This popular business district in northern Sydney is home to a large number of corporate HQs: Smith's Snackfood, Pepsico and Optus just to name a few. But while it's definitely a business hub – and has the grey-glass high-rises that come with that – Chatswood is also one of Sydney's great cultural hubs, and a centrepoint for the Asian community. Which explains the great Chinese eats: it's here that you'll find yum cha juggernauts Kam Fook and Fook Yuen. Plus, Chatswood is home to a super-Westfield and Chatswood Chase shopping Centre as well as cultural venue, the Concourse, where you can hear music, see plays and watch movies under the stars in summer.
The best cheap eats in Chatswood
Order the: Fried chicken with rice, $9.90 In the corner of the stark, neon-lit Lemon Grove food court is this Korean fast food joint. While the bibimbap and kimchi pancakes are tempting, you need to order the fried chicken. The special is $9.90 and comes with a hearty serving of black and white rice, salad, potato noodles and kongnamul (sesame seasoned mung bean salad). On the sauce front, our pick is the sweet and spicy, but you can get hot spicy, soy or honey butter mustard too. They change the oil here every day, making for a clean tasting, extra crisp fried batter, and they use a mix of boneless dark and white meat.
Order the: Beef pho, $13.80 On any given night you’ll find Phood packed out with families gathering around the wooden tables sharing fried pork cutlets, grilled lemongrass chicken and barramundi fish cakes. When you walk into the Archer Street restaurant the first thing that hits you is the aromatic scent of pho coming from the kitchen – star anise, citrus and coriander mingle in the air. It tastes as good as it smells.
Order the: The King, $13.80 This Melburnian burger joint has found a welcoming home in Chatswood. The King’s juicy meat patty is topped by a puck of deep fried mac’n’cheese. It’s a tall order to get your mouth around, but a mighty tasty challenge. The secret burger sauce is like a Big Mac sauce, with hits of mustard, onion and zippy pickle through it; the meat is cooked just past pink (which is a rarity for any shopping centre burger) and tomatoes are fresh and juicy.
Fujiyama Noodle Bar
Order the: Chicken katsu curry with rice, $4.90 This has to be one of the best value meals in Chatswood, with a small serve costing less than a fiver. If your hunger is huge, no worries – you can upgrade to a large, or double up your crisp katsu. But if you really want to roll away try the special (or better yet share with a mate or two). A long wide platter of rice, four palm-sized pieces of sliced chicken katsu, and what looks like a litre of curry sauce come with bright red pickled radish, shredded cabbage, mayo, sweet teriyaki sauce and some bonus fried katsu prawns – and it’s only $20.