Yum cha is almost magical. It's perfect in that you can just pick a spot, turn up, and you've got a massive selection of delicious snacks on which to gorge upon. It's also a massively underrated hangover cure, especailly if you pair it with an ice cold can of Coke.
Melbourne has plenty of great yum cha restaurants, and you've probably only just scratched the surface. So here are the best yum cha restaurants you can find in Melbourne.
Ricky & Pinky
Ricky & Pinky—at The Builders Arms Hotel—are now serving up delicious helpings of yum cha for lunch. Dishes you’ll find spinning on your lazy susan include traditional staples like baby gai lan with oyster sauce and sesame prawn toast as well as more adventurous options like honeycomb tripe, fermented chilli or ArChan’s take on classic chicken feet.
If you’re in the mood for meat, you’ll be happy to know that all meats are prepared over hot coals in the courtyard and slow roasted. Get yourself char siu pork neck & burnt honey, pork ribs with black bean & chilli as well as spicy pulled beef. The team have also taken note of Melbourne’s doughnut obsession and created Chinese doughnuts wrapped in rice noodles, and topped with pork floss—that’s our kind of doughnut.
Spice Temple can be considered as a bit of a Melbourne Yum Cha mecca. Part of Crown, Spice Temple offers an opulent yum cha experience—it truly is an experience. With a full and extensive yum cha menu, Spice temple is open 7 days a week.
A Southbank favourite, the Lucky Chan offers a few different banquet options, perfect for the opportunity to experience the full range of what this excellent Melbourne yum cha joint has to offer. The $68 option had us full to the brim, but there $82 and $120 options for those that want to make an afternoon of this stellar yum cha experience.
There are two Oriental Teahouse venues—Little Collins Street and the newly renovated South Yarra venue. The perfect place to grab a group of mates, take over a table at the back, and order as much as you can fill your stomach with. The iced teas are also perfect to wash everything down with.
Din Tai Fung
There was a lot of hype around Din Tai Fung arriving in Melbourne. Regularly hailed as creating “the best dumpling outside of Asia”, we’ll let you be the judge. What we do know for sure is that a feast of these delicate little parcels will leave you feeling awed by the precision and perfection of the exactness of each morsel.
There’s no way that a list of Melbourne’s best yum cha would be complete with out David’s. Nestled down a side street in Prahran, this stalwart offers an extensive range of yum cha. The Shanghai Parcels section of the menu is fantastic, but if you go with friends, we recommend the sharing menu—the team at David’s know what’s best.
If you’re really after a treat, the banquet at Flower Drum is the ticket. Home to some of Melbourne’s best yum cha, the menu changes seasonally and there are a range of course options—four course or six course. This is definitely one to be savoured.
Perhaps not a venue you’d expect to dish up excellent yum cha, The Smith in Prahran offers $25 yum cha between 12:00-3:00 daily. Not your traditional yum cha offerings, the menu is refreshing, featuring delicious morsels like a milk bun with tempura soft shell crab, Kansas City pork ribs, and much more.
Yum cha with all the bells and whistles, you’ll be served via trolleys laden with delicious Chinese morsels. This unassuming eatery in Docklands will fill you up with Chinese barbecue items as well as the more traditional dumplings and duck that you usually associate with great yum cha.
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.
Shark Fin House
Shark Fin House has been serving up delicious yum cha since 1989, so when you walk in the door, you know what you're getting is going to be top notch. With classics like Peking Duck, finding lunch in the CBD is never a struggle when you know you can head to Shark Fin House.
Tao Tao House
There are so many new food offerings in Hawthorn that it's worth pointing out that Tao Tao House has been serving up great food for a while now. Grab yourself some fried chilli quail and you won't hear a peep from the rest of the table as they stuff their faces.
Feel like hoeing into all-you-can-eat? Here are Melbourne's best proponents of the all-you-can-eat menu.
Image credit: Supplied | Ricky & Pinky