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Peking duck at Mr Wong
Photograph: Pat Stevenson

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

Written by
Elizabeth McDonald
,
Avril Treasure
&
Alice Ellis
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From specialty Sichuan spots to hot Cantonese kitchens, Sydney has some seriously great Chinese restaurants. Time Out Sydney's critics, including Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure, have eaten their way around town to bring you this curated and up-to-date list. So whether you want to go all out and explore regional cuisines, sit down for yum cha, grab some takeaway barbecue duck or hand-thrown noodles, you'll find your spot here. These are the best Chinese restaurants Sydney has to offer – we're hungry just thinking about them. 

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The best Chinese restaurants in Sydney

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Haymarket
  • price 1 of 4

This little Xinjiang-style restaurant has always been popular enough for lines to snake out the door – thankfully now they have a whole lot of on-the-street seating, so you're less likely to have to wait to get a seat inside. Once seated, you're in for some seriously delicious treats, like hand-pulled noodles with lamb, and light-as-a-feather dumplings. Plus, the prices are seriously right. There are a few Xinjiang noodle houses like this in a row and dotted around Chinatown – but we're calling it, this one is The Best.

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Alice Ellis
Sydney Editor
  • 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
  • Eveleigh

After closing the much-lauded Billy Kwong in 2019, beloved restauranteur and celebrity chef Kylie Kwong returned in 2021, much to the delight of hungry Sydneysiders, with her lunchtime-only restaurant in the buzzing South Eveleigh dining precinct. It takes the form of a casual cafeteria with a focus on "true nourishment," according to Kwong. Her determination to make Cantonese-Australian cuisine with sustainably sourced produce is a thread that carries right through the menu, which she personally oversees at the open-plan kitchen, summoning servers to deliver orders with a distinctive double clap.

Xi An Cuisine
Photograph: Supplied

Xi An Cuisine

Xi An Cuisine doesn't have a website, though you can find the hole-in-the-wall on 90 Hay Street Haymarket – and you absolutely should. This place is as cheap and cheerful as it gets, and most plates cost around $13. Must try: the fatty pork "Chinese burger" (its actual name is rou jia mo) with lashings of chilli oil.

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Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Enmore
  • price 2 of 4

Come for Cantonese hits and a fun time at the OG Queen Chow Enmore, found in the Queens Hotel. All of your favourite dishes are there – including plump and juicy dumplings, glistening crisp duck; fragrant market fish with ginger shallot and white soy; and king prawns with garlic butter and enoki and wood ear mushrooms. Feel like being a baller? Go for lobster with your choice of sauce from XO, black bean and chilli, garlic butter, ginger shallot or salt and pepper. On weekends, there’s yum cha during the day, and a DJ plays non-stop bangers at night.

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Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
  • 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 prawn and pork. 

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Circular Quay
  • price 1 of 4

Beloved Sydney icon Malay Chinese has a new outpost at Circular Quay's dining precinct Sydney Place. Here, they specialise in laksa lemak, which is made from coconut milk and curry paste and devoured at hawker stalls in Malaysia and Singapore. There are 11 types to choose from, ranging from chicken to beef and prawn. Other notable mentions go to the comforting Hainan chicken with nourishing broth, and char kway teow with its slippery, fat rice noodles and trademark smoky notes. Malay Chinese is a mostly takeaway affair, so get down here early.

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Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
  • 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Redfern

At Redbird, you can 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 changes regularly from chicken to duck or pigeon, it's always poached in a classic, aromatic Cantonese red braise.

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Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out 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. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Haymarket

A 600-seat Cantonese restaurant with traditional yum cha, live seafood and late-night dining is now open in the former Golden Century digs. If you’ve been missing the legendary restaurant (we sure have), then we reckon the Royal Palace Seafood Restaurant may fill that dumpling-shaped hole in your heart. Expect Cantonese classics including lobster noodles with ginger and shallots; Peking duck with pancakes; Singapore chilli crab; and – yes – pippies in XO sauce.

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Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
  • 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. 

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Haymarket

A visit to this popular Haymarket eatery is a one-way ticket to flavour town, and the best part is that you can travel there on a shoestring and not miss out on any of the fun. Must order: beef hot pot with a fiery Sichuan-spiked broth, and crunchy chilled cucumbers dressed with dried, roasted chillies, a whack of salt and enough garlic to repel Edward Cullen. So, so good.

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Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
  • 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 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
  • Sydney

Luxe, elegant and a little bit special, pearls are the ocean’s jewel. Pearl is also the name of the elevated CBD Cantonese restaurant by the Lotus Dining Group (Lotus the Galeries, Lotus Barangaroo, Lotus Double Bay). And just like the ocean's shiny lustrous sphere, it's pretty special, too. Located in the Quay Quarter on Bridge and Young Streets, the 84-seat restaurant and bar serves modern takes on the cuisine from China’s Canton province, with influences from Hong Kong, where chef and director of culinary Cheung Shui Yip is from.

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Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
  • 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
  • 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. 

  • 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. But wait. There’s more. Steamed and fried dumplings arrive in hearty portions of 12 for the small serve, 18 for a large. 

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