Next time you are looking to go out for a meal, gather your family and/or your friends, and mix things up by tantalising your tastebuds at a local Yum Cha restaurant.
What is Yum Cha?
According to the Oxford Dictionary ‘Yum Cha’ is a Cantonese meal, typically consisting of dim sum and hot tea, eaten in the morning or early afternoon. In Australia, yum cha has become quite popular, with many families attending yum cha on a regular basis.
Benefits of Yum Cha
There are many benefits of enjoying Yum Cha. Not only are you getting to sample a smorgasbord of delicious morsels, but you usually get to see the plates of food before deciding on what to eat, as they are wheeled past on trolleys.
Plates of food are generally presented with 3, 6 or 9 pieces of a particular dish eg. Three spring rolls etc. and as a result, dishes are perfect for sharing. Of course, if you plan on sharing, you should speak with all guests before ordering to ensure everyone is happy with this arrangement.
If dining with children, the great thing about Yum Cha is, if they do not like a particular item, they are not wasting a whole meal, they can just try something else.
Popular Yum Cha Dishes
- Prawn dumplings (har gow) – prawn (whole or chopped) covered in a very thin, translucent pleated wrapper
- Steamed soup dumplings (xiao long bao) – a steamed dumpling filled with pork and a soupy broth
- Chicken feet (phoenix claw) – fried, marinated and steamed chicken feet
- Siu mai (shumai) – an open-top dumpling usually consisting of minced pork and shrimp/prawn
- Steamed pork buns (char siu bao) – fluffy steamed buns with a barbeque pork filling
- Pork spareribs – bite-size pork spareribs, often steamed and served with a black bean sauce
- Egg tarts – a flaky pastry crust filled with a smooth, creamy egg custard
- Mango pancakes – a soft, yellow pancake with a mango and cream filling
Things to Consider
Before taking the family to enjoy a Yum Cha experience take a moment to consider the following:
- Do they cater for children? e.g. highchairs or room for prams
- Are your specific dietary needs catered for? (e.g. gluten free, vegetarian, Halal etc)
- There is a chance your children may not like everything Yum Cha offers, so consider giving them a snack before you arrive at the restaurant.
- It can be very easy to go over the top, particularly if it is your first time at Yum Cha, so be sure to slow down, pace yourself and savour every mouthful.
- Weekends are best for Yum Cha as restaurants are usually busy, so you can be sure the food is fresh. Also, aim to attend one of the first sessions, just in case your favourite dish runs out.
Where to Find the best Yum Cha Restaurants in Brisbane
Below is a list of some of our favourite Yum Cha restaurants in and around Brisbane. Whilst details are correct at time of printing, we encourage you to check directly with the restaurant prior to visiting to make sure Yum Cha is on offer.
Bamboo Basket – Southbank and Portside
With two convenient locations (Southbank and Portside), Bamboo Basket specialises in Northern and Southern Chinese cuisine and is open seven days a week. If you like a bit of free entertainment while you dine, then you will love the glass viewing kitchen, where you can see the chefs roll dough, make noodles and construct dumplings.
Brisbane Phoenix – Brisbane City
The striking décor at Brisbane Phoenix (lots of reds, black and gold), has a strong Chinese influence and is sure to impress visitors. Diners partaking in yum cha or enjoying the a la carte menu, will be spoiled for choice, with popular dishes including prawn and garlic chive dumplings, steamed pork ribs and chicken feet in black bean sauce. Whilst yum cha is on offer, given the small footprint of the restaurant, trolleys are not utilised.
Golden Palace Chinese Restaurant – Fortitude Valley
Situated in Chinatown, the Golden Palace Chinese Restaurant offers all day yum cha, serving all the traditional fare, specialising in seafood and Chinese cuisine. Some of the dishes on offer include pork spare ribs, fried squid tentacles, Shanghai pork dumplings and mango pancakes.
Landmark Restaurant – Sunnybank and Inala
Now boasting two locations on the southside (Sunnybank Plaza and Inala Plaza), Landmark Restaurant is a popular place to indulge in traditional Yum Cha, with offerings such as steamed buns, chicken feet, a variety of dumplings and other small dim sum dishes. Bottomless cups of Chinese Tea are included, upon paying the standard Yum Cha surcharge.
Haoke Chinese Seafood Restaurant – Sunnybank Hills
As the name suggests, Haoke specialises in seafood dishes, Yum Cha and Cantonese cuisine. All the traditional dishes are on offer with the restaurant open until late, in case you get a case of the munchies late in the evening.
Yum Cha Cuisine – Westfield Garden City
For those with large appetites head to Yum Cha Cuisine and take advantage of their ‘all you can eat’ Yum Cha over a 90 minute session, with over 80 dishes to choose. Included dishes steamed dumplings, buns, spring rolls, ribs and delicious desserts such as the popular deep-fried ice-cream, mango pancakes and egg tarts.
Aspley Oriental – Aspley
Aspley Oriental has been serving Brisbanites since the 1990’s and is conveniently located at the Aspley Hypermarket on Brisbane’s northside. Serving the usual Yum Cha dishes, such as prawn dumplings, BBQ pork buns and chicken feet, they also have a variety of live seafood to choose from as well as other popular Asian dishes at reasonable prices.
Landmark Restaurant – Chermside
Situated at the bustling Westfield Chermside, celebrating Yum Cha at the Landmark Restaurant will have guests excited by the amount of variety whizzing past on the trolley. Dishes include the standard seafood, beef and vegetable offerings, as well as the more ‘interesting’ beef tripe.
If your favourite Brisbane Yum Cha restaurant is not on this list, feel free to let us know, so we can add it.