It's almost weekly when we find ourselves thinking "where can we get some good chinese food in Melbourne?", and no doubt you're all the same.
So, where are the best Chinese restaurants in Melbourne? Being that it's kind of our job we've scoured the city to find the best fried rice, dumplings, and, of course, pork buns for you to sink your teeth into.
Let's get into it, read on to find the best Chinese restaurants in Melbourne.
Din Tai Fung
On the top floor of Emporium, dumpling juggernaut Din Tai Fung lets you combine two of the best things in the world: shopping and dumps. This Chinese haven was founded by dumpling master Din Tai Fung (makes sense) who opened his first restaurant in Taiwan back in 1974, and now has a bazillion stores across Asia, the US and Sydney. It's safe to say this guy knows what he's doing. The crab meat and roe with pork dumplings are glorious. We recommend trying the fried rice and pork buns too.
One of Melbourne's oldest Chinese haunts, Dainty Sichuan is a hub of good Asian nosh. A little different from your typical Chinese restaurants, Dainty boasts a huge and luxurious interior—a fountain dominates the entrance and there's many a gold Buddha smiling at you. Chinese art sits the walls and you're dining on rounded tables, complete with in-set hotplates. Dainty is known for its love of chilli, with generous hotpots and beef dishes being the most popular things on the menu. And with good reason—they're downright delicious. Highly recommend.
Simon’s Peiking Duck
The spelling might be a touch off, but Simon’s Peiking Duck is home to some of the most ultra-affordable Peking duck in Melbourne. Sadly, the man himself, Simon Lay (the godfather of Melbourne Chinese food) passed away in early 2017. His family are still running the business though, and the duck is as good as ever. You can get two different “peiking duck” banquet deals here, and each set includes a tender whole duck with soft homemade pancakes, crispy duck skin, fresh spring onion, cucumbers and special plum sauce. Banquets come with complimentary duck bone soup with bean curd, plus optional vegetables or noodles. Still our favourite meal for two in Melbs.
Lau's Family Kitchen
A family-run restaurant in the heart of St Kilda, Lau's Family Kitchen is a staple of many a southside diet. Situated bang on Port Phillip Bay, patrons fight over streetside seating (which I feel is a rarity in Chinese restaurants…). But inside is just as delish, with beautiful wood panelling and high ceilings giving off some serious design porn. My favourite thing about Lau's is easy: the menu isn't overwhelming. Considered dishes make it a lot easier to make decisions when sharing, without sacrificing any of the taste. All this fabulousness comes a price though—bookings are highly recommended.
One Noodle Friendship
While handmade noodles in hearty broths are the calling card, you'll also find all your old Chinese favourites here. Fried rice, dumplings and even spiced pigs ears are on the menu, but it's the homely vibe that'll have you back weekly. It's all very typical Chinese (let's just say, the décor ain't gonna make it into Vogue Living), but that just makes One Noodle Friendship more legit. It's cheap, it's BYO and it's fun to say "noodle". Defs try a serve of those pigs ears—you'll be mighty surprised.
Preston, Sunshine, Springvale, Docklands
At one of Melbourne’s oldest Chinese establishments, you can avoid dumpling-sized tears of disappointment by booking ahead for Gold Leaf’s dinner banquet special. Featuring sautéed lobster or mud crab in ginger, shallots and noodles, featured banquets are good for groups of like 4 – 10, and they come with comp'd bottles of Penfolds Bin 8 Shiraz (score!). Clearly these know their audience. Other menu highlights include Szechuan chilli calamari (it’s spicy as f*ck, if that isn’t implied), stuffed deep-fried scallops (best idea ever), and light mango pudding and ice cream. Brill.
Peking duck, Peking duck, PEKING DUCK. Serving authentic Cantonese since 1984, Bamboo House is a Bourke Street classic. It's got an elegant red and gold interior, lined with bamboo, but you know you're in a good ol' Chinese restaurant when you see the white disposable tablecloths—ready and waiting to be destroyed during your sitting. As I mentioned before, the Peking duck is a must at Bamboo House, but other faves include their spicy calamari and Sichuan beef. Nom. Book for a function or just walk in the door and grab a table—Bamboo House is top-notch any time of the week.
Less traditional, but nonetheless delicious, is Wonderbao. Probably the best and most efficient takeaway you can get in Melbourne. I may be biased (I think I was a pork bun in a previous life), but this little street kitchen smushed behind RMIT's city campus churns out sensational fodder. Think barbecue pork bao, chicken bao and even a shiitake and tofu bao for those of us averse to meat. Wonderbao is perfect for a lunch hit or a quick fix for your three-thirty-itis, washed down with a cup of their house-made soymilk.
CBD, Carlton, Box Hill, Springvale
No-one knows about this place. Like...no-one. And it's such a shame, because Dolan Uyghur is one of the more interesting places in the CBD. It's a tiny restaurant specialising in Uyghur food, a northwestern Chinese cuisine that no-one's ever heard of. Think steamed buns, raw potato salad, sweet tea and huge bowls of hand-pulled chewy noodles, swimming in sauce, and you'll get change from your $20. There's Dolan Uyghurs in the CBD, Carlton, Springvale and Box Hill. If you're tired of same same, definitely give this one a crack.
Lee Ho Fook
Smith's Street go-to for Chinese is Lee Ho Fook, the lovechild of the money-makers behind Pei Modern and MoVida. In a tight, industrial-looking space, Lee Ho Fook is casual, but the food is fancy. Think crispy eggplant with spiced miso, Wagyu beef san choy bau and their specialty spiced and slow-cooked lamb shoulder. Mmmhhhmmm. It's a little on the exxy side, but totes worth it, if you're in the market for some quality Chinese.
Definitely more the place you come after a steady night of drinking, China Bar still dishes up good, cheap Chinese for the hungry and the hopeful. Whether you're picking up steamed pork buns for $2 a pop, or dining on some of the best Singapore noodles money can buy, there's an endless amount of choice on the menu, even if the descriptions lack diversity. It's never too busy to get a table and there's outdoor seating (at the Fitzroy locay), making for a good break to people-perve on Brunswick Street locals. These guys are everywhere in Melbourne though. You won't struggle to find one.
With an epic wine list, sexy, moody interior and Neil Perry behind the stove, this is where you should force your date to take you for a night of deliciousness. Spice Temple is housed in Crown and, though it's always busy, it somehow pulls off that restaurant trick where you feel like you're the only people in the room. The menu touches on all regions of China (a rarity) and has plenty of the usual Perry magic. Fun fact: the cocktails are named after signs of the Zodiac, so should you run out of conversation, there's plenty of delicious drinks to turn to. Bookings are highly recommended.
Housed in a light-filled, airy nook with white-washed wooden walls and high benches, David's is clean, sophisticated and modern dining, with a street-food edge. The interior is something else, with furniture from the Orient Express taking pride of place, alongside beautiful greenery and cute staff. Pop down their alleyway off Chapel Street if you're looking for a cheap lunch: there's a range of specials all under $12, stuff like spiced sweet potato salad and yummy beef noodle soup. For dinner, you can't go past their seafood, with special crab fried rice taking the reigns everytime I go there—you seriously can't beat it. On Sundays they do yum cha as well. Can it honestly get any better than this?
Shark Fin Inn
As ancient as the Chinatown temples, Shark Fin Inn and Shark Fin House are home to some never-fail classic banquets. Think Supreme (legit) Peking Duck with Pancakes, Yangchow fried rice and ice cream topped with sugary lychees. Yum Cha Banquets, aka all you can eat yum cha, is also available. Prepare yourselves. It's a little China Town cheesy, but you always end up having a blast. No-one has ever left Shark Finn Inn saying, "I'm still hungry."
Hutong Dumpling Bar
Possibly one of the most well-known dumpling purveyors in Melbourne (with locations in the CBD & Prahran), HuTong pumps out dumplings faster than me on a bag of Smarties. The restaurants are always busy, but it's certainly worth the wait. As well as dumplings, there's their famous Peking duck and drunken chicken, or lobster san choy bau if you're feeling fancy. The dishes are designed to share, so get a whole range of plates and crack open that bottle of vino you picked up on the way over.
Located in Emporium, New Shanghai is one of our favourite dumpling spots in the CBD—but did you know they have a killer banquet menu? From drunken chicken to their signature xiao long bao, to sweet and sour crispy whole barramundi, you can choose the $95 option (6 dishes, 2-3 people) or the $150 option (10 dishes, 4-6 people). Good for when your group turns to you and says, "Your decision. And it better be delicious."
The fanciest of the lot, Flower Drum takes the Oriental wizard staff for presentation, tastiness and authenticity. With incredible decor—giant floral arrangements, Chinese panelling, reds, golds, those little pagoda roofs that everyone knows are straight out of Shanghai—it's a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Flower Drum has been the piece de resistance of Chinatown for over 30 years, and rightfully so, with those Peking duck pancakes and mud crabs sending punters home with much lighter wallets, but satisfied bellies. Though you may have to book, it's worth it just to know you're eating some of the best Chinese food in Melbourne.
Pacific Seafood BBQ House
You can guess what they're about straight up—Chinese seafood. Boom. Signposted by the Peking ducks hanging in the window, Pacific BBQ is a Richmond icon, famous for its overcrowded atmosphere, well-priced feeds and super friendly staff. It's perfect for a midweek feed with your housemates. Don't forget the BYO wine.
If you're looking for Chinese food with a side of glam, Chinacy is defs for you. This joint is located amongst the hustle and bustle of Chapel St in South Yarra, and head chef Eugene Yap is cooking up some smashing stuff behind the pass. If you're hungry, we recommend treating yourself to the banquet. Otherwise, you can choose from a mix of larger plates and fried nibbles. We recommend the tempura fish hand bun and the chicken and scallop dumplings. Delish!
Just as the name suggests, this place is dumplings galore! But don't be fooled, these aren't just your regular steamy parcels with meat or fish inside. The guys at Drumplings have worked some sort of witchcraft on traditional dumplings by creating cheeseburger dumplings, fish and chip dumplings and beef rending dumplings. Not a fan? No worries. They've got your classic delicate prawn and chive hargow, a cracking shitake mushroom for the veggos, and the obligatory pork and ginger gyoza skins, too.
The Supper Inn has been around for a while. We're talking roughly 40 years, but it's still just as popular as ever. This is the place to come if you're looking for some good, budget Chinese delight. Even better—they don't close until 2:30am, so you can embark on a drunk, Chinese food expedition without killing your bank account and hating yourself the next day.