Us Brits seem to love our stir fries and curries even more than traditional Yorkshire puds or fish and chips.
And this is definitely the case in Cardiff – you only have to look at the hundreds of places there are to get Asian food here.
WOW247’s Cardiff editor Amy Pay picks ten Asian eateries in the city, perfect for any occasion.
For authentic Japanese dishes: Yakitori #1
— Yakitori#1 (@1Yakitori) May 7, 2015
With the freshest nigiri sushi and sashimi in town, Yakitori#1 epitomises the Japanese cuisine we’ve grown to love in the UK. It’s the ideal place for an introduction to the classics, including maki rolls (like the sushi in supermarkets, but fresh and authentic), tempura (fish or vegetables in batter) and tobiko (fish roe). The ramen is great here too, with a really flavourful and fragrant stock, plus you get the option to watch the chefs work their magic in the open kitchen or look out onto Cardiff Bay.
Unit 10, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay CF10 5BZ, yakitori1.co.uk/
For authentic Indian food: Purple Poppadom
— Purple Poppadom (@Purple_poppadom) May 22, 2015
There is a reason why this hugely popular restaurant has secured a spot in the Michelin Guide and the Good Food Guide; it serves amazing tasting, creative and artfully presented Indian food cooked fresh on the premises with a flair found nowhere else. The man behind the menu is Chef Anand George. He brings traditional tastes and techniques of his home region (Kerala) and gives them a new twist to make them exciting. It’s definitely worth a visit – it’s a feast for the eyes, nose and mouth!
185a Cowbridge Road East, Canton CF11 9AJ
For authentic Chinese food: Zi’s Café
Shrimps Chow Mein (Fried Noodles) ! Am I the only one who gets hungry earlier than usual when it's warm? pic.twitter.com/WSovBVDQQb
— Cardiff Zi's Cafe (@Zi_Cafe) April 27, 2015
You could easily drive past Zi’s without noticing it, though this would be a huge shame. While it doesn’t look up to much from the outside, inside you’ll find some of the tastiest Chinese food available in Cardiff. The chow mein dishes are really good, with soft firm noodles and lots of that authentic soy flavour we all love. If you’re feeling adventurous, go for the chicken porridge (yes, it’s savoury and tastes much better than it sounds) or one of the squid dishes. You won’t find squid at many Chinese restaurants, but once you’ve tried Zi’s you will seriously wonder why it isn’t more common.
94 Woodville Road, Cathays, Cardiff. CF24 4ED ziscafe.wordpress.com
For health-conscious food: Mowgli’s
— David Schönthal (@SchoenthalD) March 26, 2015
Indian food is often thought of as being anything but healthy. Mowgli’s sets out to challenge this with its low fat, naturally cooked and nutritionally balanced Bangladeshi cuisine. When you get the menu, there is a little icon to denote the healthiest options – ideal for those watching what they eat. What’s best is that even though the dishes here are healthier, they still look and taste insanely good, up there with the more ghee-loaded curries.
151 Crwys Road CF24 4NH, mowglis.co.uk
For afternoon tea with a twist: Chaiholics
— Chaiholics (@ChaiholicsUK) April 27, 2015
Now for something a bit different… Chaiholics (a tearoom by day and small Indian restaurant by night) offers a twist on the traditional afternoon tea. You get dainty finger sandwiches, tea-infused scones, a big pot of tea plus Indian chai bites (pakoras, samosas and more with rustic chutneys). It’s a unique experience, a must for those who love the spices and flavours of Indian cooking. If you happen to go there in the evening, order the yellow dhal with roti for a melt in your mouth combo you’ve yet to experience.
Unit 6, The Globe Centre, Wellfield Road, Roath CF24 3PJ, chaiholics.com
For loud get-togethers: Happy Gathering
Dim-sum with friends at Happy Gathering Cardiff. pic.twitter.com/zHvSIiOmcm
— David (@xcodedave) April 28, 2013
if you need to squeeze lots of hungry, chatty people who love Chinese food around one table, head here. With a lively atmosphere, attentive staff and a huge menu, it’s perfect for semi-casual dining. The dim sum is the best in town; there are nearly 50 dim sum dishes to choose from, each served up piping hot in cute bamboo steam baskets. We recommend the pork siu mai (deep in flavour yet very light in weight), the small rice balls wrapped in a lotus leaf (a visual spectacle) or the dinky spring rolls (leaps and bounds from standard take-out versions).
233 Cowbridge Road East, Canton CF11 9AL, happygatheringcardiff.co.uk
For veggies and vegans: Vegetarian Food Studio
— Sophie (@WG_Sophie) April 11, 2015
Veggies love it, vegans love it, and even meat-eaters love it. Vegetarian Food Studio serves truly authentic pan-Asian food, all freshly cooked on site to order. The spices are heavy, hot and perfectly blended, though those with a low chilli tolerance can ask the chefs to tone things down. Opt for a dosa dish for a change to your standard Indian main; it’s a giant rice and lentil pancake stuffed with dry roasted curried potatoes, vegetables and spices, with a bowl of sambar (like a soupier dhal) and chutneys. Also, as a rule*, all first time visitors must order the atom bombs with tamarind chutney to start.
115-117 Penarth Road CF11 6JU, vegetarianfoodstudio.co.uk
*we made up the rule, but atom bombs are so tasty, unique and unforgettable that we had to flag them up to you
For fancy takeaway food: Hokkei
— Hokkei (@HokkeiToGo) April 22, 2015
What happens to the people who get to the final of TV cookery shows and don’t win? Well, this upmarket takeaway at the top of Crwys Road is the venture of two MasterChef 2013 finalists, Dale and Larkin. Together, they cook ethically sourced, authentically flavoured Chinese food to go, with an added flair. They give their dishes quirky names; choose the moo baos (steamed buns stuffed with beef brisket, black beans and kimchi) or one of their fragrant, slow cooked curries if you’re stumped.
92 Crwys Road CF24 4NP, hokkei.co.uk
For street food-style meals: Chai Street
— Chai Street, Cardiff (@ChaiStreet) April 4, 2015
The younger brother of Mint and Mustard (another well-regarded Cardiff Indian eatery), Chai Street excels in replicating the taste and look of Indian street food and light meals. Served in stylish but casual surroundings, it’s ideal for a tasty lunch with friends or a quick tea before heading out for drinks. The flavour-packed minced lamb Indian street rolls are handy if you’re in a hurry or want something different to curry, or try the bhatura with chick peas. That said, the curries here are aromatic, thick and tasty and come served in fun compartmented dishes, so if you have time to try them, do!
153 Cowbridge Road East, Canton CF11 9AH, chaistreet.com/
For modern Indian dining: Moksh
— Moksh (@MokshCardiff) March 10, 2015
If Heston Blumenthal had his way with Indian food, the result would probably be something like the food served at Moksh. For example, one of their popular starters is chicken tikka in a creamy coriander béchamel sauce with carbon dioxide cinnamon essence. There are some less conceptual dishes, though whatever you order will be perfectly presented and skilfully flavoured. Mosh delivers a different curry experience to those that most people have had, and it’s impressive and exciting in equal measures.
Ocean Building, Bute Crescent, Cardiff Bay CF10 5AN, moksh.co.uk
Main photo: Yakitori #1 on Facebook
More insider’s guides for Cardiff foodies:
5 of the best places for gluten free food in Cardiff
10 of the best pizza places in Cardiff
9 of the best places for ice cream in Cardiff
10 of the best places for vegetarian and vegan food in Cardiff