Some top yum cha hubs in Australia
1,2,3! It’s time for M.S.G
When you finally feel ready to eat again, dumplings are a foolproof hangover choice. The B&E roll is another classic, but Australia is a mecca for Asian food. So line your stomach with tiny, salty Chinese teardrops of greasy goodness. Don’t worry, they’re easy to find - if you know where to look.
Chinese restaurants are not only a sensory overload for people poisoned by the goon bags of yesteryear but they can be expensive if you choose unwisely.
So here are some fail-safes:
On the border of Chinatown in Sydney, this southern Chinese show-off knows it’s the best and it will treat you accordingly: with haste and just the right amount of disrespect. It’s two-storey, but don’t let that fool you. You’ll need to get there before 11am or you won’t get a seat, and make sure you order the prawn dumplings, because daaaamnnn.
Yum Cha Café
Located in Melbourne's Chinatown in the city center, this place is easy to find. Aside from the red-heavy colour scheme of this inner-city treasure (which will 100% wake you right up), this is less hectic / more intimate yum cha vibe. Plus, it’s perfect for dehydrated dudes and dudettes, because it offers ‘cha matching’ – meaning, ‘tea matching’, meaning matching tea to dumpling. FYI, the ginger and prawn dumplings are BO$$.
Found in Brisbane’s Sunnybank Plaza, this place is local fave. If you asked anyone at random on the street, they’d probably point you in this humble direction and tell you to order the roast crispy-skin duck. BUT, you must mentally prepare to line up. This is the only bummer about places that everyone knows as bangers, but that only means it’s worth it.
Find this dumpling den inside Adelaide Central market. This is your classic, unpretentious choice, with Chef Leung in the throne for the last 40-odd years. If you bump into anyone, it won’t be because this place is cool, it’ll be because it’s GOOD. If you don’t try at least three different dumplings and the soft pork buns, you’ve wasted a golden opportunity.
Northbridge is pretty much Perth’s own little baby Chinatown, just over what local’s call the ‘Horseshoe Bridge’ from the city centre. And true to its rep, you will find the best yum cha here. Dragon Palace, because they don’t just do dumplings, but they do karaoke too. Hit the Hair of the Dawg and belt out a tune or two between bites.
This culturally-confused gem in Lenah Valley in Hobart is in fact a Chinese restaurant inside an English-esque castle. It’s cheap, it’s locally loved and it’ll get you the feed you truly need. Make sure you try the yam dumplings - Castle Zayee are known for these - and don’t worry too much about over-ordering because it’s cheap as chips. Cheers, Tassie.