Adelaide Yum Cha Guide
Where to eat yum cha in Adelaide.
We think that we’re super lucky to live here in Australia with tons of food from all over the world! Yum cha is the Cantonese version of brunch and literally translates to “drink tea” as it involves eating scrumptious snack foods called dim sum (such as dumplings) and accompanied by hot Chinese tea.
If you’ve never been to yum cha before here’s a rundown of what to expect:
- Yum cha is usually done in groups so you can order a bunch of small dishes and share them around the table having one or two of each item (kind of like tapas)
- There are usually 2 ways restaurants will allow you to order – you can check what you would like off a paper menu or they will wheel around the food on trolleys and offer dishes to you
- Usually yum cha is consumed with hot tea but you can order other drinks too!
- Dim sum dishes often come in bamboo steamers but some also come on plates
- The waiter will mark what you order on a piece of paper which you will need at the end when you pay so they can tally up what you ate
- If you would like a tea refill make sure to flip open the lid
Don’t forget to book in advance – yum cha restaurants generally have two or three sittings and are super busy on the weekends.
If you’ve never had yum cha before some traditional dishes we recommend are:
- Siu mai (dim sims)
- Har gow (crystal prawn dumplings)
- Char siu bao (BBQ pork bun)
- Salt and pepper squid
- Cheong fun (rice noodle rolls)
- Custard Egg tarts dessert
- Shallot Pancakes
- Xiao long bao (soup dumplings)
- Lo bok go (radish cake)
- Mango pudding dessert
- Coconut jelly dessert
- Chicken feet (if you’re brave!!)
Here in Adelaide, we have a bunch of places that serve yum cha so at Play & Go we’ve compiled a list of our favourites (in no particular order):
Ding Hao | Moving from Gouger Street to Wright Street, Adelaide
36 Wright Street, Adelaide
Ding Hao is an old favourite and is always bustling with yum cha lovers on the weekends. The maitre d is always accommodating to families – we’ve managed to eat there when I was breastfeeding my newborns many moons ago with a bassinet to squeeze in, to always managing to fit my father’s wheelchair. If there’s a favourite dish you haven’t seen come around on the trolleys, just be sure to order it directly. My kids love the Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork Buns) and the Xiao Long Bao here. So much that we even called our puppy ‘Bao’.
Ding Hao is an institution on Gouger Street and has been there for as long as we can remember. Due to the redevelopment of the Central Market precinct they will close their doors at this location after 15 June 2022. They will be moving to 36 Wright Street, not too far away, and will re-open there in late July 2022.
Little Canton Chinese Restaurant | Henley Beach
173 Henley Beach Rd, Mile End
A popular yum cha option for this side of town.
Star House Chinese Restaurant | Gouger St, Adelaide
1/31-39 Gouger St, Adelaide
Star House is a favourite for many Chinese families and there’s a reason for that. They are consistent with good yum cha and a lovely ambience. Beware, you may have to line up for this one on the weekend if you don’t have a booking as it’s pretty popular!
Eastern Garden | The Parade, Norwood
185 The Parade, Norwood
This is a large restaurant servicing the Eastern suburbs with yum cha.
T-Chow Chinese Restaurant | Moonta St, Adelaide
68 Moonta St, Adelaide
A popular yum cha spot right in the middle of Chinatown.
Zenhouse Tea Corner (Vegan Yum Cha) | Bent St, Adelaide
17-19 Bent St, Adelaide
If you’re looking to try yum cha but are vegan or vegetarian, Zenhouse Tea Corner is a great option. They have a variety of tea to try along with a selection of traditional dim sum dishes turned vegan or vegetarian. The dumplings and pork buns taste pretty close to the real thing! They also have a bunch of other non-yum cha vegan/vegetarian dishes on offer.
Citi Zen Restuarant | King William St, Adelaide
401 King William St, Adelaide
Citi Zen offer an elegant setting for yum cha – unusually situated inside the building of Irish pub, The Brecknock. The decor for Citi Zen is definitely not Irish though, it’s more a step into a high class Hong Hong restaurant with beautiful ornamental Chinese decorations and even an under the floor fish tank which kids love to peer down into. They have private rooms too for special occasions.
Seng Kee Yum Cha | Central Market Food Court
Market Plaza Food Court, Central Market, Grote St, Adelaide
The Seng Kee Yum Cha stall at The Market Plaza Food Court has always been our go-to for a quick yum cha lunch. The food court is conveniently located between the atrium next to the Adelaide Central Market, and Moonta Place. It’s great for families, as you can pop in without a booking; you get to eat straight away (without the wait at a restaurant); the food court is lively and there’s no tablecloths for young ones to pull; plus the yum cha here is fab!
Empress Restaurant | Toorak Gardens
351 Greenhill Rd, Toorak Gardens
A local favourite Chinese restaurant on Greenhill Road. They serve yum cha daily for lunch. Yum cha offerings are prepared freshly onsite everyday and selections are enhanced on weekends with specially prepared off-the-menu items.
Shanghai Teahouse | Burnside Village
8 Sydney St, Glenside (inside Burnside Village)
Shanghai Teahouse is unique in that it serves Shanghai-style dim sum rather than traditional Cantonese. There is a huge list of different teas to try and you can enjoy dishes like Xiao Long Bao and Shallot Pancake along with other familiar yum cha dishes.
Most of the yum cha restaurants only serve yum cha on the weekends for brunch and lunch. In the evenings, and during the week, they serve traditional Chinese food with menus to order from.
If you have a favourite yum cha place which isn’t on our list, let us know by emailing us at email@example.com
As per all our Play & Go reviews, this is not a sponsored post and our reviews are done completely independently. All photos are by Play & Go unless stated otherwise.
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
Image Source: Play & Go Adelaide
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