to Lonehill. Arirang, located in Leaping Frog Shopping Centre, is an authentic Korean restaurant with the best Korean fried chicken we’ve ever tasted. They have a separate vegetarian menu to make ordering easier and the banchan (side dishes) that come with the meal are simply delicious. 


A Korean feast at Banchan Korean Eatery in Parkmore. Photo: Supplied.

Banchan Korean Eatery

Nothing beats a fun night out grilling meat and vegetables on a Korean barbecue at family-run restaurant Banchan. If the thought of cooking your own food makes you nervous, there are plenty of other authentic Korean dishes on offer including bibimbap, tteok-bokki (rice cakes) and donkatsu (pork schnitzel with rice). Make sure to try some fruity soju (a Korean beverage with a kick), and take home a jar of homemade kimchi. Early bookings are essential because this small restaurant gets booked up fast. 

Obento Ramen Bar

If you're looking for a place to enjoy a steaming bowl of comforting ramen, Obento Ramen Bar is your answer. What started as a delivery service for friends during lockdown turned into a stint at the Fourways Farmers Market and eventually grew into the eatery in Parkmore. True to the name, ramen is the star of the show. It's hearty, generous, and bursting with umami flavours. One bowl is plenty but you will want to save some room to try the dim sum and interesting ice cream flavours for dessert.
Ramen is the name of the game at Obento Ramen Bar. Photo: Obento Ramen Bar via Instagram.

Momo Kuro

Trumpet (top floor), Keyes Art Mile, 21 Keyes Ave, Rosebank


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