By: Vivienne Pearson
Last weekend saw in Chinese New Year and we are now in the Year of the Rooster. This seemed like a perfect excuse to do a wrap-up of Asian eating options. To keep this project manageable, we’ve restricted ourselves to central Byron Bay, so all these eateries are within a short stroll of each other (and the beach). We’ve also restricted the list to mainland eastern and southeastern Asian eateries. (Yes, we’ll cover Byron’s Japanese food another time, and yes, we understand that not all countries and cultures covered celebrate Chinese New Year.)
Happy Chilli Garden
The team at Happy Chilli Garden took Chinese New Year seriously by closing for a well-deserved break, allowing them to do the traditional thing of spending time visiting family. They are open again now for their lunch specials and evening dishes. Byron Street, near Jonson St (opposite Aldi), phone 6680 9191
Also on Byron Street is Succulent Café, which morphs throughout the day from a traditional cafe (breakfast) to a fusion (lunch) to one with an Asian focus (dinner). This is best illustrated by their fried chicken, which can be ordered in Japanese, Chinese or Korean style. You can read more about Succulent in our story from 13 December and while enjoying their free summertime flavoured water, be surprised by their poolside ambience (the pool belongs to holiday apartments but adds a cool outlook to the cafe). 3/8 Byron St, Ph: 6685 5711.
Sura Asian Cuisine
Another blend of Asian cuisines can be found at Sura, which has been open since August 2016. Co-owners Davinci and Andy are from Korea and Hong Kong respectively and staff member Hina, who joins them in the photo, is from Japan. Sura is a Korean word meaning ‘food for a king’, and the logo is a flag from an ancient country, Go-Gu-Ryu: the northernmost of three kingdoms on the Korean Peninsula, a culture of strong and proud people. The wok-filled galley kitchen opens onto umbrella-shaded tables from which you can relax and observe the hustle of Jonson Street. 4/84 Jonson St, Ph: 6685 7732.
Lemongrass at Byron
Vietnam uses the same lunar-solar calendar as China so shares the same new year. The only Vietnamese restaurant in town (as far as we and the Lemongrass team know), this eatery offers an inside-outside vibe hidden away in Lawson Arcade. Owner and cook Hung Van Nguyen considers himself one of the first ‘boat people’, being one of a small first Vietnamese group who arrived in Australia in 1977. Hung’s Vietnamese Noodle Soup is his most popular dish, around a quarter of which contain lemongrass as an ingredient. Shop 3/17 Lawson Arcade. Ph: 6680 8443.
According to Success Thai’s Facebook page, Thailand’s New Year is called Songkran and happens on 13 April each year. There’s no need to wait until then to check out Byron’s Thai restaurants though! Success Thai’s husband-and-wife team Goy and Khan cook all their food freshly, making it well worth the occasional wait in the cool laneway-style environment. With different meals on offer each day of the week, you can revisit regularly! 3/109 Jonson St, Ph: 6680 7798, Facebook: @SuccessThaiFood.
The lotus-flower logo combines well with the spacious wooden decor. The food is enough but if you need more reason to visit, head to Traditional Thai for their daily Happy Hour (5–7pm) for $5 beers and sparkling $12 cocktails. Evenings only, Fletcher St, near Bay Lane. Ph: 6685 5151.
Yum Cha doesn’t come in a more aesthetically pleasing setting than at Red Ginger, where cute tables for either two, or up to eight, are nestled in among Asian homewares, including books, tea sets, lamps and birdcages. The handmade dumplings are also available frozen, along with a serious selection of Asian groceries, teas and cookbooks. Jonson St, opposite Palace Cinema site (also in Bangalow) www.redginger.com.au or 6680 9779.