Where to take relatives who have come to visit Melbourne in October? Well… if they’re Chinese, they might just insist on checking out our local eateries. And that’s exactly what mine did (a trip to New Zealand where they had enough of sandwiches and fish and chips also pushed them a bit over the edge I think).
So, during their rather short stay, we managed to fit in yum cha (healthily) every single day. Now mind you, in Hong Kong, a lot of people go to yum cha every day, paper in hand and even share tables when it gets crowded.
I find the following really are the key things to enjoying your yum cha:
- go when people go:
- i.e. most likely you will get the freshest dishes on a weekend. Do NOT go on a weekday late at lunch time unless you can deal with the disappointment of cold dishes and ones that have been making rounds of the restaurant
- go with people
- Everyone wants to try a little bit of everything and that’s great in yum cha! Hard to yum cha with two people with small appetites… Turns into a rock paper scissors match to see who will finish the third bun.
- be firm with what you do and more importantly do NOT want to order
- especially when going in a group, some of the more pushy waiters will literally put dishes in front of you and say you want it. Be firm – if you do not want their roast meats ($$$), say no
- book a table to be safe
Shark Fin Inn
Shark Fin Inn in the CBD is an institution really. We don’t go very often because it’s in the city BUT when we ARE in the city, we end up coming here. On this occasion, we had quite an interesting encounter with a fairly junior waiter. It is the very first time I have ever had to ask for more tea leaves because the pot only contained two flowers of chrysanthemum. I’m sure this isn’t usual for them either!
(teapot after the request – much better.)
Note that on this occasion, we went rather late and thus had to order dishes – they weren’t bad so this can be a solution to going to yum cha late (rice noodle rolls, fried noodles and their baked sago pudding were what we chose)
Wonton House Secret Kitchen
I must say I’m a bit surprised with the low ratings. This yum cha is situated in Century City Walk and it’s actually quite a nice place to sit and relax. Again, we went on a weekday so it’s a bit unfair to compare but I’d say their dim sum overall isn’t as good as some of the other places BUT they do make a fantastic radish puff. The same pastry can also be encasing durian if that’s your thing (it tastes great!). There’s another one in Westfield in Doncaster with pretty good views.