Three yum cha in the ‘burbs
Literally translated from Cantonese, yum cha means ‘drink tea’ and, although the tea’s considered an important aid to digestion, it’s hardly the main attraction. Come the weekend, grazing on a delectable range of crisp fried or steamed morsels is exactly what thousands across Sydney feel like doing. There are the massive, chandeliered palaces doing a roaring trolley trade in Chinatown but the parking hassles and dodgy weekend public transport can be off-putting. Weekend mornings are meant to be easy so sticking to the ‘burbs where there’s still plenty of choice can ensure they are.
The new sign and the lick of paint are the only changes this place has seen since opening in 1991. They do all the classics well – bright steamed gai yarn with oyster sauce, chewy taro dumplings, salt and pepper calamari, steamed pork buns and those triangular pork-filled pastries that are filling enough to rule out dessert. There are no surprise dishes but when you’re starving and possibly hung over you just want the comfort of familiarity. If you’re not Asian, staff will assume you don’t want chicken feet and tripe so be prepared to request them. Like all yum cha places, the food’s hotter and there’s more choice when busy, even if that means queuing for a table.
Address: 338 Marrickville Road, Marrickville. Telephone: +61 2 9560 4681
Continuing the rich tradition of decent yum cha in gaudy clubs is this place in Canterbury Leagues. The pigeon (pictured) is perfect in every way with its shiny maltose glaze and tender gamey flesh. Honeycomb tripe, pale fried whitebait and cold spicy chicken salad were also faultless as was all the steamed gear. Even the teapots pour properly. Marvel at the fountain and dazzling landscaping inside and out as you walk off your dumplings.
Address: 26 Bridge Road, Belmore. Telephone: +61 2 9740 6633
Burwood has such a dynamic regional Chinese food scene it’s no surprise the main drag houses a good Cantonese restaurant. There’s a buzz here even on weekdays, some here for the yum cha, others splashing out on the live seafood from the bubbling tanks. Trolley pace means there’s no feeling of neglect, nor overwhelm which is an admirable balance to strike. As well as all the usual offerings, there’s a plate of molten-hot beef tendon which you’ll discover is delicious once you’ve manoeuvred the slippery pieces into your mouth with chopsticks.
Address: 208 Burwood Road, Burwood. Telephone: +61 2 9715 5988