Surfers Paradise (but is it really?)

In the time I’ve lived on the Coast I’ve visited the tourist hotspot known as Surfers Paradise a handful of times.  I tend to avoid it because it is very touristy, often crowded and I generally think of it as a bit tacky.  And when I refer to Surfers I do tend to focus on the area surrounding Cavill Ave which is the most commercial.  When I was younger and visited the Coast for holidays it wasn’t so bad, Cavill Mall was relatively new and home to Grundy’s which was very exciting in the eighties.  It fortunes have waxed and waned over years and it does appear to be on an upswing again but I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s mostly for visitors.

In an effort to acquaint myself with this part of world a bit more I decided to go and have a wander around Surfers and really have a better look at what’s on offer.  I travelled in for late lunch which was just as well because thanks to continual roadworks and traffic from ever present day trippers the drive there always takes longer than it should even on a Sunday.  I walked through newly developed areas I hadn’t been in before and through older areas to see what had changed.  The shops didn’t do much for me, lots of clothes and knickknacks. I had a lady stop me and ask where she could find a bookstore and the only one I could think of was in Cavill Mall which was nowhere near where we were at the time (I’ll admit the fact I don’t go there often did contribute to my lax local knowledge).

It’s main redeeming feature is the increasing number of restaurants and food outlets.  The sheer number of kebab shops and pubs within a small area points towards a very healthy party scene.  But it’s the other restaurants and cafes that make Surfers worth visiting. There are delicious Korean, Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants tucked down dodgy arcades.  I caught sight of few bubble tea shops too, of which I am a fan.  Newer areas such as Chevron Renaissance and Circle on Cavill are also home to some swish restaurants and cafes. 

chicken and noodles

chicken and noodles

 On Sunday I visited Uno’s which is a Korean restaurant, barbeque and bar at Circle on Cavill.  The food was delicious (though I was fighting the wind to eat my food before it got cold).  Korean fried dumplings are the best.  Even though I was eating by myself I ordered a starter (the delicious dumplings) as well as a stir fried noodles and chicken set.  The sets came with a side of soy bean soup (like miso) and two other side dishes (the kimchi was crunchy and a little spicy and the other non-spicy, starchy and mashed potato like).  The dumplings also came with two choices of dipping sauce – one spicy, the other not.  I was very full by the time I was done but it was worth it.  A few weeks ago I had dinner with friends at a Korean restaurant in the Centre Arcade (didn’t catch the name) and the food there was also excellent.  Again, the dumplings were a winner.

I'd already eaten two dumplings by the time I thought to take a photo

I'd already eaten two dumplings by the time I thought to take a photo

I took a few photos by the beach but it was too much glare (as always) for them to turn out well.  I also took some shots of a massive bigscreen at Circle on Cavill that was set up for kids to play Nintendo Wii on, but the strobing from the massive screen means those photos were no good either.

all the little side dishes

all the little side dishes

I finished of my trip to Surfers by relaxing with a coffee and some trashy magazines in one of the many coffee shops in the area.  Remind me not to support the corporate megalith by buying Starbucks coffee ever again.  I know I bought a latte but it tasted kind of bland.  I don’t know if it was the milk to coffee ratio or the actual taste of whatever coffee beans they were using but I wouldn’t buy there again.  It should have been a bit of a tip off when I stirred in my sugar and the foam stayed very pale and white.  After reading Starbucked last year I should have known better.

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