Ben McKimm
13 Spots For The Best Yum Cha in Melbourne | Man of Many
When it comes to choosing our list of the best Yum Cha in Melbourne, we had to eat our way through some of the best dim sums in Melbourne. Never have you seen a man eat so many dumplings, roast duck, and char siu pork. In fact, we’re still attempting to work off our food baby. Our list takes into account a variety of price points (because Yum Cha can be an expensive night on the town) while introducing a few fine dining options into the mix with extravagant wine menus.
How Man of Many Chose the Best Yum Cha in Melbourne
Our list of the best Yum Cha in Melbourne goes like this.
Best Yum Cha in Melbourne at a Glance
Every weekend some of the best Yum Cha in Melbourne flows under the paper lamps and whitewashed walls of David’s. You can forget the anxious wait for the starters to arrive – the baskets flow fresh from the kitchen to the table as soon as your butt hits the stool. One of the rare all-you-can-eat affairs, think Prawn & Pork Shu Mai, Veggie Spring Rolls, and Dongpo Pork Belly. All of this is a tribute to generations of fresh, simple cuisine dreamt up in the riverside homes of rural Shanghai and presented to you in a steaming basket.
1. David’s
The faithful travel from the edges of Melbourne to gather under this ambient sanctuary dedicated to the worship of Yum Cha. From the mind of iconic restauranteur Neil Perry, Spice Temple draws culinary inspiration from the lesser-known regional provinces of China and serves them to you one delicate morsel at a time. Proposing a more distinguished take on the Yum Cha experience, you’ll find no trolleys here – dishes are ordered a la carte and service is world-class. Favourites of ours include Pan Fried Wagyu Bao, Prawn Wontons, and Steamed Market Fish Hunan Style.
2. Spice Temple
The trolleys roll at lunchtime every day at Secret Kitchen. The flagship restaurant, one of four locations across the city, is nestled in the thrum of Chinatown; however, the rattle of the city streets is muffled somewhat by the imposing fish tank that greets diners-to-be. Secret Kitchen features the largest live seafood aquarium in Melbourne and, if you’re thinking of sampling the extensive seafood offerings, probably contains your lunch. With fifty years of Chinese culinary experience between the pair of them, you can expect an authentic, all-out assault on the taste buds from the Steamed Custard Bun to the Honey BBQ Pork Bun.
3. Secret Kitchen Chinatown
Oriental Teahouse takes the Yum Cha experience and boils it down, if you will, to its essence; small, delicious parcels of food paired with a pot of well-brewed Chinese tea. Since its inception in 1993, Oriental Teahouse has spread to two distinct locations each with a slightly different approach; yet both remain the quintessential destination for Yum Cha in Melbourne. You’ll find all the classic flavours you’ve come to love in the perfect dumpling – Lemongrass Chicken, Xiao Long Bao, and even White chocolate dumplings. Send ’em over.
4. Oriental Teahouse Lt Collins
Known as an ancient and elegant dance in China, the Melbourne version of the Flower Drum will light up your taste buds like it’s Chinese New Year. With a protein menu that changes with the seasons and a philosophy that demands the freshest ingredients and a delicate balance of flavours, the Flower Drum’s many banquet offerings have rightfully staked their claim as some of the best Yum Cha in Melbourne. At the zenith sits Chef’s five-course signature banquet with matching wines – it will cost you a pretty penny, but it promises to be a dining experience you won’t forget any time soon.
5. Flower Drum Restaurant Melbourne
The Crown’s resident luxe Chinese restaurant Silks offers some of the best Yum Cha in Melbourne every lunchtime on weekdays. This isn’t your standard eat as much as you can handle feeding frenzy type affair, Silks offers a dignified take on the Yum Cha experience.  $88 per person will get you nine premium dishes – Roasted Peking Duck Pancake and Silks Signature Trio of Dumplings is a crowd-pleaser – plus noodles or congee and a drink. Not the cheapest offering in town, but you’ll certainly head back to work satiated.
6. Silks
DTF built a cult-like following in Sydney before venturing to the Emporium Melbourne in 2015 to show eagerly-awaiting Melburnians what all the fuss was about. Turns out, it was worth the wait. And still is, should you find yourself queuing for a table on any day that ends in ‘y’. But fret not, these guys have got more than just the art of dumpling-building down to a science; a buzzer frees you to wander outside the constraints of the waiting room and alerts you when it’s your turn to claim one of the 235 seats in the dining room.
7. Din Tai Fung
While neither of HuTong’s Melbourne locations are ‘Yum Cha’ in the strict sense of the word, that concern will evaporate when a basket of Xiao-Long-Bao slides under your nose. No matter how you ingest these translucent parcels of heaven, keep in mind that these morsels (as well as other HuTong signatures; pan-fried pork dumplings, and chilli wonton) deserve a sizeable chunk of credit for sparking Melbourne’s dumpling fever. Sure, many other joints dishing out Yum Cha in Melbourne do these dishes and do them well, but HuTong sure sets the bar high.
8. HuTong
Located right in the heart of Chinatown, Melbourne, the folks at Crystal Jade offer lunchtime Yum Cha with only a few seating times per day outlined below. The signature dish remains the Wok Friend Snow Crab in French Foie Gras Pate, a welcome deviation from classic Dim Sum offerings that sets this Melbourne Yum Cha joint apart from standard point-and-grab affairs. Staff is happy to provide assistance and encouragement to those looking to tackle some of the more adventurous creations on the menu. A true local favourite.
9. Crystal Jade Restaurant
Fusing Malaysian and Chinese cuisine (and chucking in a hint of Japanese influence for good measure), The Potsticker displays a staggering selection of dim sum – over sixty at last count – for their daily Yum Cha offering. Dietary requirements be damned ‘neath the electronic cherry blossom tree that dominates, well the whole restaurant; the vast selection includes something for everyone, Peking Duck, Grilled Half Eggplant with Spicy Sauce, and Pork Belly Waffle are just a few of our favourite dishes.
10. The Potsticker
Cha down under the stony gaze of the many life-sized terracotta warriors stationed between the elegantly appointed settings of the East Imperial. You’re in for a refined experience when the trolleys roll out for daily Yum Cha, an affair where the East Imperial has successfully struck a balance between efficient trolley service and a relaxing meal in an ambient and authentic setting. Our recommendation? Choose a few homemade dim sum; Pan-fried pork dumplings, Chilli fish dumplings, and Pork & prawn siu mai are some of our favourites.
11. East Imperial
A staple among restaurants dishing out the best Yum Cha in Melbourne, the Shark Fin Inn near the Parliament House has been serving Cantonese fare of the highest calibre since the ’80s. Its long-running position as a neighbourhood favourite has held up against stiff competition over the years for a good reason; its tucker is top-notch. Hell, the deep red façade, octagonal windows and enthralling fluorescent sign over the front door should be indication enough that you’re in for the real deal.
12. Shark Fin Inn
Sometimes it’s the subtle details that take an otherwise standard dining experience and transcend it to the exceptional. At Tao Tao House, if the plush purple chairs, polite and attentive staff and lavish Chinese décor don’t do it for you, the delights hiding under the bamboo lids will. Compared to other joints wielding the best Yum Cha in Melbourne the selection is not the most extensive, but you can be sure what does come out of seasoned chef and owner Jason Au’s kitchen is in a class of its own. What is extensive is the wine selection, think Grange, Henschke, and d’Yqeum for dessert.
13. Tao Tao House
Join our exclusive community