18 Places to Get Asian Cuisine in the Queen City
As the city of Charlotte continues to grow, the Asian food scene is also rapidly exploding.
by Jessica Hodnett
With an increase of trendy bubble tea shops and Korean barbecue restaurants, even seasoned diners will find new and exciting Asian dishes to try in the Queen City.
This modern Chinese restaurant opened in 1993, and has been serving authentic Chinese dishes like moo shu (pork), chicken lo mein and hunan beef. Immediately upon entering the modern Chinese restaurant, your eyes will be drawn to a lit-up bar with a beautiful neon tree. Besides the unique atmosphere, you’ll feel right at home as the staff are friendly and the service is always quick.
Order the: Szechuan beef
Area: Blakeney Shopping Center
After growing up in Hong Kong, the owners at Open Rice wanted to bring some of their favorite Cantonese dishes (Char Siu, Hong Kong style roasted duck, bubble waffle and milk tea) to the Queen City. There is something for everyone to enjoy – from traditional street food to noodle dishes to a bubble waffle.
Order the: Char siu (a Cantonese pork) and the cast iron kimchi fried rice
Area: Wesley Heights
Sun's Kitchen is best known for their authentic, homestyle Chinese food. Owner, Brian Sun, grew up on the streets of Beijing surrounded by the sights and smells of Chinese street food culture before bringing his love of food to Charlotte. With dishes like sesame noodles, garlic shredded tofu and dumpling sample flights, there are plenty of options to suit all tastes.
The owner, Jian Fang, opened Taste of Shu in 2015, with a mission to “let you have the cuisine taste from thousands of miles away.” With a focus on Chinese Szechuan food (a style of Chinese cuisine originating from Sichuan Province), customer favorites include menu items like fried diced chicken with dried pepper Chongqing-style and grilled whole fish.
Order the: Beef in hot broth and pan fried dumplings
Neighborhood: South End
Owners Tony and Rosena love Japanese cuisine and have always dreamt of bringing the taste of Japan to Charlotte. Hence, the name “YUME,” which means “dream” in Japanese. From a sip of Hibiki Whisky, to a bowl of traditional Tonkotsu ramen, Yakitori, or a beautiful platter of sushi and sashimi, you can always find fresh, authentic and creative dishes at YUME.
Order the: Thai curry ramen
Don’t let the name fool you. New Zealand Cafe is a sushi gem located off of Sardis Road in Matthews. Sushi and the specialty rolls are a customer favorite, but they also offer plenty of options such as bento boxes, seafood dishes and hibachi steak entrees. Pro tip: Call ahead for pickup orders as the waits on the weekends can get to over an hour.
Order the: Sushi boat
Red Sake has been serving signature sushi rolls and main entrees like shaking beef and rice and noodle dishes to the Ballantyne community since March 2020. If you want a more intimate experience, make an Edomae-style (where fish is marinated and preserved for a few days) omakase reservation with Chef Robin. You can choose an 8- or 12-course meal at the sushi bar with up to four guests max. To make an omakase reservation, you’ll need to call 72 hours in advance.
Order the: Truffle and lotus sushi roll
Neighborhood: Plaza Shamrock
This is hands down one of Charlotte’s most well-known and beloved Vietnamese establishments. Owner Dan Nguyen always welcomes guests in like family. She and her staff are known for putting love into every dish served. A customer favorite is the #45, a vermicelli bowl with a combination of charbroiled pork, shrimp, imperial roll, lettuce, cucumber, mint, and bean sprouts, served with a sweet sour sauce. With so many options on the menu, first-timers can talk to the server about what they like, and they’ll recommend something wonderful for you.
Order the: Vermicelli noodles and vegetable hot pot
Neighborhood: Madison Park
Family owned and located in the Archdale Marketplace strip mall off of South Boulevard, Doan’s Restaurant is a casual and cozy spot that offers Southern Vietnamese-style pho and other Asian fusion eats.
Order the: Singapore noodles and pho
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Known as the Vietnamese noodle soup destination, this spot offers a wide variety of pho and many other specialties. Their signature broth is made from locally sourced ingredients, produce and spices to create the perfect, warm bowl of pho. Devour other popular items like the array of rice plates and vermicelli bowls.
Order the: Pho tai
Chaat ‘n’ Dosa is a pure vegetarian Indian restaurant with a mix of Northern and Southern Indian flavors. This is a great place to go with friends so you can share multiple dishes and order pretty everything on the menu. Chaats, or Indian street food dishes are under $5. The crunchy puris stuffed with boiled potato bits, chick peas, moong, onions and topped with housemade chutneys are a must order.
Order the: Samosa chaat
Located right off of East Boulevard in a historic bungalow, this Indian restaurant is the perfect place for date night. Copper offers a modern dining experience with bold Indian flavors. Weekday specials include protein (chicken, lamb, seafood, fish, etc.) with a side of naan, rice and your choice of salad or soup, and sauce.
Order the: Lamb kozhambu curry
Visitors have the option to choose from the highest quality of Korean barbecue meats with a grill-at-your-table experience. In addition to the tabletop barbecue, there’s a number of a la carte dishes like bibimbab and Korean tacos. Pro tip: Make sure to ask about the whole cow special.
Order the: Kimchi bulgogi nachos and marinated prime rib
As you enter the grocery store on the side of the building, there is a small restaurant with dine-in seating for guests to enjoy a full menu of authentic Korean dishes. From starters like yaki mandu (Korean dumplings) and seafood pancakes to beef bulgogi, there are plenty of tasty items to choose from. After you indulge in all of the wonderful Korean dishes, stock up on your favorite Asian snacks, fruit and grocery items.
Order the: Jab chae (Korean stir fry noodles)
Area: Montclaire South
This family and locally owned Korean restaurant was established in 1995, offering authentic Korean food and Chinese food. The casual restaurant has vegetarian and gluten free dishes to accommodate guests with allergy sensitivities. Customer favorites include bulgogi and spicy pork bibimbap (Korean rice dish)
Order the: Korean spicy wings
Neighborhood: South End
If you’re looking for Thai street food, Rai Lay should be at the top of your list. Since pad Thai is one of the most popular Thai dishes, Rai Lay chose to dish out two different versions: pad Thai and crispy pad Thai. Inside, you’ll find a full bar with specialty cocktails, select draft beer, wine, and sake lists to complement any menu item.
Order the: Green curry bowl and crispy pad Thai
With a beautiful ambiance, friendly service, and an authentic selection of Thai street eats and noodle bowls, this family-owned restaurant is a staple in the NoDa community. Pro tip: Save room the mango sticky rice. You won’t want to share it, it’s that good.
Order the: Drunken noodles and spicy basil stir fry
Neighborhood: University City
Over the last 20 years, Thai House in Charlotte has worked hard to deliver the best dining experience for locals and visitors. Inside, the atmosphere is calm with Thai music playing in the background, and delicately placed handcrafted teak wood pieces throughout the dining area. They offer daily lunch specials that are served with soup and a fried spring roll.
Order the: Panang curry with shrimp