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.
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 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.
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.
2) 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.)
3) Puti Pastry and Tea
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.