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Eat: My favourite Asian restaurants in Oslo

Sometimes, I still yearn for Amsterdam, particularly for its immense diversity. Especially in Amsterdam East, where I resided for years, every 10 meters you'd encounter a different eatery. From Javanese to Jordanese, and from Cantonese to Iraqi—packed within 130 nationalities; what opulence. Yet, I must confess, nearly all my favourite dishes hail from Asia. Thankfully, in Oslo, multiple migrant groups have settled, unlocking the door to 'the East'. To somewhat elevate immigrants and the cultural and culinary richness they bring along, it seemed fitting to guide you through my favourite Asian restaurants in Oslo, listed randomly as they're truly all worthwhile.

An asian restaurant in Oslo

Baljit, son of an Indian immigrant, acquainted Norway with the vast richness and variety of Indian cuisine in the late 1980s. Continuing his father's tradition, he honed his skills as a chef. 'Listen to Baljit' became the moniker of his restaurant. Opting to focus on street food—dishes purchasable directly from food stalls—he crafted an extensive menu featuring diverse small dishes sourced from various regions of India. I emphasize this because the diversity within India is immense; failing to acknowledge it would do the Indian cuisine a disservice. I dare say this is one of the finest Indian restaurants in Oslo. At least, I've dined there thrice, and each time was superb. The ambiance is informal, prices somewhat manageable. The dishes boast excellent quality, taking the concept of comfort food to another level.

Navigating the fine line of aligning aesthetics with cuisine can often lead to a themed restaurant. However, the opposite holds true at Izakaya. Although I've never been to Japan, the credibility emanating from this tiny basement eatery is impressive. The dark wooden ceiling, decorations, and an overall curated shabbiness immediately transport you to another realm. The youthful servers exude friendliness, suggesting they're all part of an indie band in their spare time, evident from the uniquely dressed twentysomethings with challenging tattoos and canvas bags populating the bar stools. The menu is compact, each dish, in its simplicity, a masterpiece. Noodles so firm they could bounce back if dropped. The shiitake is delightful, don't overlook the spinach cheese pancake. And don't forget a glass of warm sake and sesame ice cream for dessert. If you're not convinced yet; it's always bustling, no reservations accepted. So, arrive early, or enjoy a beer at the bar while waiting.

Hong Kong conjures up fantastical imagery. Again, a place this humble blogger has never set foot in. Yet, I feel somewhat acquainted through Yum Cha, an outstanding restaurant specializing in typical Hong Kong dishes. Firstly, the interior is stunning. Dim sum is naturally popular in Hong Kong and is served at Yum Cha. However, the precisely prepared Cantonese dishes are truly masterful. I made the mistake of ordering too much when dining with another couple. Underestimating the satiating quality, the table was laden with steam baskets, bowls, and plates. Miraculously, everything was devoured. My favorite was the garlic pak choi and the fried shrimp balls. Yes, and of course, the amazing dim sum. Yum Cha is somewhat concealed in a street rarely frequented by tourists. However, believe me, it's worth taking the metro or tram to Majorstuen.

Situated at a corner of two streets in the Grønland district, embodies the most 'international' essence of Oslo, subtly reflecting the rich diversity of ethnicities shaped by past armed conflicts. Personally, I find solace in such areas, though I understand not everyone shares this sentiment. Inside Golden Chimp, a wondrous experience awaits. The walls sparingly adorned with kitschy artifacts, peculiar images, and the occasional odd primate. This brings me to the name: Golden Chimp. While unsure of its origin, it brought to mind that (perhaps ugly but groundbreaking) artwork by Jeff Koons, featuring the likeness of Michael Jackson and that peculiar little monkey, found in the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo. Overall, it somewhat resembles a fusion of a senior citizen center in a Chinese city suburb and a roadside eatery in a Soviet country.

In essence, here you dine on the most delightful and extraordinary dumplings. The ingredients used are excellent and sometimes surprising. I would say these are the best in Oslo, if not in Norway. While unafraid of experimentation, they firmly stay within the boundaries of what I'd describe as comfort food.

Absolutely fantastic. Let's start with that. If you're acquainted with Vietnamese cuisine, this will be a feast of recognition. If not, you'll never desire anything else after Dalat. What's splendid about Vietnamese cuisine is the marvelous mix of fresh and raw vegetables, herbs, and savory flavors. The blend of taste, aroma, and texture renders it incredibly satisfying. Thankfully, a relatively large Vietnamese minority resides in Norway, ensuring a constant demand for excellent Vietnamese fare.

The eatery itself hardly garners attention, despite its prime location in the city center. But that's alright. Those who frequent here know of its existence as they've been here for the 8th time. Expect no influencer-friendly ambiance; it's truly about the food here. The interior feels somewhat bare but certainly adds to the authenticity. The people running the place are just the sweetest you'll ever meet. Opt for classics like Pho and fresh spring rolls. Oh, and it's not overly pricey. Also pleasing.

There's a stark difference between ramen and ramen. With the popularity of the Japanese noodle dish, numerous ramen shops have emerged, some with questionable quality. However, what's crucial with ramen are the noodles. Particularly that they're fresh and firm. In fact, entire Netflix documentaries are dedicated to the perfect noodle. Let them deal with that; the point is, Koie Ramen has consistently surprised me with the quality of their ramen. I dare say they make the best in Oslo, perhaps evidenced by the recent opening of a second branch. And precisely that second one appeals to me greatly. It's never crowded, the kitchen always bustling, perfect for a quick bite. The new branch is near the new Munch Museum, yet despite the prime location, few are aware of its existence. As mentioned, excellent ramen and swift service!

Perhaps a tad pricey, but worth every penny, considering this might be one of Oslo's premier Asian fusion restaurants. I have no vested interest, having dined there only once, but it was an experience. Surprising dishes, excellent service, and a stunning interior, though subject to debate. As a former interior designer, I have a penchant for beautiful places, and this is one such gem. Andersen & Voll crafted the design, offering a splendid interpretation of Japanese and Scandinavian design while maintaining the grandeur of the establishment. Nonetheless, you're here for the menu. Presented in 6 or 8 courses. For me, 6 courses are more than sufficient, especially when paired with a wine package. Head here for a date; you'll be pampered.


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