Want to discover the best Asian restaurants in Antwerp? Always ready for some good Chinese, Vietnamese or Japanese food? This article will show you five of the most unique Asian venues in Antwerp’s city centre.
You might have missed it, but we’ve all been locked up at home for more than two months now. We’re allowed to shop again in Belgium, but restaurants and pubs remain closed for now. This of course, is no fun, especially not for the owners. No less than one in four places could face bankruptcy in the months to come. This leaves us with only one thing to do: we need to fulfill our goddamn civic duty and go on a wild eating and boozing binge as soon as everything opens up again. Yes, a drunken revelry of epic proportions is the only way to save our small businesses from annihilation. And I wouldn’t be a true patriot if I wasn’t willing to do my part.
Discover the best Asian restaurants in Antwerp
In the next few months, I will mainly be writing about Antwerp, and more specifically about all of my favourite establishments in several different categories. This of course, exclusively to give my support and not at all to score a couple of free meals. Altruism is the cornerstone of my existence (call me, food people).
“No less than one in four bars and restaurants could face bankruptcy in the months to come. This leaves us with only one thing to do: we need to fulfill our goddamn civic duty and go on a wild eating and boozing binge as soon as everything opens up again.”
Asian restaurants already had a rough time before the lockdown started. This because the average client thought every plate of fried rice he ordered was personally dispatched from Wuhan to their table by some coughing Chinese guy from Alibaba. It feels appropriate to start my culinary discovery tour by talking about these places. So here’s a list of my favourite Asian restaurants in Antwerp. Have fun and Màn màn chī, my gourmet friends! That means “enjoy your meal” in Mandarin. I’m a learned man.
1. Ni Shifu: an authentic Chinese restaurant in Antwerp
*Ni Shifu is currently closed and I didn’t have any images of it. So enjoy this random picture of Shanghai’s East Nanjing Road for the time being.
Newsflash: the chop choy you ordered at the Golden Palace takeaway last Friday is about as Chinese as the average Instagram beach boy’s tattoos. It’s basically westernised fast food catered to our feeble European taste buds. Nice, but in Beijing you couldn’t lose it to a starving beggar. Luckily there are authentic Chinese restaurants in Antwerp as well. Ni Shifu for example: a tiny place close to the UGC movie theatre. They cook Sichuan food here, which means there’s lots of pepper on every dish. The menu is the size of a roof tile, the rates are very democratic and I’ve never eaten anything I didn’t find incredibly tasty here. Pick a couple of adventurous dishes, order some Tsingtao to go with it and start slurping those noodles baby! www.nishifu.be
2. Super Natural: varied Asian dishes in the student area
On the edge of the University neighbourhood – on the corner of Keizerstraat and Minderbroedersrui – lies Super Natural. This small and colourful restaurant is run by a sweet couple, and offers a varied kitchen that doesn’t limit itself to one country. Japanese tempura, Chinese dim sum and Vietnamese spring rolls: you can get all of them here and everything is freshly made. It’s not an expensive place at all and the sweet & sour chicken rice bowl is one of the tastiest treats you can present me with in Antwerp. Their homemade ice-tea is yummy as well. What are you waiting for? www.facebook.com/supernaturalantwerpen/
3. 5 Flavors Mmei: Antwerp’s best dumplings
Somewhat larger and in the south of Antwerp is 5 Flavors Mmei. The chef is a master of the Cantonese kitchen and was awarded the title of “Asian of the Year” (yes, that’s really what it’s called) by Gault&Millau a couple of years ago. This place is especially known for its dumplings, which are the best in the city. If you want a taste of all of them, order the dim sum menu. Want to try some other Asian dishes as well? Order the chef’s gourmet menu instead. When I took pictures for the city here a while ago, they put an entire plate of food in front of me, and then watched me closely to see whether I enjoyed it appropriately (see picture). Nice people. Practise your ni haos and xie xies beforehand, and you might even get a little applause after ordering. www.5flavors-mmei.be
4. Little BÚN: Vietnamese street food in the city centre
Little BÚN – yell that name, the accent is there for a reason – is the little brother of the much fancier BÚN in the south of the city (also an ex Asian of the Year). This tiny restaurant lies close to the many bars of Mechelseplein and serves Vietnamese street food that could have come straight out of the atmospheric alleys of Hanoi: pho, spring rolls, noodles, shrimp cakes, you name it. All produced with local ingredients. Cosy, no-nonsense place for a quick bite. Go out afterwards and sponsor the bars as well. It’s for a good cause! www.bunantwerp.be/little-bun/
5. Okoz: a hint of Japan in Antwerp
Okoz is another superb street food restaurant, this one in minimalistic Japanese style. It’s located in Nationalestraat, and if you feel like sushi you’ll have to go somewhere else because they don’t have it. They do sell okonomiyaki though, which is a traditional savoury pancake that comes with many different fillings. In Okoz, they gave this old classic a modern and photogenic twist. You can personalise your whole dish. Choose from fish, meat or veggies, from several toppings and from a variety of side dishes. The result is (depending on your choices) perfect for a healthy and tasty lunch. They’ve installed a nice Instagram corner as well, allowing you to take pictures of your food to your heart’s desire, without disturbing the normal people. We’re living in wondrous times indeed. www.okoz.eu
There you go: five great Asian restaurants in Antwerp. Since I only write about places I’ve actually been to, the list will grow longer as soon as I can start eating out again. Do you know any nice Asians yourself (preferably with a restaurant)? Did I forget your absolute favourite? Will you still stick with your takeaway nasi goring? Let it all out in the comments below.
Do you prefer booking your Asian restaurants not in Antwerp but on the actual continent? Click here to read my stories on Taipei, Singapore, Delhi and Hanoi. Looking for another destination in Belgium? There are plenty of things to do in Bruges, Spa, Koksijde, Liège and Charleroi as well.