Given the moment Asian street food is currently having in Australia, Westfield Garden City's new 8 Street food precinct could not have arrived at a more opportune time. The indoor food court, inspired by the hawker-style street markets found across Asia, houses 13 different food vendors. The fit out demonstrates an admirable commitment to concept. Wooden facades mimic East Asian architecture, specially imported tables and chairs lend consistency to the space, a beaten up old bicycle (plucked directly from the streets of China, we’re told) leans against a support pillar. The attention to detail is such that even the rubbish bins look like mini pagodas.
It is certainly a surprise to find such an establishment inside a Westfield shopping centre and indeed, 8 Street is the first precinct of its kind. Though it's difficult to feel completely transported, the hustle and bustle (the place was crammed on our Thursday night visit) helps the atmosphere along, as of course does the food. The exuberant and eclectic (and affordable) Asian culinary culture of nearby Sunnybank is an easy point of comparison. In fact, if you frequent Sunnybank you will recognise the names of some of 8 Street’s stall holders.
BBQ by Burlington carves up a selection of Chinese BBQ meats, but the roast duck pancake (house-made pancake filled with roasted duck, cucumber, spring onion, peanut and hoisin sauce) is just about an unbeatable eat and run meal at just $7.90. A close second would be any of the gua bao (Asian style burgers) from Grill n Bao, also priced at $7.90. For those who like to keep their hands and clothing clean while eating, Noodle 8 serves up tasty Malaysian noodles, including the Special Singapore fried rice noodle at $10.90 – far less messy than the aforementioned options.
If you’re keen for some Japanese, head to Teppanyaki Lovers or Okonomi House; if you'd rather Korean, try Madtongsan; Taste Gallery specialises in Shanghai dumplings; Asian wonton soup is served at WON TON TON; skewered meats and vegetables get the BBQ treatment at Crazy Wings. BUN Vietnamese has a fairly extensive menu and Congee Master and Rice Town each offer a surprising number of topping variations. Sit back with a beer in one of two dedicated beer gardens (or grab one from a cart going past — just $5!), or grab a bubble tea from Gong Cha.
8 Street presents an unlikely food experience with pretty fine far — much more than just a novel convenience.