25 Asian Restaurants in Charlotte
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, culinary adventurers will enjoy the new and exciting Asian dishes to try in the Queen City.
This modern Chinese restaurant opened in 1993 and has been serving authentic dishes like moo shu pork, chicken lo mein and Hunan beef. Immediately upon entering Baoding, your eyes are drawn to a lit-up bar with a beautiful neon tree. Besides the unique atmosphere, you’ll feel right at home thanks to the friendly staff and quick service.
Try: Szechuan Beef
After growing up in Hong Kong, the owners at Open Rice wanted to bring Cantonese dishes, such as char siu, Cantonese-style roasted duck, bubble waffles and milk tea, to the Queen City. There is something for everyone to enjoy, from traditional street food to noodle dishes.
Try: Cast Iron Kimchi Fried Rice
Neighborhood: Wesley Heights
Sun's Kitchen is best known for authentic, homestyle Chinese food. Owner, Brian Sun, grew up in 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 dumplings made using a family recipe, there are plenty of options to suit all tastes.
Try: Dumpling Flight
Area: Southwest Charlotte
Local favorite Taste of SHU may have a new name, but the restaurant, now called Riceblossom, still serves many of its most popular dishes. With a focus on Chinese Szechuan food, a style of Chinese cuisine originating from the Sichuan province, customer favorites include Chongqing-style fried diced chicken and grilled whole fish, along with a new sushi menu.
Try: Beef and vegetable in hot spicy broth
Located in AvidXchange Music Factory, Bocao features specialty cocktails and fusion sushi with an ever-changing menu of weekend specials. Enjoy live music in a vibrant lounge atmosphere, perfect for a night out before or after a show at The Fillmore, The Underground or Skyla Credit Union Amphitheatre.
Try: Samurai Roll
Sitting on the edge of Uptown, enjoy a unison word of welcome as you enter JINYA’s exposed-brick dining room accented by an expressive mural. The restaurant specializes in richly flavored ramen that’s been slowly simmered for more than 20 hours. Detached from the dining room, an intimate bar features sake and spirits in a speakeasy-like atmosphere.
Try: Premium Tonkotsu Red
Area: South Charlotte
With all products imported from Uji, Japan, Hawaii-based Matcha Cafe Maiko offers shaved ice, soft serve, matcha parfaits and other sweets that make for a unique dessert bar in the heart of The Arboretum Shopping Center. Elevate your ice cream experience by ordering the Golden Sho-Gun, which is matcha soft serve dipped in 23.75 karat gold.
Try: Golden Sho-Gun
Menya Daruma specializes in handmade Japanese noodle dishes, such as ramen and soba. Take a seat at the counter, overlooking the open kitchen, to watch as the house-made noodles and broths are prepared right in front of you. In addition to comforting bowls of ramen, Menya’s menu also includes bao buns and katsu sandos.
Try: Tonkotsu Kuro ramen
Don’t let the name fool you, New Zealand Cafe is a sushi gem located in Matthews. The sushi bar and the specialty rolls are customer favorites, but the restaurant also offers bento boxes, grilled seafood and hibachi steak. Call ahead for pick-up orders, as the wait on the weekends can be over an hour.
Try: Sushi Boat
Red Sake has been serving signature sushi rolls, main entrees and noodle dishes to the Ballantyne community since March 2020. Sushi lovers will delight in the array of specialty and signature rolls, including the Truffle & Lotus roll with eel, avocado, seared salmon belly and fried lotus root.
Try: Truffle & Lotus roll
Coming to Charlotte by way of the eponymous Los Angeles neighborhood, Silverlake Ramen specializes in traditional ramen made with fresh ingredients. Order a filling bowl of classic or spicy tonkotsu ramen. Or indulge in Japanese-style fried chicken, known as chicken karaage, in a rice bowl.
Try: Chicken Karaage Bowl
Neighborhood: South End
Owners Tony Yum and Rosena Tong had a dream to bring 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.
Try: Thai Coconut Curry Ramen
Neighborhood: Optimist Park
Zukku Sushi CLT in Optimist Hall allows diners to craft sushi burritos, rolls and poke bowls with an array of ingredients. Or order curated menu items unique to this location like the Optimist Roll. The food stall features Japanese starters, such as Zukku dumplings and seaweed salad, as well as vegan options, sashimi, specialty soda and more.
Try: Spicy Salmon Poke
Neighborhood: Madison Park
Family owned, Doan’s Vietnamese Cuisine is a casual and cozy spot that offers Southern Vietnamese-style pho and other East Asian eats. Indulge in popular, authentic Vietnamese dishes, such as a Vietnamese yellow pancake stuffed with shrimp, chicken and bean sprouts. The restaurant’s expansive menu also includes several vegetarian options that don’t lack in flavor.
Try: Vietnamese Yellow Pancake
Area: East Charlotte
This is hands down one of Charlotte’s most beloved Vietnamese establishments. Owner Dan Nguyen and her staff are known for putting love into every dish. 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.
Try: Vermicelli noodles
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Known as the Vietnamese noodle soup destination, this spot offers a wide variety of pho and other rice and vermicelli dishes. Pho Hoa’s signature broth is made from locally sourced produce and spices to create the perfect, warm bowl of pho. Devour a hot-and-sour bowl of seafood pho or choose the Pho Tái, Bò Viên with steak meatballs.
Try: Pho Tái, Bò Viên
In a small strip of shops located on North Davidson Street, next to Cordelia Park and accessible via the Sugar Creek Greenway, Pho @ NoDa brings Vietnamese cuisine to the Mill District. The menu is reminiscent of authentic Vietnamese street food, bursting with flavor. Choose from pho, vermicelli and banh mi to enjoy inside or on the patio.
Try: Pho Gà
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 and share multiple dishes, ordering pretty much everything on the menu. Chaats, Indian street food dishes, are under $10. The Samosa Chaat, topped with garbanzo beans, tamarind chutney and roti crisps, are a must order.
Try: 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. Start your meal with an order of savory vegetable samosas before diving into one of the traditional main courses, such as lamb curry, chicken tikka masala or seafood curry.
Try: Lamb Kozhambu curry
Owners Chuda and Nara Dhimal opened their first restaurant, The King of Spicy, in 2015 before starting their next venture, Curry Gate. It’s not uncommon to find a line of hungry diners, eagerly awaiting the Nepalese and Indian cuisine. The Dhimals share a taste of their culture with dishes like tikka masala, Nepali-style steamed dumplings and curries. If you can handle the heat, order a spice level five or higher.
Try: Tikka Masala
Diners 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, the menu also includes options like bibimbap and bulgogi stew, . Ask about the Whole Cow Special, which features four cuts of beef, along with ttukbaegi bulgogi and seven sides.
Try: Kimchi Bulgogi Nachos
At Pepero Korean Restaurant, guests can enjoy a full menu of authentic Korean dishes. From starters like yaki mandu Korean dumplings and seafood pancakes to beef bulgogi, casseroles and noodle entrees, there are plenty of tasty items to choose from.
Try: Jab Chae Korean stir fry noodles
Area: South Charlotte
This family and locally owned Korean restaurant, established in 1996, offers authentic Korean food. Choi’s Korea and Wing has vegetarian- and gluten-free dishes to accommodate guests with dietary restrictions. Customer favorites include bulgogi, spicy pork bibimbap and, of course, Korean fried chicken wings.
Try: Korean Spicy Fried Chicken Wings
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 dishes 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.
Try: Crispy Pad Thai
Over the last 20 years, Thai House in Charlotte has worked hard to deliver the best dining experience for locals and visitors. Set to the soundtrack of calming Thai music, the restaurant offers daily lunch specials that are served with soup and a fried spring roll.
Try: Panang curry with shrimp
Craving more Thai food, check out these must-try Thai restaurants in Charlotte.
Article originally written by Jessica Hodnett. Updates by Arielle Patterson in April 2023.