Asian Food Explorations in Rivonia

by | Sep 27, 2023 | Food and Drink, Johannesburg, Sandton and Surrounds | 11 comments

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for weeks but I kept getting distracted by other adventures: a dazzling community light festival, a 2-billion-year-old meteorite crater, and a Heritage Month tour of churches. Now I’m back on track and ready to tell you about my food explorations in Rivonia.

Cat in a Chinese grocery store in Rivonia
A cat in a Chinese grocery store in Rivonia.

For the past 10 or 15 years, the far-northern Joburg suburb of Rivonia has been evolving into one of the city’s top destinations (surpassed only by Cyrildene) for Asian dining and food products. I already knew this and have blogged about Rivonia’s Asian food in the past, but it was time to revisit. I’ve made the 30-minute trek to Rivonia twice this year and discovered some new culinary gems with my friends Attiya and Gail.

Culinary Delights of Rivonia

Here are a few Asian spots I visited on my two recent afternoons walking around Rivonia.

1) Daisy Dumplings House

Daisy Dumplings House.

Daisy Dumplings House is a Chinese restaurant in a small shopping center on Rivonia Boulevard. Daisy serves lots of dumplings, obviously, and a large plate of them — enough for two meals — costs only R80 (about $4.25). Attiya and I also loved the spicy smashed cucumber salad.

A huge plate of delectable dumplings (already partially eaten).
Smashed cucumber salad from Daisy Dumplings House
Smashed cucumber with plenty of chili and coriander (cilantro).

Daisy’s vegetarian dumpling options are limited: There is one vegetable dumpling on the menu but they were out on the day we went. I had the mixed dumplings with pork, leek, shrimp, and egg, which were freaking delicious.

Heather and Attiya at Daisy Dumplings House
Thank you Attiya for the fantastic selfie. Attiya, who is also a blogger, has a nice little review of Daisy and lots of other unique Joburg restaurants in this post. (Photo: Attiya Sayyed)

2) Susu Bubble Tea

Susu Bubble Tea
Susu Bubble Tea.

Susu, which is directly next-door to Daisy, is a bubble tea chain with several locations around Joburg and Cape Town. The shop is designed for Instagram and I would go there just for the pictures. But I also love bubble tea — a trendy drink that originated in Taiwan in the 1980s — and Susu is as good a place for bubble tea as any. (If you want to know more about bubble tea, here’s a post I wrote many years ago.)

Susu Bubble Tea
A wider view. I don’t understand what the Susu tagline — “live loved, live loving” — has to do with bubble tea but I like the cat-face logo.
Heather at Susu Bubble Tea
My bubble tea and me. I always order the same flavor: traditional black milk tea with tapioca bubbles. (Photo: Attiya Sayyed)

3) Puti Pastry and Tea

Baked goods for sale at Puti Pastry and Tea. It’s hard to see in this picture but the item in the middle of the frame is “meat floss bread”, which I found intriguing.

If you aren’t too full after a large plate of dumplings and a milky cup of bubble tea, head across the street to Puti Pastry and Tea for dessert. Puti is known for its “jiggly cheesecake”, a Japanese dessert. But Puti also has lots of Chinese-style pastries and snacks, which I recognized from Tea and Antique, and a nice-looking selection of traditional Chinese teas.

Jiggly cheesecake from Puti
Jiggly cheesecake is a very sweet, chiffon-like dessert. Gail had seen posts about Puti’s jiggly cheesecake online and that’s what brought us there.

Gail, Attiya, and I met for tea at Puti and we each tried a different snack: Gail had the jiggly cake, I had the meat floss bread, which sort of tasted like challah bread, and Attiya had matcha strawberry shortcake.

Food from Puti
I’m not sure why I didn’t take better photos of the food and relegated Gail’s jiggly cake, which was the most interesting item, to the blurry background. The drink shown here is Attiya’s “Butterfly Pea Sparkling” juice, which she said was very tasty.

I enjoyed all the dishes we ordered at Puti, but the flavors are extremely mild and nothing really made a huge impression on my tastebuds. Puti is worth a trip for its jiggly cake and drinks though, especially since it’s so close to Daisy and Susu.

4) Market Kokoro

Market Kokoro in Rivonia
Market Kokoro in Rivonia Junction. It also has locations in Pretoria, Fourways, and Sandton.

Rivonia is a hot spot for Korean food, and Market Kokoro in the Rivonia Junction Centre (just a couple of blocks from the other restaurants in this post), is a great place to start exploring Korean cuisine. Market Kokoro is mainly an Asian grocery store, but it also has a counter where people can order Korean corn dogs, gimbap, and other Korean/Asian street food dishes.

Inside Market Kokoro
Korean corn dogs and other delights at the Market Kokoro food counter.

The last time I visited Kokoro, I was already really full from all the dumplings. But Attiya said I had to order some gimbap (also referred to as kimbap), which I’d never had before, and take it home for later. Gimbap is similar to sushi: “Gim” is the Korean word for the seaweed in which gimbap is wrapped and “bap” refers to the boiled rice in the dish.

I ordered a vegetarian gimpbap, which had kimchi, egg, and fresh vegetables. I enjoyed watching the lady make it.

Gimbap preparation at Market Kokoro
Layering on the kimchi and egg.
Cutting up gimbap
Cutting up the gimbap. As you can see, it’s much bigger and heartier than a sushi roll and it travels well once wrapped in paper.

I took the gimbap home. That night Thorsten and I enjoyed a delicious dinner of gimbap and leftover dumplings. I’m sad I don’t live closer to Market Kokoro — if I did I would eat there every other day.

Any suggestions for Asian places to try in Rivonia? Comments are welcome.


  1. dizzylexa

    I loved our trip there but it’s a bit out of the way for me when I have Cyrildene on my doorstep. Smashed cucumber is a favourite of ours after having it at Chopstix (27 Boxes in Melville) so much so I got the chef to let me in on the recipe, now we make it often.

    • 2summers

      I think we need to work that cucumber salad into our home cuisine too. It’s so freaking good!

  2. Graeme Adamson

    Being rather interested in Korean stuff after watching way too many K-dramas, I think I must go and try Kokoro when I’m in the area! Thank you.

    • 2summers

      Oh yes, you must!

  3. AutumnAshbough

    After your last blog on Korean corndogs, I tried the place near me and I am addicted. So delicious. As I am not a fan of actual hot dogs, but love cheese, these are one of my favs.

    • 2summers

      Ah, I’m glad I converted you. Sadly the other Joburg Korean corndog place has closed, but I’m definitely going to try one the next time I go to Market Kokoro.

  4. Alex Parsons

    Hello, there is also Fresh ‘n Yummy , an Asian supermarket, next to Bubble Boba tea, in Rivonia square (across from checkers)

    • 2summers

      I will check it out next time!

  5. Lani


    • 2summers

      So yummy. And this is just a small sample of the neighborhood! Apparently there is a great Persian restaurant too.

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