The 18 Best Chinese Restaurants In Sydney Right Now
— 19 October 2023

The 18 Best Chinese Restaurants In Sydney Right Now

— 19 October 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

Before we dive into this curated (yet by no means exhaustive) round-up of our favourite Chinese restaurants in Sydney, a word on taxonomies.

As intrepid eaters know, writing individual 5000-word lists about any one of China’s 8 regional cuisines (and the Sydney restaurants that traffic in them) is an all too real possibility.

But to do so would be folly because (as in Melbourne and Brisbane) Sydney’s community of Chinese eateries is a rich tapestry that, by definition, is constantly in flux. Thus, our choice to cast a wide net with the descriptor of “Chinese cuisine”.

Rather than attempting exhaustiveness, we’ve opted to wrangle a selection of venues we already know to be popular amongst Sydneysiders. That, plus a few underrated gems with which we’re personally au fait: tried, tested, and in many cases, regularly revisited.

As a result of the history of Australia’s Chinese diaspora, about 50% of these specialise in Cantonese cuisine. This regionality broadly encompasses the food of Hong Kong, Macau, and neighbouring Guangdong province in Mainland China. Seafood and wok cookery are characteristic themes.

That said, we’ve got more than our fair share of non-Canto options for diners to sift through. From slurp-worthy bowls of Lanzhou beef noodles to the most moreish xiao long bao, here is every BH-approved Chinese restaurant in Sydney right now.

The Best Chinese Restaurants In Sydney For 2023

Cantonese Cuisine

XOPP By Golden Century, Haymarket

Chinese restaurants in Sydney

The latter half of the XOPP moniker (i.e. “by Golden Century”) should tell historically-minded gourmands everything they need to know about this acclaimed dining destination.

Named for the eponymous signature dish that David Chang reportedly described as “the best in the world” — consisting of pipis rapidly wok-fried in a heady gravy of XO sauce and garlic — XOPP is the true successor to Sydney’s legendary Golden Century.

Overseen by the second generation of the Wong family (Golden Century’s original proprietors), the specialty here is best described as classic Cantonese cuisine, seen through a New Wave lens.

Leviathan seafood courses of mud crab, lobster, and coral trout (sold by gross weight) continue to abound. But diners will also find creativity percolating in the menu’s margins. Dishes like a lobster roll-esque mantou or cauliflower, of all things, cooked in the “Typhoon Shelter” style attest to this fact.

Steam King Restaurant, Haymarket

Located inside the beating heart of Chinatown, Steam King’s stock-in-trade (pun most definitely intended) is its assortment of nourishing soups and broths. Each emphasises seasonal ingredients and light, cleanly delineated flavours.

Almost one whole third of the Steam King menu is taken up by soup, with the vast majority prepared in the “double steamed” style. This inspired technique controls the loss of moisture during cooking; and thus, is popular when working with premium ingredients such as dried scallops or fish maw.

For some diners, those ingredients will be an acquired taste. Yet they form part of a rich seam in traditional Cantonese cookery — beloved for nutritious, restorative properties.

Even if you aren’t a soup fiend, Steam King’s numerous other steamed/staple dishes are worth investigating. In that vein, steamed prawns laden with glass noodles or a delicate custard of crab and egg white are both essential.

Imperial Dynasty, Hurstville

Chinese restaurants Sydney

As is so often the case when it comes to great Chinese dining in suburban Sydney, Imperial Dynasty is located away from street level; inside an RSL-type situation across the road from Westfield Hurstville.

Open 7 days per week, this is among the textbook examples of a family-friendly Chinese seafood restaurant in Sydney. Discounts are available if you’re a member of the surrounding Club Central.

The archetypal yum cha trolley dominates at lunchtime, while the dinner menu contains a couple of wildcards for those diners expecting the typical hodgepodge of market seafood and deep-fried snacks.

Case in point: the “8 Treasures” duck. Only available by preorder, this dish is a Lunar New Year staple: consisting of a whole duck that is stuffed with various cooked goodies, including dried shrimp, bamboo shoot, and lap cheong (Chinese sausage).

That said, if you’re hankering for something a little less decadent, Imperial Dynasty do a very mean sideline in stir-fried fish dishes. The filleted cod, garnished with celery and snow peas, is a meal unto itself.

Silks, Barangaroo

Chinese restaurants Sydney

In the traditional heartland of Cantonese cuisine (i.e. Hong Kong, Macau, and Greater China) many of the very best restaurants adopt an attitude towards décor best described as noncommittal. At Silks, cloistered amid the opulent setting of Crown Towers in Barangaroo, it’s very much the opposite wisdom that holds.

The main dining room is flecked in a palette of blues and golds, which together evoke the ridgelines of the Blue Mountains; while a quartet of private dining rooms provide numerous settings for the ultimate power lunch. (Silks 38, the biggest of these spaces, seats 12.)

Unsurprisingly, the lavishness of Silks’ aesthetic is reflected in its cuisine. There’s the classic carnivore pleaser of wok-fried beef cubes: here albeit with MBS+9 Aussie wagyu ($128). Live fish dishes may be prepared in four different styles, including a lesser seen combo frying/braising technique known as liu.

That said, between Monday and Thursday, the lunchtime yum cha menu offers surprisingly good value. $88 for all the har gow you can eat in 150 minutes? Sign us up.

Golden Sands, Hurstville

Chinese restaurants in Sydney

For Sydneysiders living in the city’s southern, largely Cantonese-speaking Chinese enclaves (i.e. Hurstville and Beverly Hills) Golden Sands is a name that’s thick with GOAT status.

Since 2016, the restaurant has delighted Hurstville’s diners with a range of traditional Cantonese and contemporary Hong Kong specialties. It’s also gained a reputation as something of a go-to spot on weekends. Our advice: if you plan on visiting on Saturday or Sunday, set your alarm and duck in early. Fortunately, turnover usually occurs at a good pace.

Central to Golden Sands’ near-institutional status is the quality of its yum cha. In this arena, its reputation is ironclad. The saucier staples like paai gwat (steamed pork ribs) or bean curd rolls stuffed with pork are predictably good. We’d also like to make special mention of Golden Sands’ velvety cheung fun (rice noodle rolls).

As with almost any decent Chinese restaurant in Sydney, these are available with a selection of fillings. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the zaa leong version. Filled with strips of crisp fried dough, they’re a wonder of flavours and contrasting textures.

Imperial Kitchen & Bar, Sydney CBD

Chinese restaurants Sydney

Situated a few minutes walk from Town Hall Station, Imperial Kitchen & Bar is an impressive little hidey-hole of a restaurant. Overseen by Hong Kong chef Jimmy Lee, the menu here cribs from a medley of regional Chinese influences.

For convenience’s sake, we’ve opted to slot it in under the “Cantonese” subsection of our dining guide. Lee’s background, working in cosmopolitan kitchens in Hong Kong, means it’s not uncommon to find dishes with disparate influences from Shanghai, Northern China, and even Thailand.

Conveniently, at Imperial Kitchen, the team endeavours to make the ordering process straightforward. To that end, there are 4 or 5 banqueting menus available. The $748 option is the most extravagant of the bunch: offering lobster, a whole garoupa, and choice of poultry.

Fun fact: upstairs, there are a handful of private dining rooms equipped with everything you need for a cheeky sesh of post-dinner karaoke.

Royal Palace Seafood, Haymarket

Royal Palace Seafood opened earlier this year in the space formerly occupied by the legendary Golden Century. The Wong family’s beloved Chinatown institution is a tough act to follow. Yet even at this early juncture, the signs are encouraging.

All the details that Golden Century oldheads love are back once more. From the ground-floor live seafood tanks to the daily yum cha service – complete with a fleet of trolleys. Most important of all: trading hours until 3 AM (Thursday – Saturday) are back. A welcome port in the proverbial storm, following a largish Friday evening.

Proprietor William Wu, whose family are also behind Royal Pavilion, isn’t content to rest on his laurels, though. To that end, old Golden Century favourites sit alongside newer more elaborate recipes. Diners now have the option to order lobster prepared in a trio of ways. Or, if you’re chowing down with a party of 20, consider a whole suckling pig: a staple of Hong Kong banquet dishes.

Taste Of Shunde, Eastwood

Even by the regionally specific standard of most Chinese restaurants, Taste Of Shunde chooses to plug a surprising niche. Per its name, the specialties here all derive from the cuisine of Shunde – a historic city in the Mainland province of Guangdong.

Located about 2 hours west of Hong Kong, Shunde is traditionally a centre for the production of dairy goods in China. Taste Of Shunde reflects this unique culinary heritage, with a range of sweet and savoury dishes that highlight milk – either as ingredient or seasoning. Even if albumen-rich milk custard studded with crystal shrimp doesn’t sound like your thing, there’s plenty else on offer.

The glazed cha siu (barbequed pork) is a credit to the category. Elsewhere, bigger parties would do well to splurge on one of the restaurant’s signature seafood platters. These are large, basket-clad dishes which showcase a range of prawns, clams, and various species of sliced fish. Think of these as a kind of camouflage – for the mound of fresh rice noodles hiding underneath.

Even if you don’t fancy a trip to the North Shore, fret not: Taste of Shunde operates a secondary location in the south-eastern suburb of Hurstville.

Xi Xiang Feng, Beverly Hills

Regardless of where you are in the world, aficionados of family-style Cantonese dining know to look out for certain things. Many will be apparent right after you set foot inside Xi Xiang Feng. Simple and outwardly unassuming, it jostles for position with many of the nearby seafood restaurants in Beverly Hills.

Looking around, there’s no interior design aspect to speak of. The live seafood specials are scrawled, in sweeping traces of calligraphy, on whiteboards. The ordering process is rapid-fire: a staccato of Cantonese, Mandarin, and occasionally, English.

It’s worth pointing out how little these inconveniences matter once dishes begin hitting your table. Beyond the crispy skinned pigeon – a dish that every foodie and their dog seems to preorder – there’s a plethora of seafood worth tucking into. Remember: there are no wrong answers, though jumbo oysters (steamed in a shock of ginger and scallion threads) are always welcome.

Sun Ming, Hurstville

Yet another inclusion on our list with an intensely specific remit, Sun Ming is an ode to that most emblematic of Hong Kong’s culinary institutions – the cha chaan teng (“tea restaurant”).

A wonderfully wacky hodgepodge of Chinese and pan-European influences, the cha chaan teng style of cooking consists in various snacks, soups, and small stir-fries. Most of these recipes are the result of Hong Kong’s status as a British colony throughout the 19th century. Usually, cha chaan teng food is consumed with a range of hot/cold beverages (the archetypal example being black tea, enriched with evaporated milk).

At Sun Ming, owner David Chan continues to champion the cha chaan teng classics previously cooked by his uncle and father. (The two also lend their respective names to the restaurant.) Since 1995, the restaurant has been a lynchpin for Canto expats in southern Sydney. Its fans are legion, including leading F&B personalities such as Adam Liaw.

Open daily until 10 PM, this is a great casual restaurant to visit whether you’re with a group or flying solo. That gives you three ways to experience Sun Ming. You could start your day with a spam and egg sandwich, before doubling back for a quick lunch of rice and stir-fried protein. At dinner time, opt for bigger dishes such as a whole salt & pepper flounder or sizzling silken tofu.

As for the legendary baked pork chop rice? Well, that’s delicious at any time of day.

Shanghainese Cuisine

New Shanghai, Ashfield

Chinese restaurants Sydney

Bluntly speaking, I could probably write a separate list covering all the best Shanghainese (and Shanghai-adjacent) restaurants in Sydney. Never say never, right?

For the moment though, it’s challenging to think of somewhere better suited to “starter pack” duty than New Shanghai. Along with a handful of other establishments with roots in the Shanghainese enclave of Ashfield, this franchise has gone onto nationwide popularity.

Despite the 10+ shopfronts in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane; we remain big fans of the Ashfield location. It’s right next to New Shanghai’s deli-esque “Workshop” concept: delivering homey food in a setting inspired by traditional Shanghainese townhouses.

At New Shanghai — as at most restaurants founded by Shanghainese OGs — the dishes borrow from the canons of Su and Zhe cookery. (The latter refers to the food of neighbouring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces). This translates to a multitude of dishes that are rich and sweet; oftentimes made with a braising technique known as hong shao (“red cooking”).

Of course, in parallel to dishes of whole sweet & sour fish or “lion’s head” meatballs, New Shanghai’s calling card is its dim sum and dumplings. The famed xiao long bao, particularly the version with crab meat, is as good as it was at this chain’s inception.

Order a steamer of these, some spring onion pancakes, and you’ll have the makings of a princely solo lunch.

257 Home Kitchen, Eastwood

A Burwood institution well-known to Shanghainese food obsessives in the Inner West, 257 is (in many ways) the antithesis of New Shanghai. It’s not part of a franchise; has a minimal social media footprint; and tends to cater to groups of esteemed elderly relatives, rather than the usual influencer derby.

Those details all click into place once you parse 257’s menu. To be sure: the usual assortment of sheng jian (“raw-fried”) buns and dumplings make an appearance. Yet, there are morsels to order – and indeed, preorder – that may prove surprising. (That is, unless you happen to be a devoted student of home-style Shanghainese food.)

For example: depending on the season, diners can enjoy a plateful of crisp winter bamboo shoots (flash-fried and then coated in a gloss of soy and rock sugar). Or how about the signature “Home Kitchen” fish head soup? Gently simmered until rich and milky, loaded with an accoutrement of tofu and mung bean noodles.

Well worth considering if you’re organising dinner for a big crowd. It certainly helps that the owner (true to form) is a bit of an oenophile — charging a modest sum for guests who wish to BYO.

Chinese Islamic Cuisine

1915 Lanzhou Beef Noodles, Burwood

The sole emissary in our list of Northwestern China’s Islamic culinary tradition, the 1915 brand actually consists of four restaurants across the city and suburbs of Sydney. For our money, the Burwood branch gets top billing: an airy, red brick dining room located on the lower part of the suburb’s former general post office.

As for what to order: the clue’s in the name. Attributed to Islamic Chinese communities going back to the 16th century, Lanzhou beef noodles are a whole different ballgame to Cantonese or Shanghainese soups.

For starters, the base consists of a consommé cooked using Halal beef. This is then enriched with radish, chopped coriander, fiery red chilli oil (1915 makes theirs in-house) and chewy hand-pulled noodles.

In much the same way that diners can at any serious ramen joint, 1915 also encourages you to play around with the fine print of your order. For instance: noodle thickness is customisable, as is the precise fieriness of chilli oil.

Taiwanese Cuisine

Hungry Paulie, Eastwood

Chinese restaurants Sydney

Originally a market stall run by second-generation restaurateur Arthur Chu, today Hungry Paulie’s has expanded into a multi-location business across Sydney. Related to the same family behind Mother Chu’s Gourmet, Hungry Paulie’s celebrates the distinctive and uniquely formed culture of Taiwanese snack food.

As such, the menu draws on an inimitable union of native, Japanese, and Hokkien culinary influences. There’s an oyster omelette thickened with tapioca starch, or the consummate Taiwanese beef noodle soup — delicious at any time of day, in any setting.

For a crash course in Taiwanese breakfast, start with one of the restaurant’s signature shao bing. These unleavened, sesame flatbreads are usually eaten in Taiwan with a large bowl of soy milk. The latter doubles as a kind of dipping condiment; lending a sweet, nutty flavour to whatever particular shao bing filling you’ve chosen.

The original branch is still located in the northern suburb of Eastwood. Though Hungry Paulie’s has since opened up in Mascot and World Square.

Beijing Cuisine

TBC by Grape Garden, Potts Point

As its acronymic name suggests, “TBC” is the sequel to the original (and much-revered) Grape Garden restaurant that stood as a pillar of Chatswood’s Lemon Grove food court for almost 25 years.

Now, relocated to the much more downtown locale of Potts Point, this neighbourhood Chinese eatery – still helmed by the family unit of Gao Lun, Jie Zhang, and their son Ecca – continues to champion the cause of “true Beijing cuisine”. Seating is a mixture of indoor/outdoor tables; and BYO is encouraged.

In the consummate Northern Chinese fashion, that means a hearty focus on dumplings. Specifically, the water-cooked (“shui jiao“) variety.

Pork and chives are a certified banger; as are the lamb and zucchini. For diners searching for the fast track to umami town, we’d also point you in the direction of the san xian. Made with a filling of both fish and foal, they’re a hell of a thing to eat alongside a crisp lager or glass of rosé.

Australian Chinese Cuisine

Spice Temple, Sydney CBD

Chinese restaurants Sydney

While it’s not technically possible to ascribe the character of a fully Sichuanese restaurant to Spice Temple, the Neil Perry-founded bolthole does a commendable – and stylish – job of acquainting Aussie diners with the cuisine of “China’s far-flung regions”.

Now overseen by Hunter Street Hospitality (of Rockpool Bar & Grill fame), it’s best to think of Spice Temple as a kind of Hadron Collider, filled with the delicious particle matter of Sichuan, Yunnan, Hunan cooking and beyond.

As such, seafood and meat dishes prepared using the shui zhu technique (“water boiling”) are a common refrain; and there is a predilection toward garnishes of vibrant oil and whole chilli which reflect Spice Temple’s dramatic, somewhat steamy interiors. Zhang Yimou, eat your heart out.

Lucky Kwong, Eveleigh

Chinese restaurants Sydney

A relatively new addition to Sydney’s cavalcade of Asian eateries, Lucky Kwong was opened in 2021 by Kylie Kwong – the First Lady (at least in this writer’s mind) of modern Chinese Australian cookery.

Citing a desire to offer her customers “true nourishment” — a mantra Kwong has held publicly for over 10 years — Lucky Kwong is a modestly appointed daytime spot open throughout the week.

Not for nothing: it’s probably also the tastiest F&B outlet in the entire South Eveleigh precinct. There’s something of the totemic neighbourhood canteen about the place, with diners chowing down on simple (yet terrifically satisfying) Canto-Aussie dishes that speak to Kwong’s multi-decade voyage of culinary introspection.

Few lunchtime morsels are as viscerally pleasurable as a fried egg, dabbled with XO and shallots. (To this, the addition of a bowl of rice is non-negotiable.) Among hungry parties, a few plates of the spanner crab dumplings are a great way to kick off proceedings.

Better still, this is that rarest of gems: a buzzy Sydney restaurant that only takes walk-ins. Come early, come often.

Mr. Wong, Sydney CBD

Chinese restaurants Sydney

Widely regarded, next to Mimi’s, as the buzziest restaurant in the Merivale portfolio, Mr. Wong is nevertheless its own distinctive breed of party animal.

By its own admission, the venue does “Cantonese-style” cuisine in an exceedingly extra way. It is a riot of size and flavour; flung across a two-level space off Bridge Lane, formerly occupied by a nightclub.

Open 7 days a week – par for the course in the surrounding Ivy Precinct — it’s a great staging ground come Friday night from which to launch into clubland or explore the CBD’s many drinking dens. Before all that though: sustenance.

The menu has been developed chiefly by Dan Hong, Executive Chef here and at Potts Point stalwart, Ms. G’s. Expect enjoyable twists on nebulous favourites of the overseas Chinese community. The char siu toothfish, Mr. Wong’s answer to the infamous Nobu miso cod, is especially wild. A separate yum cha menu is served at lunchtime.

Did you find this list helpful? Check out some of our other Sydney dining guides.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best Cantonese restaurants in Sydney?

For our money, some of our favourite Cantonese restaurants in Sydney include XOPP by Golden Century, Taste of Shunde, and Royal Pavilion.

Which Chinese restaurant in Sydney offers the best wine list?

Through its connection to the wider Merivale universe, Mr. Wong offers a range of premium red, white, and sparkling wines. Many of these are available by Coravin.

XOPP has previously also been recognised by Wine Spectator for championing iconic local producers, such as Tyrrell’s and Henschke.

Are there any Chinese restaurants that didn't make the cut worth visiting?

Unsurprisingly, yes. So many honourable mentions.

In no particular order, these include: Chatswood BBQ Kitchen; Zilver; The Eight; A Bowl Of Noodles; Nanjing Dumpling; Dumpling & Noodle House; and Eaton Restaurant.

What is the best yum cha restaurant in Sydney?

Again, reasonable minds differ, but Golden Sands, Royal Palace Seafood, East Phoenix, and Golden Globe all get our stamp of approval.

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Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


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