For those who are sadly unawares, Yum Cha is the Cantonese act involving drinking Chinese tea and eating dim sum dishes. Bountiful amounts of dim sum dishes. For those who are even more sadly unawares, dim sum includes everything from steamed buns, assorted dumplings, and rice noodle rolls, to mango puddings, meats and seafoods…the list goes on!
The joys of Yum Cha are that:
- It is a meal appropriately eaten for breakfast, brunch, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner – any time is Yum Cha time!
- Dim sum dishes are rolled around on wheeled trolleys and conveniently delivered to your table frequently and plentifully with absolutely no movement required on your behalf.
- It is a necessity of partaking in Yum Cha that one rolls out of the restaurant fuller than a fat girl's sock and vowing never to eat again due to incomprehensible fullness.
- It is traditional to drink an abundance of Chinese tea as you eat Yum Cha, and the Chinese say that drinking said tea with greasylicious food burns away the fat. Calorie-free gorging and overeating did you say? Winning.
So without further ado, here are the 11 best Yum Cha restaurants in Melbourne.
RED DOOR YUM CHA
Decked out with beautiful antique furniture and adorned with traditional authentic décor, Red Door Yum Cha provides a unique dining experience taking patrons back into the heart of ancient China itself (from what we can pertain from having watched The Karate Kid at least 36 times). The Yum Cha menu is speckled with delicious and high-quality dumplings ranging from lobster & scallop, prawn & crab, chicken & peanut, vegetarian, Shanghai pork, and corn & prawn…nom nom nom! Other must-tries include the custard pork buns, Beijing beef meatballs with coriander & water chestnut and the spicy green tea noodles. These bad boys will literally knock your socks off. Red Door is also BYO and in close proximity to Chapel Street, creating a fun, flippant and frivolous atmosphere on weekends.
Red Door Yum Cha | 1 McIlwrick Street in Windsor | 03 9510 9658
Image source: David's Restaurant Facebook
If you wake up on a Saturday or Sunday morning with the immediate and overwhelming urge for a giant, delicious, Chinese-flavored, all you can eat feast (i.e. you're ridiculously hung over), then Yum Cha at David's is the answer. David's offers two sessions of glorious Yum Cha consumption at 11:30am for the keen Yum Cha enthusiasts, and 1:30pm for the late risers. With a menu perfect for sharing, the fare at David's combines traditional dishes, contemporary tastes and family recipes that will blow your socks off. Also considering there are soft-centered chocolate dumplings available for dessert, David's is a discernable contender for the best Yum Cha in Melbourne.
David's Restaurant | 4 Cecil Place in Prahran | 03 9529 5199
YUMMIE HONG KONG DIM SUM
This is a truly authentic Yum Cha experience. All the dim sum is prepared fresh and in-house, setting the benchmark high for tMelbourne's best Yum Cha. At Yummie you order off the menu and whilst it doesn't follow the usual Yum Cha chain of events, it does ensures your meals are freshly prepared to order, and if have woken up with an urgent hankering for a particular variety of dumpling, Yummie will have you covered.
Yummie Hong Kong Dim Sum | 189 - 193 Barkly Street in Footscray | 03 9078 8878
SHANGHAI VILLAGE DUMPLING
Upon entering Shanghai Village from the hustle and bustle of Chinatown, don't expect to be met with any level of fancy fanfare! However, what you will be guaranteed are ear-to-ear smiles, buzzing communal tables and a Yum Cha menu longer than the Great Wall of China. There are a million dumpling selections, vegetarian options (the 'mock duck' is worth a dabble) and delicious fried morsels (the crispy pumpkin pastries are highly addictive) to choose from in this Yum Cha extravaganza.
If variety, quantity and value for money are on your agenda, Shanghai Village easily takes the crown for best Yum Cha in Melbourne. It's the perfect place to gather up your mates, bring along some drinks (it's BYO), and get your Yum Cha on. If it's your birthday you'll also be treated to a restaurant-wide recital of 'Happy Birthday' and a free banana split for dessert.
Shanghai Village Dumpling | 112 - 114 Little Bourke Street in Melbourne | 03 9663 1878
HUTONG DUMPLING BAR
HuTong is certainly considered by many to lay claim to Melbourne's best Yum Cha. The HuTong kitchen dishes up traditional Chinese home-style dishes, always prepared fresh and at a mouthwateringly high standard. Menu standouts and must-tries include the chili wontons (delicate beef-filled wontons in a hot chili broth), diced marble beef in black pepper sauce (melts in your mouth), the Peking duck, and if you're feeling adventurous – HuTong serves up some mean fried chicken feet! Yum Cha is served daily for lunch (from 11:30am) and dinner (from 5:30pm).
HuTong Dumpling Bar | 14 - 16 Market Lane in Melbourne | 03 9650 8128
HuTong Dumpling Bar | Shop 1, 162 Commercial Road in Prahran | 03 9098 1188
RIPPLES BENTLEIGH RESTAURANT
If you're not a Bayside local or already familiar with Ripples, trust us when we say that this suburban gem is worth travelling across town for. Ripples rely on tried, tested and traditional elements of Cantonese cuisine, combined with elements of Chinese fusion flare, to consistently produce some of the best Yum Cha in Melbourne. The homemade dishes on offer include deep fried delights, slow-cooked soups, seafood, noodle and rice dishes, Peking duck, beef and chicken varietals a-plenty, and fried ice-cream for dessert. Yes please.
With a restaurant capacity of over 200 people, Ripples always provides the perfect destination for groups after two things – a jubilant, cheerful and friendly atmosphere, and some of Melbourne's best Yum Cha.
Ripples Bentleigh Restaurant | 453 Centre Road in Bentleigh | 03 9557 3688
Image credit: Oriental Teahouse Facebook
Being quite possibly Melbourne's biggest devotees to a good steaming cup of tea, and thus experts in all the top spots to drink tea around Melbourne, the Oriental Teahouse just might be the perfect place for those on the hunt for the best Yum Cha in Melbourne too. With so many types of tea, and so many delectable dim sum options, doing Yum Cha like the pros can seem nigh on impossible. But the team at Oriental Teahouse will do the hard yards for you - serving up parcels of culinary delights, all professionally paired with perfectly matched tea. And keeping in mind the calories don't count when there's Chinese tea involved, you can feast the day away guilt free!
Oriental Teahouse | 378 Little Collins Street in Melbourne | 03 9600 4230
Oriental Teahouse | 455 Chapel Street in South Yarra | 03 9826 0168
TAO TAO HOUSE
Tao Tao ticks all the necessary boxes for it to earn its stripes amongst the best Yum Cha in Melbourne. With Yum Cha sittings throughout the day (starting as early as 11:00am for the keenest punters and dedicated Yum Cha fanatics), you will be guaranteed outstanding service, food and ambience every time you dine. The dim sum dishes are outstanding, but we highly recommend you save some room and get involved in dessert. Sweet treats on offer include deep fried chocolate with sesame, coconut jelly with green tea ice cream, and peach pancakes with ice cream to ensure you'll be yum-yum-yumming about Yum Cha all century long.
Tao Tao House | 815 Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn | 03 9818 0968
SHARK FIN INN
Shark Fin Inn is a Melbourne Yum Cha institution. Sitting in the heart of Chinatown, Shark Fin is always packed to the rafters with patrons, the presence of which is always a sure-fire indication that you're on the right track to locating Melbourne's best Yum Cha. Shark Fin Inn offers Yum Cha daily during lunch service, with dim sum on trolleys arriving frequently to your table, a well as a la carte and banquet menus, all at extremely affordable prices.
Shark Fin Inn | 50 Little Bourke Street in Melbourne | 03 9662 2681
Red Emperor in Southbank has been dishing up some of the best Yum Cha in Melbourne for over 20 gloriously delicious years, and continues to offer Yum Cha enthusiasts delectable Chinese cuisine with views overlooking the Yarra River and Melbourne CBD. Red Emperor offers traditional lunchtime Yum Cha daily, served on trolleys, with a 'pay per order' option as well as 'all you can eat' Yum Cha for $45 per person. This popular spot fills up quickly on both weekdays and weekends, so be sure to book to guarantee your seat at the feasting table!
Red Emperor | Level 2, 3 Southgate Avenue in Southbank | 03 9699 4170
Image credit: Spice Temple
Part of Neil Perry's Rockpool Group, Spice Temple is not the cheapest Yum Cha option going around town, but it sure is one of the most delicious. Yum Cha is served from Thursday to Sunday between 12:00pm and 3:00pm, and reservations are advisable as Spice Temple is a very popular choice for those seeking out the best Yum Cha in Melbourne, laying claim to two Michelin hats. Menu standouts include the chili wontons, crispy pork belly sliders and mango pudding for dessert.
Spice Temple | Crown Complex, 8 Whiteman Street in Southbank | 03 8679 1888
Main Image Credit: Pinterest