Want to experience the tastes of Asia without sauna-like humidity, hives of motorcycles and the ripe odours of food markets? Then head on down to Junk.

There could be no better place for Junk than the Broadbeach Mall. Just as its neighbour, Harajuku Beer Stadium, brings new life to Japanese street food, so Junk is the eatery that takes on the rest of Asia.

Founded by Donut Boyz’s Tony Kelly (ex-Executive Chef of South Bank’s Stokehouse) and Scott Hoskins (ex- Worldwide Hospitality Group), this all-Asian restaurant has spread south from its tiny Maroochydore store to Brisbane, Toowoomba, and now the Gold Coast, bringing with it the joy of hawker-style Pan-Asian cuisine.

In true hawker style, we order and pay at the counter, with food brought to the table by the wait staff. The venue may look trendy and flash, but service is not the strong point, so turn your attention to the food and relax. Junk’s food is worth travelling for.

We’re delighted to learn that veteran chef Woody Zen is heading up Junk’s Broadbeach kitchen. As chef in many award-winning restaurants since coming to Australia eight years ago (Kin Kao, Thai Thai, Can Tho, Rickshores and Hideaway Kitchen), Woody Zen’s culinary creations are drool-worthy enough to justify ‘food stalking’.

As Head Chef at Junk, Woody’s brief is to capture the flavours of Asia for the Aussie palate, a job that he achieves admirably, with a parade of fresh vibrant dishes to share.

Start with bao – soft pillows of bun stuffed with fried fish, pork belly or our favourite, braised shitake mushroom balanced by the texture of crispy bean curd. It’s a flavour-filled delight! ($12 for 3)

We move on to a delicious satay chicken, and other interesting interpretations of classic dishes, such as Junk scotch eggs in panko crumbs with sweet chilli sauce, or the crispy calamari with coconut-caramel dipping sauce.

Grilled king prawns in Singapore chilli sauce have excellent flavour, served with a crisp fried Mantou bun to mop up the yummy juices. ($10 – $19)

Our favourite dish is the Junk style charred half chicken with fragrant herbs. At $16, it’s a luscious meal, the chicken tender and juicy, flavours packed with the punch of Vietnamese mint-laced salad balanced by nuoc cham dressing.

Sides of Junk slaw, fried rice and Gangnam fries with Korean chilli and nacho cheese sauce fill in the extra cracks!

Thankfully, there’s no claim of authenticity. Our ‘rendang’, a traditional Indonesian dish cooked slowly over a fire until the liquid is absorbed, is more Malaysian ‘kalio’ in style, wet and creamy with coconut milk. The lamb falls apart at the touch of the fork, and the flavours are true, if not overly complex. But truthfully, with so many regional varieties of the dish served across the archipelago, this is just another version mopped up with glee and groans of delight at our table.

Instead of traditional, we get fun and flavour, which suits beach-going Aussie diners so much more.

On a humid day, washed down with a Tiger or cocktail, we could be anywhere in Asia downing beer and nosh. Mixing it up, the shiso-flavoured bubble tea is refreshing, especially spiked with gin to get the party going.

Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Chinese, there’s nothing sacred when it comes to spreading the love of Asian. #lovethejunk

Just as the junk boat sailed from China throughout the rest of Asia, a symbol of trade and cultural expansion, so this ‘Junk’ has travelled to us, bringing us generously sized Asian-inspired dishes at a street-smart price. It’s a fun-filled journey.

Shop 54 Oasis Shopping Centre, Victoria Ave., Broadbeach Ph: 07 5631 8145

Open: Mon – Sun 11am – 10pm

NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of junk.

Asian Broadbeach Dinner Family friendly Indonesian International Licensed Lunch Main course $15 to $25 Restaurants Share plates Street Food Thai Wheelchair friendly , , , , , , , , , , ,

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