Good Food Guide 2022: 10 of Sydney's best yum cha restaurants

Plant-based pickings: Vegans won't miss out on yum cha at Bodhi.
Plant-based pickings: Vegans won't miss out on yum cha at Bodhi. Photo: Steven Siewert

 Bodhi

Yum cha isn't the easiest meal to navigate for those not inclined to eating animal products, but at Bodhi, things are just dandy. Tofu puffs are stuffed with crunchy water chestnut, cheong fun (rolled rice noodles) are saucy and silky, and there are plant-based renditions of all the dumpling hits. Heck, there are even meat-free duck pancakes if that's your jam. Vegan or not, this place should be on your radar.

2-4 College Street, Sydney, 02 9360 2523, bodhirestaurant.com.au

Dining at The Eight restaurant on the 3rd floor of Market City in Haymarket January 26, 2011.
SMH GOOD LIVING Photo by Domino Postiglione

Yum cha is worth the wait at The Eight. Photo: Domino Postiglione

The Eight

Renowned for the quality of both its service and its produce, The Eight is the word for a slightly more rarefied yum cha experience. Expect plump siu mai, woo gok where shatteringly crisp, lacy coating gives way to a porky filling, radish cakes with just the right amount of char, and durian pie for dessert. Oh, and expect to wait, of course.

9-13 Hay Street, Haymarket, 02 9282 9988, theeightrestaurant.com.au

Dynasty Chinese

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Tucked inside Canterbury League Club, Dynasty may be known for its waterfalls, bamboo ceiling and indoor footbridge, but the dim sum here are the real draw. Stick your hand up for beef belly and tendon in hoisin sauce, radish cakes in XO sauce and pillowy pork buns, and don't skimp on the egg tarts. And with discounts for members, there's never been a better time to join the club.

26 Bridge Road, Belmore, 02 9704 7704, canterbury.com.au/bars-restaurants/the-dynasty

Golden Sands

The crown of the south-west, Golden Sands has a reliable roster of rich and saucy things – the pork ribs with taro here are soaking in delicious gravy – but it scores points across the board. Glazed chicken pies are made with extra-short pastry, spinach dumplings are neatly pleated, and the ham sui gok, those mince-stuffed football-shaped dough packets, are golden and delicious. Queue watch: reliably long.

Hurstville Times Plaza, level 2, 127-141 Forest Road, Hurstville, 02 9580 3188

Xiao long bao at Mama Mulan in Chatswood.

Xiao long bao at Mama Mulan in Chatswood. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Mama Mulan

There's no shortage of good yum cha in Sydney's third Chinatown, but Mama Mulan brings something different to the line-up. Yes, the classics are reliable, but it's the off-piste inclusions that sell it. Think pineapple in the pork buns, or pumpkin instead of taro with the pork ribs. The design, from DS17, ain't half bad either. And while chocolate sauce with the mango crepe may raise eyebrows, the mango pomelo sago is a sure bet.

Chatswood City Library, level 1, The Concourse, Chatswood, 02 9157 1488, mamamulan.com.au

Marigold

A Chinatown institution where the chandeliers hang low, the tablecloths are snow white and the floral carpets help soften the noise of chattering diners. Load up on prawn and pea-leaf dumplings or juicy siu mai from the trolleys, add the chicken feet flavoured with garlic and chilli, then admire the barrel-vaulted ceiling as you kick back with a mango pancake.

683 George Street, Sydney, 02 9281 3388, marigold.com.au

GF. Weekend. Chef Dan Hong at Mr Wong. Ahead of Chinese New Year, a story on how easy it is to make dumplings. 16 Jan 2019. Photo: Edwina Pickles.

Chef Dan Hong at Mr. Wong. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Mr Wong

Michael Luo's handiwork as Mr. Wong's head dim sum chef is on show in many of the steamer baskets at lunchtime. But you need to rock up at noon on the dot to catch your share of the lustrous siu mai with a generous crown of roe, and crystal seafood dumplings in rich "golden" broth. Then add Dan Hong's prawn toast (with foie gras, no less) for good measure.

3 Bridge Lane, Sydney, 02 9114 7317, merivale.com

Palace Chinese

Palace's plates are reliably good across the range, be it the fluffy pork buns, sweet scallop siu mai or carb-on-carb zhaliang, where silky rice noodles encase prawn-stuffed youtiao (fried dough). Their versions of the "holy trinity" of yum cha dishes – phoenix claws (braised chicken feet), honeycomb tripe and pork ribs – are spot on, too.

Shop 38, Piccadilly Tower, level 1, 133-145 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, 02 9283 6288, palacechinese.com.au

Vinh Phat

With nearly four decades on the board, Vinh Phat is renowned as one of the most modestly priced yum cha joints around. Queues snake out the door at weekends – and not just because of the prices. Warm, silky tofu fa (tofu custard) is a hit here, as is the slippery chee cheong fun (steamed rice noodle rolls). Plus, the mango pancakes are some of the best in the west.

Shop 12, 10 Hughes Street, Cabramatta, 02 9726 2720, instagram.com/vinhphat_cabra

Zilver

Tucked upstairs near the Capitol theatre, Zilver is a classic. Queues form early for a seat in the cavernous dining hall, where the food on the trolleys is about consistency across the board. Salt-and-pepper whitebait are a fine variation on a staple, while the har gau dumplings, phoenix claws and flaky egg tarts for sweets all make a strong case for inclusion.

Level 1, 477 Pitt Street, Haymarket, 02 9211 2232, zilver.com.au