There’s nothing quite like a spot of yum cha the morning after a big night — or for any occasion, really. The sound of trolleys filled with steaming baskets of dim sims and dumplings, the small cups of green tea, the hearty greens doused in sauce… a scene straight out of southeast Chinese restaurants that we’re lucky enough to experience in Australia. Most of Melbourne’s best spots for yum cha are family-owned and have been going strong for over 20 years. So, if yum cha is what you’re after, venture out to these best spots for yum cha in Melbourne.
Prahran David’s is a contemporary Shanghainese restaurant inspired by Zhou’s hometown Zhouzhuang, a water village in which his family’s recipes originated. Loved by locals for over 20 years, it’s no secret that David’s authentic menu showcases some of the finest dumplings and yum cha in town while treating customers as an extension of Zhou’s own family. Different from your typical Cantonese yum cha, David’s harnesses the authentic flavours of Shanghainese cuisine in 11 varieties of delectable dishes. Think dumplings, spring rolls, signature loaded veggie fried rice, pork and prawn shumai and homemade pork buns… and there’s even a vegan menu if you’re eating plant-based. David’s do yum cha every day, so make sure you make a booking here.
Little Bourke Street, CBD Shark Fin has been around since 1980 and has earned a reputation for excellence in authentic Chinese dishes — and that means yum cha. It’s got intoxicating old-school energy, complete with friendly waiters in suits and yum cha trolleys squeaking around filled with delicious and authentic treats. Open for yum cha every lunchtime, their menu is extensive, including classics like prawn dumpling with ginger sauce, prawn toast, chive and fish cake, Shanghai pork dumplings and ‘Superior’ soup dumplings. You can make a booking online here.
Little Collins Street, South Yarra, Chapel Street Inspired by the bustling teahouses that dot Nanjing Road, one of Shanghai’s busiest streets, Oriental Teahouse is designed to be at the heart of social gatherings of all kinds. Since its opening in 2003, Oriental Teahouse has built a reputation as Melbourne’s best teahouse, thanks to its unbeatable selection of handmade dumplings and yum cha; all served alongside a carefully selected range of cocktails and herbal and Chinese teas. They also sell their extensive range of hand-blended teas and Shanghai-inspired tea wares in-store, so you can recreate that teahouse feel at home. You can make a booking here.
Little Bourke Street, CBD Secret Kitchen is so dedicated to making the best yum cha that they have an Executive Chef dedicated to Dim Sims. Both their Chinese Cuisine Exec Chef and Dim Sim Exec Chef have been in hospitality for 20-35 years and have created innovative dishes that have won multiple nationally recognised awards in China. Safe to say that when it comes to an authentic yum cha, you’re in good hands at Secret Kitchen. Infusing the principles of fine Chinese cuisine, the aromas, flavours and presentation of each dish are pretty extraordinary. They serve up yum cha seven days a week, complete with the largest live seafood aquarium in Melbourne. Book a spot here.
Market Lane, CBD In 1975, Gilbert Lau opened the Flower Drum in Chinatown on Little Bourke Street and what started as a humble desire to serve authentic Cantonese food to Australian people turned into a critically acclaimed institution. Operating as an a la carte restaurant, their entire menu is a refined yum cha experience to remember. By far the most successful restaurant in Chinatown, Flower Drum is well worth its prices — which are a bit more expensive than your regular Sunday morning yum cha. Trust us when we say every cent is worth it. You can book here. Related: 33 of the Best New Restaurants and Bars in Melbourne Right Now Related: A Heavenly Dining Experience Awaits You at Ritz-Carlton Melbourne’s Atria