Best Of Guides

Everywhere You Need To Eat In Melbourne’s Chinatown

By Megan Whitfield
9th Apr 2019

restaurants-chinatown

It’s not exactly hard to find some quality Asian eats around Melbourne, and for that, we are so, so grateful. But everyone knows that when that dumpling craving hits, Chinatown is the place to go. However, with all its bright lights and bustling energy, it can also be a bit overwhelming.

Never fear, we’ve sampled our way around to create the ultimate guide to this oasis of Asian deliciousness. It was our pleasure, truly.

Shanghai Village

When you need your dumpling fix, stat, this is the place to be. Don’t let the queues fool you—this place moves fast. The bustle at this double-story gem doesn’t really stop, and never will you go home hungry. This isn’t about fine-dining, this is about getting fifteen dumplings for under ten bucks delivered at the drop of the hat.

Don’t miss the Chinese soup dumplings (steamed pork juicy buns on the menu), and the spring onion pancake is a must. Served with vinegar. Trust me.

Where: 112 Little Bourke Street
For more info, click here.

ShanDong Mama

We promise our recommendations won’t just be dumplings, but this place does some of the best in Melbourne. 

Tucked away in the Mid City arcade away from the traffic of Chinatown, ShanDong Mama sits back and does its thing—which is feeding the hungry mouths of Melbourne with authentic, tasty Chinese dishes.

They’ve got a particular reputation for seafood, and when you try the mackerel fried dumplings with ginger, chives and coriander you’ll understand why. Just try and tear us away.

Where: Shop 7, 200 Bourke Street
For more info, click here.

Chongqing Noodles

This humble little noodle shop also goes by the name Grandma’s Noodles, and one thing’s for sure—if my grandma was making noodles like this, I’d never be leaving the dinner table. This place serves up bowls of steaming noodle soups, filled with minced pork, braised beef, wontons or whatever else you could want, served with a generous punch of chilli.

 Our pick? We’re going for the signature noodles with minced pork with spicy broth every time. Just a heads up: it’s BYO milk.

Where: 150 Little Bourke Street
For more info, click here.

GO Noodle House

When you’re ready for a hit of traditional Malaysian cuisine (us, always) head straight to Go Noodle House. Alright, it’s technically on the cusp on Chinatown, but we think once you try their tasty dishes you’ll let it slide.

A popular noodle chain with over 30 locations in south-east Asia, this is one restaurant that knows what it’s doing. Nab yourself a table, picky your, soup, choose your noodle (handmade), add in any extras and you’re on your way to a very satisfied stomach. (For the big kids, they recommend you add a shot of rice wine to your soup for an added kick).

For those feeling super hungry (or ambitious), here’s a challenge for you: if you can finish a five-kilogram bowl of noodle soup in 30 minutes, the dish is free. That’s almost 3.5 kilos of meat and noodle alone. Good luck.

Where: 195 Exhibition Street
For more info, click here

Shark Fin House

A Chinatown classic, Shark Fin House is the place to go to get your yum cha fix. Feeding hungry Melburnians since 1980, it’s a well-refined art at this point. Shark Fin House has got all your classics, from San Choi Bao to supreme Peking Duck. Just remember to pace yourself, yum cha is a marathon, not a sprint.  Let the food coma begin.

Where: 131 Lt Bourke Street
For more info, click here.

Rice Paper Scissors

Okay, again this one may be a matter of contention as to whether it’s in Chinatown or not. But what we can guarantee is that the food is so good you won’t care about that tiny little error in location.

Serving up some of the tastiest food in Melbourne, the food is modelled on Hawker style bars across south-east Asia. This is the place to bring a couple of mates after a long day at work, have a beer, and dig into mouth-watering dishes like compressed watermelon with caramelised pork, prawn, peanut and crackling (we know). Or try the coconut snapper, with pomelo and chilli followed by sticky pork belly in tamarind caramel sauce. Work will be the last thing on your mind after that dish.

Where: 19 Liverpool Street
For more info, click here.

Annam

Jerry Mai, the chef that brought us Pho Nom (the funky pop of colour on the bottom floor of the Emporium and the place we spend way too much money buying Bahn Mi on our lunch break), has done it again.

Although this time, she’s veered away from street food classics and is knocking out some of the best high-end Vietnamese going round. We’re talking crispy school prawns with kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, chilli and red nahm jim and tea smoked Duck with apple, cucumber, mint and ginger flower nuoc nam. Yeah, fancy.

We’ll catch you in line.

Where: 56 Little Bourke St
For more info, click here.

Longrain

If caramelised pork with pork, prawns and sour pineapple sounds like something you could be into, chances are you’re going to like Longrain.

Who are we kidding, like there’s any risk you wouldn’t like Longrain. Serving up award-winning dishes from a range of South-East Asian flavour influences, you really can’t go wrong here. It’s all about the experience of sharing food here so grab your favourite people, and settle into for the banquet of your dreams.

Where: 44 Little Bourke Street
For more info, click here

Ginger Boy

Okay, it’s time for some more dumplings. And we think the steamed scallop wontons with red nam jim and puffed rice at Ginger Boy might just do the trick. And of course, we’ll have to follow it up with the fired salt and pepper chicken spare ribs with Korean bbq sauce of course, and then the red duck leg curry… you get the picture. There’s no shortage of insanely tasty, packs-a-punch Hawker-style dishes at this cult favourite. Go there.

Where: 27 Crossley Street
For more info, click here.

Flower Drum

Would it even be a guide to Chinatown if Flower Drum didn’t get a mention? This place is a Melbourne Institution, offering up refined, delicate Cantonese fine-dining. This isn’t the place you go with your mates in between study session, this is the place you come when you graduate. You’ve earned it.

Expect all the classics, from hot and sour soup to a generous dim sum selection. And a whole suckling pig (two days notice required).

Where: 17 Market Lane
For more info, click here.

The Dessert Kitchen

It’s time for something sweet to round it all out. And really, why would you go anywhere other than Dessert Kitchen? Get your Instagram ready, because these offerings look almost too good to eat. Almost.

Treat yourself to a parfait with green tea syrup, mini rice balls, red bean and warabimochi, or split a Taiwan style shaved ice. Even better? Go for one of their signature desserts. We’re picking the ‘Purple in Love’, a mix of Kyoho grape seaweed balls, shaved ice, mini rice balls and taro mochi ice cream.

Where: 105 Lt Bourke Street
For more info, click here.

Union Electric

Time to shake things up. When you’re bursting at the seams and need something to wash it all down, look no further than this classic Melbourne cocktail bar.

Nestled down one of the laneways just off the main stretch of Chinatown, this laid-back bar is refined in its offerings of craft beers and thought-out cocktails but doesn’t take itself too seriously. Very Melbourne. Try one of ‘Them Apples’, your choice of gin served with freshly juiced apple.

Also, we take our opening sentence back—there’s no kitchen but be sure to come back another time with an empty stomach to order one of the biggest pizzas we’ve ever seen delivered to you directly from a nearby pizza shop. That’s service.

Where: 13 Heffernan Lane
For more info, click here

Looking for lunch in the CBD? Check out our rundown of the best lunch inside the Hoddle Grid.

Image credit: Annam | Griffin Simm

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