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Orient Expressions

Ten restaurants that serve up exotic Asian dishes to get your tastebuds wagging.

  • Hoi An
    Hoi AnImage Credit: Supplied
  • Hoi An
    Bamboo LagoonImage Credit: Supplied

Bamboo Lagoon, J.W. Marriott Hotel
The mood is lively, the ambience is rustic and there is plenty of hustle and bustle. The setting, with its meandering waterways, little arched bridges and bamboo huts also offers cosy seating options. Yet, it is the Far Eastern food, served from four different counters, that leaves a lasting impression.

Healthy eating choices abound with an extravagant seafood range boasting Indonesian, Thai, Chinese, Malaysian and Polynesian influences. Starting at the ‘Steamed Boat’, try out the wickedly spicy Tom Yam Kung soup from Thailand.Chillies and aromatic spices explode in a range of flavours at the starters counter.

Try the Filipino sweet and sour pickled green papaya, chicken teriyaki salad, and Japanese tempura among others. Mains include varieties of stir-fried rice, chicken, duck, beef and seafood preparations in Malay, Thai and Chinese style. For desserts, get adventurous with coconut milk-based dishes or stick to a tropical Asian fruit diet ofmangosteens, rambutans, lychees, guava, longans and honeydew.
Tel: 04 6077977

Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel and Towers

Mountains of tiger shrimp and luscious Omani lobsters, freshly shucked oysters,
chilled shellfishes, plump salmon and calamari greet you as you step into the modern interiors of the recently renovated Creekside Japanese restaurant.The menu here is driven by the freshest of ingredients based on an authentic Japanese menu, with other Far Eastern elements thrown in for a grand, sumptuous feast.

Live cooking  countersmake the dining experience fun and also promise hot, fresh and tasty food. At the Sushi bar, watch the chef in action as he deftly prepares sushi, sashimi and maki rolls.Feather-light tempuras are crunchy while the other buffet dishes include seafood with green curry, shrimps with sweet chilli and sour sauce and salmon grilled with Japanese spices.
Tel: 04 207 1750

Peppercrab, Grand Hyatt Dubai
The extensive brunch menu which varies each week, is served fresh at the table, course by course, in true fine dining style. Fresh fish and seafood are aplenty, and the restaurant’s eponymous signature dish alone is reason enough to warrant a comeback. 

A Singaporean delicacy, the delectable black pepper crab is wok-fried with soft, succulent flakes of sweet meat that easily fall off the shell and are seeped in a sweet, punchy black pepper sauce. The fun part is in using an apron, a cracker and gouging fork to devour the 1.2 kilo mud crab.
Tel: 04-3172300

Hoi An, Hotel Shangri-La
Fresh and full of flavour, artfully presented and incredibly light – Hoi An perfects the essence of Vietnamese cuisine with its innovative French approach. The colonial influence is seen in the stylised composition of its dishes, and touches of the imperial era are also carried through in its tasteful décor.Popular appetisers include crispy coconut prawns in a rice basket, lobster ravioli with coconut and mango sauce, and char-grilled duck sausage with pine nuts and keifer lime dressing.

The Vietnamese national soup, an intensely flavoured broth of chicken/beef and assorted vegetables, laced with glass noodles, is a must-have.The ‘fresh and natural’ concept extends to the desserts too. The chilled mango soup,for instance, is served with juliennes of fresh mango and a scoop of pandan ice-cream,while the halved honey-roasted banana in skin is soft and drizzled in crème caramel passion fruit sauce.
Tel: 04 4052703

Spice Emporium, Westin Hotel
It’s all about delicate textures, heady flavours,and tempting aromas at the contemporary culinary setting of the Spice Emporium.An innovative, modern take on French-Asian cuisines, the open kitchen here bustles with its flaming woks, sizzling teppanyaki station and red-hot tandoor oven. The menu is vast, featuring Far Eastern essentials with a dash of French flair in presentation.

The fusion element comes into full play in the savoury pan-fried duck and foie gras dumpling in ginger-scented oyster sauce.The tender, crispy chicken fruity is topped with slivers of green mango, pineapple and peanut and served individually on spinach leaves. Try the Chilean sea bass served on a bed of bok choy and topped with foamy and flavoured carrot-ginger broth. Savour the Chinese cinnamon parfait replete with crispy nuts to end a perfect dining experience.
Tel: 04 3994141

Benjarong, Dusit Thani Dubai
Benjarong prides itself on its exquisite, aromatic and spicy Royal Thai gastronomic delights. Here, spices are not mellowed down but remain just as spicy and piquant as the authentic versions. Fresh and tempting flavours combine to fabulous effect in Tom Yam Gung, a fragrant, hot prawn soup seasoned with lime, lemon grass, and chilli.

Golden crisp spring rolls, tender prawn parcels and delicate dim sums make a sensational snack or starter. Irresistible in the mains are the robustly spiced red snapper steamed in lemon and fish sauce. Coriander, red chilli, garlic and mint add aromatic flavours to this dish that is as much
Tel: 04 3433333


Zuma, Building 6, The Gate Village, DIFC
Inspired by the informal Japanese dining style called Izakaya, Zuma claims to serve “authentic, but not traditional Japanese cuisine”. Key to its appeal is its two open kitchens; the Sushi Counter with its dedicated sushi chefs and The Robata Grill inspired by the age-old cooking style of northern Japanese fishermen.

The focus here is on attention to detail and quality ingredients, as evidenced by the sashimi omakase at the Sushi Counter. This highly recommended Chef’s choice consists of imported fish such as hamachi, sea bass, salmon, yellowtail and tuna belly – the king of sushi ingredients. Embracing the authentic dining experience, guests are offered dishes that are brought to the table steadily and continuously through the meal, instead of following the typical starter and main course menu structure.

The signature dish is baby chicken marinated in barley miso, and oven roasted on cedar wood while another must-have is the spicy beef tenderloin with sesame, red chilli and sweet soy from The Robata Grill.
Tel: 04 4255660

Zheng He’s, Madinat Jumeirah
A fusion of western tastes and far eastern ambience is the essence of this ‘new Chinese’ dining experience. Here, at a pristine waterfront location, Chinese flavours are combined with western presentationGlowing red lanterns lead through the entrance to the sophisticated dining room where dark woods, a pagoda-style ceiling and several antiques embellish the artistically designed Oriental decor. Opt for a table on the quayside terrace for the best views, day or night.

Zheng He’s is known for its fresh, light dim sum and exemplary seafood specials.The piquant wasabi-crusted prawn with mayonnaise and mango salsa is highly  recommended. Other signature dishes include sautéed seafood with cashew nuts and chilli vinegar, and decadent plump scallops with shavings of truffle and white  asparagus.
Tel: 04 3665000

Lemongrass Restaurant, Oud Metha Road
If curries get your tastebuds wagging, this is the place to visit. Kick off with the  Lemongrass set’ that includes assorted appetisers such asmarinated chicken wrapped in pandan leaf, glass noodle salad with chicken mince, spring rolls, and prawn cakes with traditional Thai dip. Vegetarian and seafood versions are also available here, and for most dishes on the menu.

To maintain the perfect tang, the popular green curry with chicken and Thai eggplants is prepared using freshly flownin ingredients and a special homemade recipe.Other curry favourites such as Massaman beef curry or the red creamy chicken curry will leave you merrily ablaze.
Tel: 04 3342325

Beachcombers, Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Overlooking the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea, Beachcombers is located on the private beach and pool area of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Ideal for the beach fanatic, it serves up a delicious Southeast Asian Buffet, blending Far Eastern cuisine – Thai, Malaysian and Japanese – with a dash of Asian/Indian culinary flair.

Delicious dim sum, crispy prawn crackers and succulent spring rolls will start you off on the right note, particularly the Yam Talay - Thai seafood salad with chilli and coriander dressing. Move on to the refreshingly spicy curries, especially Thai green curried vegetables, yellow chicken curry, Indonesian beef rendang and assorted seafood varieties.

The grilled section whips up succulent chicken and lamb kebabs, moist and tender kingfish and juicy prawns.For accompaniments, don’tmiss out on the tempting veggie noodles. Equally tantalising is the Khao Phad Kung, Thai fried rice with prawn, vegetables and eggs.

Desserts here are any diner’s delight  featuring tropical fresh fruit such as papaya todelicious tidbits such as pineapple and coconut tiramisu and coconut pandan cake.Guai Kack, deep-fried banana glazed with vanilla ice cream and honey, is a true delight.
Tel: 04 4068999