Chinese cuisine spans several provinces, regions, and ethnic groups. It can’t be placed into one box, and Sydney’s Chinese restaurants and dining scene greatly represents that.
Cantonese food makes up a majority of the scene, but all over Sydney, you will find modern Chinese, Chinese-fusion, Hunan, Szechuan, and Jiangsu dishes.
When it comes to Cantonese cuisine, Mr Wong is the ultimate destination. The restaurant, which is spread across two levels, offers a funky, moody interior and over 80 dishes. There are areas where you can enjoy an intimate dinner with dim lighting, jazz music, and your own little nook to settle into.
As for the rest of the restaurant, it’s fairly open, and meals here are a big affair. There is a $100 minimum spend per person, and tables are usually booked out weeks in advance. On the menu, expect to find the famous mud crab and rock lobster, a selection of dumplings, kung pao chicken, and Singapore noodles with pork and prawn.
Situated on the historic Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo is China Doll, an award-winning restaurant serving culinary traditions from China, Hong Kong, Japan, and South-East Asia. Expect generous portions, enough to share for the table. You can opt for a banquet for two guests or a banquet for four or more guests when you need to satisfy multiple people. You will find steamed dumplings, chilli salt squid, mushroom spring rolls, and a tasty prawn sesame toast with bloody mary sauce on the menu. Try the green fish curry for main, or the tea-smoked duck and plum sauce is always a winner.
One of Sydney’s most upscale options is Silks, located inside the very luxe Crown Sydney. Here, expect Cantonese dishes with refined elegance, yet still holds a traditional approach. The a la carte menu is almost endless, with nine pages filled with soups, noodles, seafood on the grill, dumplings, and more. Although, if you’re worried about the price, Silks offers an all-you-can-eat yum cha for $68 per person from Monday-Thursday lunches and $98 per person for Friday-Sunday lunches. Did we mention kids eat for half price? Go on, treat yourself.
If you’re looking for good food and good vibes, book a table at Spice Temple. You will find dishes from lesser-known regions of China, with a banquet format designed to be shared. The menu is extensive in all departments, from salads and cold cuts to dumplings and seafood live from the tank. There is a banquet menu if you can’t decide. The handmade egg noodles and crispy chow mein are crowd-pleasers. Don’t forget to order a cocktail; they’re beautiful.
Double Bay, CBD, and Barangaroo.
It’s true Lotus serves great dumplings, but if you look beyond the dim sum offering, you will find a great selection of Chinese fusions, Shanghai dishes, and more. Depending on which venue you visit, the vibe and food offerings can change. At Lotus Galeries, there is a dining room and a la carte menu, with the option to enjoy a banquet menu. Barangaroo’s Chi by Lotus, it’s more of a casual eatery and bar, slinging Shanghai street food and an eclectic drinks menu.
As you can imagine, Holy Duck is all about Chinese BBQ and duck. Think of an American BBQ joint but with a Chinese twist. You can expect big roasted birds with crispy skin and served with moreish sauces. Don’t worry; if you’re not in the mood for duck, there are plenty of other options, including sweet and sour pork and stir-fried noodles. There is also a crispy crackling roast pork belly.
Kograh Shunde cuisine is a niche style of Cantonese staples from a district of the city of Foshan in southeast China. And as the name suggests, this unsung restaurant offers a taste of just that. Think fried milk with prawns, fish dumplings, and the signature Cheung fun, a steamed Cantonese rice noodle dish. The roast goose is also a showstopper and a must-order.
This waterside Cantonese joint doubles as an oyster bar, with a live seafood tank ripe for the picking. You will also find dim sum on the platter and a touch of Hong Kong’s nostalgic dining scene. Yes, the fried ice cream is to die for, and the honey king prawns are finger-licking good. Pick out a fresh lobster, spanner crabs or pippies to be drowned in XO sauce, wok-fried with garlic butter, or cooked to perfection in the other offerings available.
The locals mainly know this noodle house but is one of Sydney’s most revered Chinese spots. You might have heard people refer to it as “grapes on the roof” thanks to the plastic grapes on the ceiling—a common decoration for northwestern Chinese restaurants. As for the food, there’s plenty of lamb on the menu, as well as hand-pulled noodles and dumplings.
The Eight brings modern Chinese cuisine to Sydney with a flair for fine dining. You can expect to indulge in traditional Cantonese cooking with a superb yum cha offering. The dining room stays true to any Chinese restaurant, but the menu offers time-honoured recipes, including stir-fried lobster and live mud crab tossed in salted egg. For dessert, you can’t go past the mango pancake or baked custard bun. As you would expect, the price is a little steep, but the quality is well worth it.
This quirky venue dishes Asian street food, including steamed buns, noodles, and fried chicken. It was once Sydney’s trendiest nightclub eateries, flinging pillowy-soft baos from the kitchen, and its popularity led to the Newtown location, where you can get traditional baos or noodles. The bao burgers are insanely good.
Step back into the fifties, where Shanghai glamour blends with laneway dining. China Lane is a relaxed atmosphere, creating modern Asian dishes. The banquets range between $45 to $60, and the a la carte menu has plenty of choices. A few of the signature dishes include a crispy pig ear, pink snapper with ginger soy and a slow-braised Wagyu beef shin.
XOPP is from the legendary Golden Century team, who sadly had to close Golden Century, a Sydney institution. Although, at XOPP, you can enjoy Golden Century’s most famous dishes and a few new ones, including the signature pippies bathing in XO sauce. The banquet option costs around $130 and is a great introduction to the restaurant. Dig into a big plate of Mongolian lamb or book in for yum cha on the weekend.
This cheap eatery is pulling the best biang biang noodles in town, painted in chilli sauce. You can add glistening pork ribs, scrambled eggs, and diced potatoes, which get thrown into a big bowl of noodles. Each bowl is finished with a final splash of hot oil, which livens the flavour. Related: 5 Sydney Restaurants That Put the Yum in Yum Cha Related: 32 of the Best New Bars and Restaurants in Sydney