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The length I would travel to have my favorite foods is pretty incredible (and equally as financially unviable). As all expats can relate to, one of the symptoms of homesickness is the intense craving for the flavors of home. Before you have even left, you might already find yourself hoarding your snacks for the move!
Luckily enough for me, and any of you friends that call (or once called) a place in East Asia home, Düsseldorf is home to quite a few authentic East Asian eateries. But, while I’ve been lucky enough to have discovered and eaten at some of these places, this list is by no means complete and I am, unfortunately, only a passionate foodie and not a food critic.
Having said that, without further ado, please enjoy some of my favorite (listed in no particular order) Asian food places in Düsseldorf!
A place I genuinely squealed at when I set foot inside is this Chinese bakery located on Oststraße.
One thing about Chinese eateries is that they’re always gonna have a cute/punny name. The pronunciation of this bakery is “bo-ow-bow” – the way you would pronounce the character “bao” (包, meaning bun/roll) if you were teaching the pronunciation to cute Chinese children.
Back to the food – the bakery sells its own freshly baked Chinese bread pastries with meat floss or a sweet filling. I truly cried tears of happiness when I had the blueberry cheesecake-filled pastry and their Oreo loaf. Please do yourself a favor and do not pass by this gem!
Address: Oststraße 107, 40210 Düsseldorf
The Instagram foodie in you will be thrilled to hear of the loaded Korean corn dogs (and their legendary cheese pulls – did someone say drool?) they serve here. You can top your corn dog with potato cubes, corn flakes, or crushed dry ramen noodles, and choose between a filling of cheese, sausage, or both and enjoy it on the bench outside if it’s full inside and the weather allows.
Located just past shopping street Schadowstraße, DODO&JOJO is a cozy Korean cafe serving popular Korean street food. There’s very commonly a line outside their shop, but wait times aren’t too crazy. For friends that struggle with spicy food, I’m happy to report that the tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) is a lot milder than typical, but still packs 100% of the flavor!
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Address: Gerresheimer Str. 12, 40211 Düsseldorf
For sushi-grade raw fish, freshly baked Japanese cream-pan, melon-pan – even curry-pan (!) – and a bistro serving hot curry udon for those rainy days when you need a bit of tender love and care, WAYO is the place to go. As a supermarket it carries all your Japanese food wishes and as a bistro makes sure you are fed and have been given what is effectively a hug in your tummy. I come here regularly for the cream-pan during my lunch break and cannot recommend the tempura udon and curry udon enough.
For friends looking to spend a little less, or don’t have time to sit down at lunch WAYO also serves yakisoba boxes at €4.50 a box to take away.
Pro tip: towards the end of the day is when WAYO tends to be sold out of their Japanese baked goods, so come at lunch/earlier in the day to get your fix of melon-pan!
Address: Lütticher Str. 17, 40547 Düsseldorf
As we are on the topic of noodles (!) this is the perfect segway to another great spot on Oststraße. When I was living in China my dad couldn’t get enough of Uigur-style hand-pulled noodles, and when we moved to Germany I could only hope that we might make the journey back often enough that I would be able to satisfy that particular food itch.
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Needless to say, it wasn’t and so you can only imagine my surprise at being able to experience the flavors again! Uigur-style noodles tend to be a bit thicker and chewier and are obviously imperfect due to them being handmade – but that’s exactly why I love them. They are prepared with meat and vegetables with the juices therefrom coating the noodles and giving them a lovely light orange color. Don’t worry if you wouldn’t particularly lose your marbles at noodles because Tengri Tagh also serves steamed dumplings, meat skewers, and rice dishes – all of their dishes are halal too!
For my noodle fiends: I have received the information that they will be soon serving up 凉皮 (liang-pi: cold noodles in a spicy chili sauce) – absolutely can’t wait. You will most certainly find me basically moved in over the summer.
Address: Oststraße 120, 40210 Düsseldorf
In case some readers haven’t had hotpot before – it’s a meal of thinly cut raw meat and veggies that you cook for a few minutes in a boiling soup base. This is typically shared and eaten amongst larger groups of people at gatherings and many Asian households will have their own equipment. Soup base flavors range from mild bone broths to spicy broths. Ingredients vary but include vegetables and food items that many Asians will have grown up with such as lotus root, rice cakes, or tofu pockets.
For all my reader friends that either haven’t had hot pot before or want to have the taste of home sans the fuss of making it yourself, Xiao Long Kan is your savior.
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Directions to this restaurant are simple: at the main station head straight ahead and follow the scent of a rich blend of spices. You’ll know you’ve reached the restaurant when the scent is too unbearable. Everything – the garnishes, the ingredients down to the decor (!) – made me feel like I was in China! Chinese friends I have met in Düsseldorf have told me this is the best hotpot outside of China.
Pro tip: sesame butter as a garnish is so underrated – definitely recommend mixing this with some soy sauce and adding a sprinkling of spring onion!
Address: Friedrich-Ebert-Straße.31, 40210 Düsseldorf
Since moving to Düsseldorf half a year ago, I have been to New City specifically for dim sum around 6 times. The Chinese friend who introduced me to this place explained that her family has been going here for 20 years.
My go-to dim sum dishes are cha shao bao (bbq pork bun) and nai huang bao (custard bun) and let me just tell you – when the custard buns at New City are hot and fresh, you can taste the rough granules of sugar that haven’t had time to dissolve. Absolutely divine. I also recommend their xia jiao (shrimp dumplings) and chang fen (rice noodle rolls), but you really can’t go wrong. If you’re feeling adventurous definitely try their chicken feet – black bean or brined are both great and brought me back home.
There are not a lot of people I’d trust to make me cha shao bao or nai huang bao, but let me just tell you that I would trust New City’s dim sum chef with my life.
Address: Herzogstraße 38, 40215 Düsseldorf
Chances are high that you have already heard of/ been to Pozangmatcha. But no list of Ddorf Asian food places is complete without this institution. Pozangmatcha, a repurposed tax office (with the original signage!), is a lively restaurant serving legendary fried chicken on Oststraße.
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The restaurant is quite cozy so it doesn’t take long for the place to be packed. If you need any sign of how popular the place is, just take a look at the graffiti-covered walls with drawings and signatures in all languages dating many years. If you ask the staff nicely they might also offer you a Sharpie, too. Finding a spot to leave your name is the hard part.
My visit to Pozangmatcha was quite late in the evening, but even at 10 pm the place is hopping, and although they might be sold out of their more popular items, you can’t go wrong with anything you choose from the menu and more importantly still, there’s always enough soju to go around in all the different flavors your heart desires.
Address: Oststraße 139, 40210 Dusseldorf
We conclude our list with a place you might visit later in the day…say midnight?
Kao Lai Kao Qu is definitely a must-visit for anyone missing the late-night flavors of China. During the summer months, there are entire pedestrian streets with different vendors lined up one after the other and the air is thick with the smell of spicy meat skewers, grilled aubergines, lotus root, corn, rice cakes, spicy clam with glass noodles…all of which you can find on the menu at Kao Lai Kao Qu.
I’ll be honest though, I wish you all the very best in finding a table during the hours when you would typically crave a plate of spicy meat kebabs. In the evenings the restaurant tends to be packed, but it is one of the few places that is still serving food at 11 pm. Without a doubt, one of my favorite places that brings me straight back to China, and definitely worth visiting for an authentic Chinese food experience.
Note: The name Kao Lai Kao Qu loans the pronunciation of a different character to make a play on the phrase “thinking things over and over” to make it mean “grilling things over and over”.
Address: Bilker Allee 66, 40219 Düsseldorf
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