Junk Boat is everything you want in a Pan Asian street-style restaurant, a playful mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Malaysian and Korean. And it has just thrown open its doors in one of the last remaining tenancies along Oasis Shopping Centre’s snazzy new dining precinct.
With a cult-like following on the Sunshine Coast (where it originated) and with another three venues across Brisbane and Toowoomba, we’re stoked Junk Boat has finally sailed south with a signature, flavour-packed menu that’s authentic, fresh and easy on the wallet.
Junk’s street food menu is brimming with can’t-go-wrong choices, but if you twisted our arm, we’d probs shout “order the JFC”, because the Korean fried chicken wings with a sweet and spicy sauce are next level. Pair it with a serve of Gangnam fries—think spiced fries with Korean chilli, nacho cheese sauce and spring onion—and you’ve got yourself a super satisfying feed, without digging into your rent.
With everything on the menu designed to share, you’d best be wrangling a table of hungry mates. Seriously, we CANNOT get over the value for money and generous portions at this funky newbie.
We tried and loved the crispy pork belly stuffed inside a pillowy bao and served with pickled cucumber and peanut soy, or the grilled king prawns on a base of Singapore chilli sauce and Mantou buns convenient for soaking up said deliciousness. Plus, our early fave: the Thai-style grilled pork belly with fragrant coriander, Thai mint, and pickled fennel, drizzled with a chilli-lime dipping sauce. TBH we could just order a plate of prawn crackers served with addictive Junk-style sweet soy or the edamame cooked in butter and Junk spice and we’d walk away happy. It was that tasty.
We’re already planning our return visit, just to order the lamb rendang curry or the crispy calamari with a coconut caramel sauce. Um, coconut caramel sauce, say whaaa?!
Junk’s owner’s mantra is simple, “going out is too expensive these days,” (hear, hear!) so they’ve created a scaled back dining concept that just works. Sure you order from the counter and the drink offerings are uncomplicated, but the service is fast, attentive and friendly, and most importantly, there’s no compromise on ingredients as the food is knock-out-of-the-park delicious.
Junk’s drinks list is short and fuss-free, though just say the word for a bucket or two of Bintang or Tiger brewskies and you’ll be transported straight back to the sweaty side streets of Indo or Singapore. Not a beer drinker? The bubble tea spiked with gin or vodka will have a similar effect.
Fronting Victoria Avenue’s pedestrian strip, Junk’s restaurant set-up is casual, bold and decorated with Asian motifs—ornamental plates and exposed bulbs hang from the ceiling, while K-Pop tunes blast and Kung Fu flicks roll via a projector out front. It’s bustling and atmospheric with loads of seating too, so no matter whether it’s a date or the whole fam is in tow, Junk will welcome you with open arms.
We’ll say it again, if value for money and fresh, fragrant flavours is high on your list of priorities, then you’ll be blown away by the line-up at this casual, fast-paced eatery. And for that reason, we’ve no doubt this joint will soon become a crowd fave.
What: Junk Boat—Asian street eats
Where: Shop 54, Victoria Avenue, Oasis Shopping Centre, Broadbeach
When: Open seven days, 11am to 10pm
Image credit: Hayley Williamson for The Urban List