In Cantonese cuisine, Yum Cha literally means to “drink tea” but let’s admit it, drinking tea is probably the last thing we think about when we decide to dine out for Yum Cha on the Gold Coast.
We’re here for the delicious dumplings! (Though the welcomingly refreshing Chinese tea accompaniment is etiquette, lest we forget.) “Yum” is certainly an apt phrase though—as those snugly presented savoury and sweet dim sums are an absolute taste sensation.
Puffy “rip-apart” barbecue pork-filled buns (char siu baau), crunchy translucent shrimp dumplings (har gow), long rice noodle sheets wrapped around prawn, beef, or pork pieces and soaked in sour sauce (cheung fun)... There’s literally trolley loads of freshly-prepared mouth-watering treats to choose from. Hell, we haven’t even gotten to dessert! Lotus seed buns, red bean cakes, egg custard tarts… Mmmm.
So where exactly do you find the best Yum Cha on the Gold Coast, we hear you cry? Well, get ready to rub your chopsticks together in anticipation and tuck into some seriously sized chicken feet, because we’ve scoured the Coast to reveal the, er, yummiest Yum Cha restaurants you’ll ever experience.
Top One Seafood Chinese Restaurant
Nestled away next to the food court on the first floor of Australia Fair, this is one of those authentically decorated Chinese restaurants that you know is going to be good because of the bus loads of Chinese patrons turning up to populate it. Complete with that essential “Yum Cha feel” of ladies carting around metallic trollies of hot, steaming dim sum served in bamboo containers, Top One is the place to finally throw caution to the wind and order those taro dumplings (the one with the intriguing bird’s nest-style coating), that you’ve been yearning to try in, well, forever. Trust us you won’t be sorry that you did.
Where: Shop 12, Australia Fair Parade, 42 Marine Parade, Southport
This smart Chinese restaurant at Sanctuary Cove is a rare feat indeed. Situated majestically on the corner of Masthead Way, it naturally comes with those spectacular views of the Cove’s iconic marina and is beautifully spacious too, with modern (as appose to traditional) clean-cut décor to die for. Now, there’s something we’ve forgotten to mention… oh, yes the Yum Cha! We love the menu for its easy and accessible presentation: split into four sections that comes with confusion-eradicating Chinese/English translations. And it’s not often that dim sum has been so elegantly presented as they are with Dragon Cove’s signature Siu Mai—which forgoes the time-honoured steamy basket for one of those fancy slim serving plates, (traditional baskets for the rest). Dragon Cove is BYO too, so why not taste the difference and have some wine with that? There’s even shrewdly pointed out vegetarian dumplings and, for added reassurance, the restaurant claims to be completely 100 per cent MSG free too.
Where: 1 Masthead Way, Sanctuary Cove
YUM CHA CUISINE Pacific Fair
Opening its doors in August and invitingly built on the outside corner of the astonishing new architectural complex of Pacific Fair, Yum Cha Cuisine is certainly hard to miss… and you wouldn’t want to neither. Clean, spacious, and welcoming with some of the tastiest dim sums the Gold Coast has to offer, it could quite possibly become the definitive place to tuck into these tasty steamed treats. There’s even the surprise attraction of a bar serving two types of Asahi (traditional “dry” and “dry black”) on tap. What’s not to love?
Where: Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Broadbeach
This recently opened Chinese restaurant, overlooking the Broadwater at Southport’s contemporary Sundale Shopping Precinct, shares the same owner in Jackie Cheng as the aforementioned Dragon Cove (and thus reassuringly, the same stern anti-MSG attitude). He is equally proud of his Yum Cha at Jasmin Room. Encouragingly all the dim sums are freshly prepared in-house from an esteemed Yum Cha Hong Kong chef, while there’s an incredible 40-50 varieties to choose from. Close proximity to the marina means there are brilliant balcony views, while the bar has beers on tap together with a traditional local wine menu or, if you’re feeling, adventurous Chinese wines are available too. All in all, a refreshing eye-opening take on the Yum Cha eating experience which is most encouraging to say the least.
Where: Sundale Level One, 2 Como Crescent, Southport
Yum Cha Cuisine Biggera Waters and Robina
If the thought of chewing on chicken feet makes your toes curl, then you really don’t know what you’re missing out on! Considered a Chinese Yum Cha delicacy, braised chicken feet may be unbelievably boney but it’s the juicy gelatin texture and tasty black bean and chilli marinade that makes them so darn irresistible. Consequently, we consider the most flavoursome and juicy chicken feet can be found at Yum Cha Cuisine‘s two spacious, immaculately presented dim sum establishments. If chicken feet is simply not your thing, then, due to this being some of the best yum cha on the Gold Coast, you’re bound to find numerous other tasty dim sums on their extensive menu.
Where: Harbour Town Shopping Centre, Biggera Waters and Robina Town Centre
As previously mentioned, it’s always a good sign when a Chinese restaurant is heaving with the local Chinese community. Being one of those long-established Yum Cha haunts that reinforces the fact that Yum Cha is all about the communal eating experience, Ming Palace in Broadbeach is renowned for its first-class service and family-friendly environment. We like the traditional Chinese decor too, and the fact you have the option to hire a private room for celebratory functions or dine on the balcony overlooking Victoria Avenue. Sweet!
Where: Shop 21 Victoria Avenue, Broadbeach
Easy House Vegetarian Restaurant
Pardon our ignorance, but who would’ve thought a vegetarian Yum Cha was even a possibility? But when at Easy House, a friendly waiter comes round with enticing trays of “all day” veggie dim sums to help in your dim sum decision-making the result is, well, too easy! With tantalising alternatives like a veggie version of siu mai (pork dumpling), that’s made up of sour bean paste, cabbage, carrot, and celery, along with truly scrumptious sesame prawn and coriander rolls, lightly fried radish balls, and a flaky pastry “pork” roll that uses the meat-friendly filling of gluten flour, well, we’re more than happy to label this some of the best Yum Cha on the Gold Coast.
Where: Shop 8 Corner Markeri Street and Sunshine Boulevard, Mermaid Waters
Mandarin Court Restaurant
You shouldn’t swear, but oh heck we swear by this family-run, multi-award winning restaurant on the busy Gold Coast Highway of Mermaid Beach. Mandarin Court prides itself on “bringing the true essence of Cantonese cuisine and culture to Mermaid Beach” and, being the longest established restaurant on the Gold Coast for Yum Cha it knows a thing or two about dishing up delicious dim sum.
Where: 2374 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Looks can be deceiving but that’s certainly not the case with the always immaculately turned out Sky Broadbeach, which sits adjacent (but fortunately not too uncomfortably close) to the Gold Coast Highway. This beautifully presented Chinese establishment has staff so attentive you feel like you’re getting the movie star treatment every time. But is the Yum Cha any good? Well, it wouldn’t be on this list if it weren’t! While its sister establishment Sky Surfers may have the better view, Sky Broadbeach has the upper hand as far as taste assurance is concerned. Plus, it’s one of the few places where you can Yum Cha alfresco style.
Where: Shop 3, Oracle Boulevard, Surf Parade, Broadbeach
Phone: 07 5539 9996
Photo Credit: Daniel Hine for Metropolist