Downtown Austin may have hip fusions foods and scrumptious steak houses, but North Austin is where you submerge yourself in the rich amounts of Asian foods and groceries that could rival some of the best Asian neighborhoods in the entire country.
Here’s what you’ll expect.
Asian Restaurants Galore
Nestled and spread around the entirety of North Austin from Parmer Ln to about the middle of Lamar, you’ll find great diversity in foods such as Thai, Korean, Sushi, and the big fad of the moment – bubble tea.
Here are some of my favorites.
Located in an unassuming grocery store this little food court is a gem in the rough. If you can think way back to a high school cafeteria, this food court is like that but actually delicious. You’ll have a choice of Korean food, Thai, or Vietnamese. They’re all literally right next to each other, so pick your poison.
My favorite of the current three establishments would have to be Hana Yoree – the Korean food stall. Cooked by your favorite auntie, this food screams delicious as it hits your taste buds. There’s your more popular meals like Bimbibap to more homey soups and stews.
An absolute hidden gem of Korean food – literally. This restaurant is tucked away behind all of the other businesses on Anderson Mill. You’ll have a scavenger hunt of a time finding it for the first time.
But once you find it, this restaurant offers some of the best Korean BBQ around town. You’ll come out smelling like grilled meats and smoke. To some, this might be a plus, but to others not so much – come at your own discretion.
Along with their BBQ, they do offer a mouth-watering assortment of regular at the table ordering style dishes.
Julie’s Noodles is one of the only places to get legit handmade soup dumplings, aka Xiao Long Bao. I absolutely love coming here. Their lamb noodle soup outrageously good.
Now 101 By Tea Haus is a restaurant that might have everything that your heart might desire – fried chicken, bubble tea, and curry. This Japanese orientated restaurant has deliciously succulent karaage, Japanese fried chicken, that is just unbelievably juicy.
But that’s not all, they have a great curry that I use to have on a weekly basis. It goes great for a cold day, a bad day, or just any day really.
Lastly, it’s called a Tea Haus for a reason. They serve bubble tea but only in a few good simple flavors. Don’t diss the small selection though. Each flavor is good and respectable in its own right.
This Thai restaurant has one of the best Pad Thai’s in Austin. Along with that, they have an assortment of curries that will really satiate your cravings. Be warned some of these are really spicy. They have a few locations throughout town, so you can go give them a try.
One of the best things about Madam Mam’s is their roasted chili sauce. It’s crunchy, smokey, and just a tad spicy to give any dish you order from them just a little better than it already it is.
And remember to save some room for dessert, because their mango sticky rice is just to die for. It’s my favorite part of the meal, when that warm sweet rice comes out to the table.
Kura takes the worst part of sushi out of the equation – the waiting. It’s the only revolving sushi bar in Austin and has a pretty wide assortment of sushi.
If you’re coming here, remember it’s quantity over quality here. The cuts are good but nothing crazy or top grade. It’s an experience that’s fun and engaging for everyone going.
For a late-night sushi crave, they are great to stumble in with your friends and enjoy another beer and sushi to your heart’s content. Just keep in mind, those plates start adding up fast.
Voted best fried chicken in Austin, Seoulju is owned by good friends who have some of the sneakiest best Korean food in town. It’s a well known Karaoke bar that specializes in K-Pop, unsurprisingly. I come here with some of my best friends. We’re treated like royalty. It can get kind of debaucherous here!
The Original Ramen Tatsuya
I wasn’t going to not talk about Ramen Tatsuya. Their first location is up in the Anderson Lane strip mall. It’s Austin’s most classic and important Ramen joint. At least in my subjectively correct opinion.
Asian Grocery Stores
You’ve moved to Austin and discovered HEB’s, but those pale in comparison to some of these Asian Grocery Stores, where you can walk out with a basket full of food for a budget.
Here’s the list of my go-to’s.
A juggernaut of the grocery store, H-mart bolsters a massive selection of Korean, Japanese, and Indian foods. Though at its base, it’s a Korean store, so that’s by far the largest selection of products.
Depending on the time you come, their seafood is unbelievable fresh. Also, their assortment of produce would put even Central Market to shame.
Along with your standard grocery store things, they also an extensive food court with live events – local artists, kpop nights, and sometimes karaoke.
One of the original and still going strong grocery stores. This is a Chinese based grocery store, so you’ll find your rude aunties and grandmas. However, don’t let that deter you.
MT offers a fine assortment of produce, spices, specialty goods, and a massive fish market. Although sometimes it’s not the freshest, but there is a great variety. Just be ready to fight through a line or shame an auntie for basically cutting you off.
Another Chinese grocery store that offers fresh seafood, very well priced pork cuts, and great produce. This grocery store has less of your rude aunties and more first-timers. So don’t be that person standing in the middle of the aisle.
This is also the largest Asian grocery store located in the south-est part of the North Austin, so if you’re really far south, this is your best bet.
Along with the usual Chinese groceries, they also offer some Japanese and Korean products, so it’s a pretty versatile store.
The only exclusively Japanese grocery store in Austin. They offer harder to find specialty Japanese ingredients but also your everyday Japanese cooking ingredients. Need some Koji aka moldy rice for your food experiments? They got you.
They also have one of the largest sake selections in Austin, so if you’ve been meaning to try it – go for it! Just remember, good sake is better cold.
Lastly, they also have fresh ready to grab foods like onigiri aka those delicious little rice triangles filled with whatever floats your boat.
North Austin has a lot to offer in terms of Asian foods and culture. I’ve only scratched the surface with my favorite places to go, but there are plenty of other small mom and pop shops to explore and experience.
So, if Asian food is your thing, then don’t be afraid to explore North Austin!
As always, if you’re looking for a new place to live, perhaps close to one of these wonderfully tasty places, give us a shout out!