Published in Live4 November 2013
From melt-in-your-mouth dumplings to decadent Peking duck, here’s our tour of the best Chinese in town.
Whether you’re obsessed with back alley dumpling dens or live for late night eateries ruled by heaving yum cha trolleys, Sydney is no stranger to the thrills of eating Chinese. These local institutions are a crash course in the flavours and textures of China, minus the hefty plane ticket.
Billy Kwong, Eveleigh Market
Terrified of the queues snaking around Kylie Kwong’s Crown Street headquarters? Skip the original and head for the scaled down version: a humble market stall doling out Chinese breakfast staples, including pork wontons and savoury pancakes gussied up with organic vegetables and egg, courtesy of the woman herself. Swap your latte for a cup of green tea to start your Saturday with extra zen.
Eveleigh Markets, 243 Wilson St, Darlington
Din Tai Fung
Ever wondered how Xiao Long Bao – that delicate, broth-filled dumpling encased in tissue-thin skin – found its way from 19th century Shanghai to downtown Sydney? Blame Din Tai Fung. The famed Taipei-based dumpling chain has the world hooked on the Chinese delicacy and this local outpost is no different. Pull up a wooden chair, ready your chopsticks and give into slurp-heavy bliss.
450 George St, Sydney
Waistcoat-clad waiters. Dramatic lighting. Lazy susans piled with bamboo baskets. If you crossed a movie set with your favourite suburban Cantonese joint, the results would look a little like Kam Fook. This sprawling restaurant draws lunching businessmen, expats and families with stuffed crab claw, king prawns crowned with Szechuan spices and a two-course Peking Duck bound to revisit you in your dreams.
Shop 600, Level 6, Westfield Shoppingtown/28 Victor St, Chatswood
It’s easy to see why Momofuku’s Dave Chang swears by Golden Century. Whether you go for the plates of pipis spiked with fiery XO sauce, bowls of soul-affirming rice congee or mountains of crispy whitebait, an evening out in Sydney isn’t complete without a late night date at this Chinatown favourite. Golden Century’s around-the-clock kitchen might manage an endless procession of dishes but it also blends the high-energy with the high-end – this may be the only place in Sydney where you can sip three types of Grange at 4 am.
393-399 Sussex St, Haymarket
Asian fusion may be a food world buzzword but China Lane proves that there’s life in that old chestnut yet. Tucked away in Angel Lane, this eatery matches a design-heavy fit-out – all Danish dining chairs and moody lighting – with a version of Chinese that’s high on modern flourishes. Here, dishes such as crispy pork belly topped with chilli caramel and lemongrass sashimi are an ode to hot, sour, salty and sweet, while the dumplings stuffed with lobster and truffle are proof of what happens when adventurousness meets talent.
2 Angel Pl, Sydney
It’s dangerous to dismiss Mr Wong as just another attempt to paint the city Merivale. The Cantonese eating house, which channels the seedy charms of a Hong Kong dive bar, serves up some of the city’s most addictive Chinese food thanks to executive chef Dan Hong. Although the interiors are impressive – think rows of hanging ducks, brick walls and kitsch prints that conjure the bedroom of a forgotten empress – the menu is the crowning glory. Come for its unrivalled dim sum selection or feast on Singapore-style rock lobster, pigs’ ears and the best whole roast duck this side of Beijing.
3 Bridge Ln, Sydney