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Golden Century food overview
Photograph: Anna Kucera

The best Chinese restaurants in Sydney

From low-key dumpling joints, to yum cha and upscale restaurants for special occasions, we've got you covered

Alice Ellis
Written by
Elizabeth McDonald
&
Alice Ellis
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Whether you're after specialty Sichuan spots or hot Cantonese kitchens, Sydney has some seriously great Chinese restaurants in the CBD and surrounding suburbs. Whether you want to go all out and explore regional cuisines, sit down for yum cha, or grab some takeaway barbecue duck or hand-thrown noodles, these are the best Chinese restaurants Sydney has to offer. 

Want more Chinese? These are the best dumplings in Sydney.

The best Chinese restaurants in Sydney

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Haymarket
  • price 2 of 4

Breathe a sigh of relief: the pippies in XO sauce at XOPP are just as good as they are at the dearly departed Golden Century. And that’s a damn good thing, because it would be pretty awkward if the dish that inspired the awkwardly named (say it slowly, one letter at a time) and eagerly anticipated spinoff of the Chinatown institution were not up to scratch. Look beyond those pippies, however, and the comparisons to its closed sister venue are few and far between. Up here, in the strangely semicircular space on the first floor of Kengo Kuma’s cyclonic Exchange building, there’s hardly a tablecloth or a fish tank in sight. XOPP not only indulges that unending romance with those tried-and-true Cantonese classics, but also gives us a few new reasons to fall in love all over again. 

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

They’ll tell you to go for the Peking duck. They’ll tell you it’s a juicy bird with crisp skin and sweet meat. And they’d be right. It is. This is just one of the many roast delights at Mr Wong – a two-level Canto-extravaganza offering everything from fancy dim sum to green beans stir-fried with pork mince and house-made XO sauce. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Sydney

Holding court in the red and gold dining room of the Palace Chinese Restaurant comes with great responsibility. If you are in the power seat by the trolley channel you need to be decisive when the extra-juicy pink-hued roast pork rolls around, served in thin slices with the right fat-to-meat ratio. Move quickly when the blistered greens beans come out of the kitchen, scalding hot, salted like the sea and dressed in garlic.  It’s worth checking every basket, because in addition to taut-skinned, tightly packed prawn and garlic chive dumplings there might be a sneaky serve of duck dumplings on the trolley. 

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Haymarket

They do things differently at Spice World, Haymarket’s very own truly quirky and ultimately delicious eating experience. The first Australian outpost for one of China’s biggest hot pot chains is peddles Barbies draped in beef; a giant soup-based stock cube fashioned into the shape of a Hello Kitty; robots that glide around the venue serving up digital smiles and mints; and there’s also a sauce banquet. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Ashfield
  • price 1 of 4

This Ashfield Chinese restaurant is a favourite of some of the best chefs in Sydney, so you know it's going to be legit. Work your way through provincial specialities like country-style pan fried fish cakes and steamed minced pork with salted fish before moving onto king prawns, pork rib and salt baked chicken. You'll also find huge hot pots and warming bowls of congee.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Redfern

Expect modern Chinese classics executed with humble restraint. Highlights include steamed fish with ginger and spring onions; stir-fried beef fillet with pepper and lemon; and wok-tossed iceberg lettuce with cucumber, black fungus and oyster sauce. The must-try dish is the aptly-named redbird, of course. While the bird itself will change regularly from chicken to duck or pigeon, it will always be poached in a classic, aromatic Cantonese red braise.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Manly

You know those Chinese diners in coastal towns – unchanged for decades, brash gold furnishings and laminated menus... Well Sydney hospitality juggernaut Merivale has flipped this tacky trope into a dining destination with the opening of a high-end Cantonese restaurant launched out over the water on Manly Wharf.

  • Restaurants
  • Woolloomooloo
  • price 2 of 4

This Woolloomooloo finger wharf hot spot is the go-to for ladies' long lunches, water views and shareable pan-Asian cuisine. Book a big table and order up a bunch of dishes that trot through Beijing (Peking duck pancakes), Bali (cobia yellow curry), Bangkok (crisp pork belly with chilli caramel and prik nam pla) and Sydney (salt and pepper king prawns with toasted chilli and garlic). The three banquet menu options are great for groups and the wharf location lends itself to a glam pre-lunch party snap.

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  • Restaurants
  • Haymarket

At the Eight they push the boat just that little further – there's an extra lick of attention paid to everything on offer, from the moist, sweet, tender barbecue pork to the stout little mango pancakes. The congee is excellent – all loose and glutinous with little pieces of pork and preserved egg woven through, topped with little bits of fried bread and green onion. If you're not a Chinese nanna, you might have to arm wrestle the waitress for it, but persevere. The dumplings are generally a little smaller than the footballs you see around Sydney, and just a little more tender - namely the plain prawn and pork. 

  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

This is a Chinese restaurant that does not serve any Cantonese dishes. Instead, you'll find a menu that roams China from Sichuan to Yunnan to Guangxi. Go with a bunch of friends and try as many different dishes for the table as you can. You're guaranteed to taste something here that your mouth has never experienced before. In a very, very good way. The room has a bit of a swingin' Shanghai gentleman's club atmosphere with rich red carpet, deep, chubby leather banquettes, vases of bamboo and curtains that look like giant matchsticks. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Ashfield

The Liverpool Road stretch of Ashfield is littered with dumpling houses these days but Shanghai Night was arguably the first. Back then, staff would make dumplings at one of the back tables in the dining room; now they’re stationed within a modern glassed-in kitchen with fancy laminated menus to boot. They’re still serving up some of Sydney’s cheapest xiao long bao soup dumplings at $7.80 for eight. But wait. There’s more. Steamed and fried dumplings arrive in hearty portions of 12 for the small serve, 18 for a large. 

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Campsie

Jin Weigu in Campsie is doing powerhouse breakfasts, Northern Chinese-style. Here, as in Beijing or Tianjin, the only way to start the day is with a meal that’s hot, hearty, thick, and filling – the kind of food that’s sustained populations through thousands of years of bitter winters and a hardy history. The menu board and heat-lamped display offer an overwhelming variety of AM staples from the mainland, comprising everything from crunchy crullers (deep-fried cakes) dipped into freshly ground soy milk and paper-plain millet porridge, to robust lamb bone stews, and buns filled with sweet red bean. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Sydney

In Xi’an, they like their noodles thick. Really thick. This northwestern Chinese city in Shaanxi Province is the home of biang biang – fresh handmade noodles three fingers wide and as long as your arm. When tossed in oil mixed with roasted chilli, they make a fast, warm and filling bowl of cheap street food. The name is thought to come from the sound the noodles make as they are pulled out and loudly slapped on a flour dusted counter to stretch them further. Bang! Bang! 

  • Restaurants
  • Sydney

This Angel Place spot (from the China Doll folks) will serve you up wagyu ‘pastrami’, dressed with black vinegar and crunched up with Chinese celery. It’s a really cool idea – they’ve been curing beef like this at NYC’s Mission Chinese for a while – and it’s great to see someone doing it in Sydney. Its combination of approachable, mostly Chinese-inspired food in a fairly upmarket setting attracts huge crowds piling in for sweet, sticky hunks of pork hock and slices of stir-fried zucchini with lup cheong sausage.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Parramatta

The Chefs Gallery Instagram feed is filled with lusty pictures of noodles captured mid-slurp, under-the-radar dishes like dongpo (Chinese-braised pork belly) and sweet, emoji-inspired buns filled with custard. You'll want to order it all and fill your boots at the Chef's Gallery, one of the bright spots on Parramatta's newest eat street.

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