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Yum cha at David's
Photograph: Supplied/David's

The best yum cha in Melbourne

Is there any breakfast better than a yum cha breakfast? Gather your friends and have your fill of tea over our best picks for dim sum.

Written by
Time Out editors
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Fluffy pork buns. Pork wrapped in fried tofu skin. Beef tendon. Prawn dumplings. These are definitive dishes of any good yum cha. Stalk out our favourite trolley spots in Melbourne, gather your friends and feast on endless steamed, fried and roasted plates while washing it down with your favourite tea (or wine). 

Want more dumplings? Check out the best dumpling restaurants in Melbourne. After brunch? Check out the best breakfasts in Melbourne.

Best yum cha in Melbourne

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Melbourne

Secret Kitchen is recognisable by its curved fishtank on the corner of Little Bourke and Exhibition Street, signifying that they specialise in seafood. Don't worry – the place doesn't slouch in the yum cha department. Secret Kitchen falls under the China Bar umbrella, and this two-storey Cantonese restaurant is the place to go when you’re in the mood for a big feed. You definitely have to book in for yum cha on the weekends or you will be turned away, as this is the go-to for any Chinese-Melburnian. 

 

  • Restaurants
  • Docklands

As part of the Gold Leaf group, Docklands' branch is a safe haven for dim sum chasers who want their dishes served hot and their service efficient. You'll find all your typical dishes here like har gow, sui mai, chicken feet and tendon, but pay special attention when the barrel of fresh, silken tofu rolls past for some of the best tofu fa (fresh, warm tofu topped with a ginger soup) in Melbourne. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Templestowe Lower

You're going to have to get on a bus to Templestowe to get to Golden Dragon Palace, but at least the bus stop is right out the front. Carved dragons, a piano and man-sized urns surround pristine linen-covered tables, which makes GDP one of the more ornate Cantonese restaurants around. Weekend tables require a booking, and seatings are a very fast 50 minutes. Siu mai come with an XO sauce, sweet suckling pig is all crisp skin and melting meat. GDP is the place to try something different, as the 100-plus dishes available at yum cha offers more interesting dishes than just har gow and cheung fun. 

 

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Melbourne

This bustling first-floor Cantonese restaurant is packed for both lunch and dinner services for its seafood-forward dishes. Yum cha occurs daily and alongside more traditional dishes, wu gok (fried taro dumplings) may be stuffed with a creamy chicken filling rather than the usual pork gravy, and golden lava buns (steamed buns filled with a sweet-savoury runny salted egg yolk custard) arrive steamed in orange-tinged buns. Book on weekends or be herded like cattle amongst all the parked prams at the top of the stairs for your window of opportunity.

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  • Restaurants
  • Prahran

David Zhou’s formal Chinese restaurant offers Shanghainese yum cha where you can expect platefuls of dumplings, spring rolls, veggie fried rice, pork and prawn siu mai and pork buns. Sweet treats come in the form of banana Fritters or white chocolate dumplings, and it can all be washed down with its extensive wine menu or a cold Tsingtao. Yum cha is available every day the venue is open, but make sure to arrive early to nab the most popular dishes. 

Shark Fin Inn
  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne

The 'original' Shark Fin restaurant has been offering up traditional Cantonese food to Melbourne's city-goers since the '80s. It does daily yum cha service that doesn't require a booking, but weekends will bring lines snaking out onto Little Bourke Street, ready to be ushered to their reserved tables. The har gow are beautifully sweet and bitey, but the real winner is the ngau yuk cheung fun (steamed beef rice noodles) that are so silky you can't resist slurping the sweet soy-soaked sheets.

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  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne
  • price 1 of 4

There are few things in life worth waiting for, but Tim Ho Wan's barbecue pork buns are worth the wait. These sweet-savoury, lard- and sugar-crusted buns are baked rather than steamed, and the featherweight pastry filled with a jammy barbecue pork interior makes good sense with the dusting of sweetness. More traditional dumplings come in the form of the arrestingly translucent casings containing a wealth of garlicky spinach and some shyly hiding shrimp meat. Thankfully there are no lines at THW anymore, but the one-sheet ordering system still stays. Sorry, there is no trolley service to satisfy your impulse eating at this dim sum house.

Check out more of what Melbourne has to offer

  • Restaurants

Unless you have the metabolism of a nine-year-old, and the finances of a Kardashian, you never stand a chance against Melbourne's ferocious dining machine. The openings just don't stop and ain't nobody got time to keep on top of what's what. Except us, that is. So behold, our eat-and-destroy list – a guide to Melbourne's 50 best restaurants.

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