Best South East Asian restaurants in Dubai
Time Out Dubai is the definitive voice on Dubai's best restaurants, including South East Asian restaurants. Here's a guide to where to get the best of the region.
Pad Thai, spicy green curry plus mango and sticky rice for dessert are staples on any Thai restaurant’s menu. But perhaps you’re looking for influences of Vietnamese or Malaysian? Time Out has visited each and every South East Asian restaurant listed to put them through their paces, assessing factors including quality of food, ambience and service. Popular or relatively unknown, we’ve gone undercover to discover a wealth of colours and flavours across the region so you can find out what you’re getting for your money at each venue.
Operating in Karama since 2007, Betawi has made a name for itself as a place to dine on authentic Indonesian dishes.
In 2016, the restaurant expanded to JLT, where it knocks out equally impressive cooking.
Expect no frills décor and low prices with food that is full of spice and flavour. We suspect many people won’t be au fait with the particulars of Indonesian food (save, perhaps, for tasty chicken satay and peanut sauce). So while the menu isn’t huge (a few soups, a handful of noodle dishes, nasi goreng and nasi padang) a few pointers from the staff can be very handy – and they’re (mostly) happy to help.
The soto betawi, with chunks of beef in a spicy, coconut soup shouldn’t be missed, and neither should the nasi padang, featuring beef rendang, vegetable curry, an egg and sambal sauce with steamed rice. The nasi padang is aromatic with meat slow-cooked until it falls apart, the curry sauce sweet and spicy and the rice cooked perfectly.
With generous portions and bags of flavour, this place serves up a great family-style feast.
The moment you walk into the Ritz-Carlton’s classy, contemporary Blue Jade, the elegant, Asian-tinged features strike you. There’s a huge central sushi bar with long, bamboo-like glass light shades hanging over it in a cluster and an open kitchen and bar to side, lit up in amber hues. Furniture is predominately dark woods and the lighting is low and moody. The large space is quiet and quite cavernous when empty, perhaps because of the slightly higher than average prices and fine-dining feel in an area where competition isn’t lacking. But this is the kind of place you’d come to celebrate an occasion rather than for a casual meal. In keeping with its high-end leaning, staff are super-professional, slick and personable. They know the menu, confidently recommending favourites, of which the coconut prawns really impress. Encased in batter and containing actual coconut pieces, they’re a good, intensely flavour-packed starter. Most of the menu follows suit, our only gripe being that many dishes come drenched in just a bit too much sauce. This is the case with the black pepper beef, in which the meat also arrives a little bit too rare. The experience is lifted by the miso black cod, with just the right amount of sweet, sticky deliciousness. Overall, the execution of dishes and lack of atmosphere let Blue Jade down. Come for a quiet night out, but there are livelier restaurants with better cooking if truly outstanding is what you’re after.