Thirty years ago you probably would have heard a many uninitiated utter something along the lines of “What the hell’s a ‘Yum-Char’, mate?”
These days you’re more likely to hear those same people asking when the next Yum Cha date with the squad is. Well we’ve gone ahead to make your job easier when it comes to ‘Drinking Tea’.
This is day time Chinese cuisine at its finest, a brunch-lunch tradition that originated way back in China before spreading its prolific footprint around the world wherever the Chinese migrated.
For the dumpling lovers of Sydney, these are your winning spots to devour some serious Dim Sum.
Golden Century Seafood Restaurant has long been an icon in Sydney’s Chinatown scene. With a strong focus on traditional dishes which have become the establishment’s signature dishes, Golden Century today holds a reputation for both Yum Cha and late night dining. For the OG experience head over to their Chinatown eatery and look for the queues and fishtanks. For something a little more upmarket, head over to The Century at The Star.
Sitting directly opposite Belmore Park in Central is another famous Sydney Yum Cha spot which has gone through a few evolutions to become Zilver today. All of the steamed favourites are there as well as the dessert dishes which will have you leaving happy on a sugar high. Zilver now has two locations with one in the original site and another more modern restaurant in Bondi.
Born from the mind of Sydney bar baron Justin Hemmes and local culinary hero Dan Hong, Mr. Wong is the modern approach to traditional Chinese. The striking fit out will probably grab your attention first but once the Dim Sum rolls out it’ll be your taste buds that throw the party. Besides the finest produce on offer here there’s also an extensive wine list to boot.
Marigold is one of Chinatown’s oldest Yum Cha restaurants which was established way back in 1982. Their cuisine focuses squarely on traditional Cantonese meals which make the most of their fresh produce and local access to seafood. Even the space exudes the old world charm of Chinatown with red, gold and high ceilings complete with chandeliers.
Sky Phoenix is all about bringing class and prestige to the Yum cha scene. Featuring beautiful contemporary decor in all of their restaurants along with an attentive service and all of the Yum Cha favourites, Phoenix has been able to grow to five locations across Sydney with Sky Phoenix sitting at the heart of the CBD in Sydney’s Centre Point.
If we’re talking about Chinatown institutions, East Ocean needs to be on that list. The bustle and noise of a traditional Yum Cha joint is there along with all of the gloriously steamed dishes that will send you home stuffed and satisfied.
Tim Ho Wan
If you haven’t heard of Tim Ho Wan by now then it’s time to get in for a spot of Michelin starred dumplings. The Hong Kong based Dim Sum house earned its stripes in the coveted 2015 Michelin guide with one star awarded to its eateries. Since then it has crashed the local Yum Cha scene sprouting up locations in Chatswood and the CBD. It might not be the “cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world” anymore but it’s still worth a try. There are now three locations in Sydney to choose from.
Head out west and you’ll find this little gem in Cabramtta. It’s been around since 1985 and has since moved to a larger location which reflects the Yum Cha establishment’s move into the future. The food is still as good as it used to be though and that’s what’s kept the weekend queues snaking all the way out the front door.
The Eight prides itself on challenging the limits of traditional Chinese cuisine with a Yum Cha menu that boasts great produce and loads of flavour in every bite. It’s also conveniently located at the top level of Market City.