The Best Chinese Restaurants in Canberra

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Pop Chinese restaurant Natural 9 at Casino Canberra serves up creative Chinese food with a modern Australian twist.

Gone are the days when “going for a Chinese” meant a standard repertoire of prawn toast and spring rolls followed by sweet and sour pork and a special fried rice (add a lemon chicken if particularly peckish).

Aussie lovers of Chinese cuisine have woken up to the fact that this vast country of coastline, desert, mountains, lakes and rivers offers a diversity and richness of flavours well beyond those much-loved Cantonese staples.

Today, any Australian city worth its salt and pepper tofu can trace a cultural, geographical and historical map of China through the plethora of regional Chinese restaurants that have rightly taken their place on the culinary landscape.

Each has its own distinct flavour, largely based on the produce available in the region, ethnic background of those who live there, climate, cooking techniques and traditions that have been passed down through the centuries.

Eight culinary styles – Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan and Zhejiang – make up China’s remarkable culinary culture, the geographic location of each also informing the flavours it is famous for.

It’s no surprise that the cuisines emanating from eastern China (including Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian), which is flanked by a lengthy coastline, should be rich in seafood and feature light and fresh tastes.

The incendiary chilli, garlic and Szechuan pepper combos found in Szechuan and Hunan food, accompanied by preserved, pickled and salted condiments, meanwhile, are informed by their location deep in the central provinces of China.

In the north, the cuisine is influenced by nearby Shandong and Inner Mongolia, revealing salty yet simple flavours, while the food of the capital, Beijing, also takes its cues from the imperial court cuisine prepared for Chinese royalty, including that favourite of Asian aristocracy and ravenous Aussies alike, Peking duck.

Chinese food, whatever its provenance, is one of the most convivial of cuisines. A table filled with share plates of rice and noodles, delicately braised or seared vegetables, steamed fish, sizzling meats and stir-fries, plus a soup or two, means there will always be something to suit even the most pernickety of diners.

Those who prefer to go it alone or with an equally hungry pal can while away a couple of hours eyeing the trolleys of bamboo steamers as they meander around one of Canberra’s many impressive yum cha restaurants; in our book one of the best ways to spend a weekend morning (apart from nipping into a Chinese teahouse in Dickson to eat your bodyweight in barbecue pork and roast duck on rice).

Whether you fancy a plate of xiao long bao soup dumplings from Shanghai, a spicy Szechuan ma po tofu or a cha siu pork rice noodle roll from Guangzhou, there’s no shortage of options in the nation’s capital.

The best Chinese restaurants in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

106 Hotpot

106 Hotpot

106 Hotpot is a fun way to dine on delicious and reasonably priced Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine. This self-service, food-train style eatery – unique in the Canberra market – specialises in a wide range of reasonably priced and filling hot pots, as well as delicious soups, gorgeous teas, yoghurt drinks and more.

Located on Alinga Street in the Sydney Building, 106 Hotpot CBD lets customers create their own meals. Select ingredients – meats, seafood, hotpot balls, offal, veggies and noodles, tofu– and cook everything up in a soup broth, each type packed full of flavour. Cooking takes just minutes. If customers prefer, 106 Hotpot will do the cooking.

One option, for quick delivery, is to order through the Easi food delivery app.

Fan Ting Anding wrote on Facebook, “Nice place to try authentic Chinese hotpot. Cordial staff and reasonable prices. Would definitely recommend my friends to visit this place.”

Phone: 02 6188 7399
106 Alinga St
Canberra ACT 2601
Natural Nine

Natural Nine

What do you get when you combine creative cuisine, quality service and a fun atmosphere? The answer is award-winning pop Chinese restaurant Natural Nine, winner of the Best Chinese Restaurant Award at the Restaurant and Catering 2019 Awards for Excellence.

Tucked away in Casino Canberra (it’s an 18+ venue), Natural Nine’s team tailors menus with regional Chinese flavours at their heart, infused with an Aussie twist. Think sichuan noodles topped with crunchy ants (it’s listed on the menu as ‘tyrant ants climbing trees’), duck and broccoli fried rice with chicken floss, and white chocolate chilli pudding with vanilla ice cream and milk crumb for dessert.

Diner Shel shared her experience at Natural Nine on Google Reviews: “The restaurant is inside the casino with very nice comfortable seating. We love every dish we had and the service was great too! The speed of serving is also great! Highly recommend!”

Open 7 days, Natural Nine offers a daily Pop Yum Cha lunch menu from 12pm – 3pm and is open for dinner from 5.30pm to 10pm.

Inside Casino Canberra, 21 Binara Street
Canberra ACT 2601
Sichuan Chinese Restaurant

Sichuan Chinese Restaurant

Fans of spicy flavours and chilli heat will want to experience the Sichuan Chinese Restaurant on Emu Bank in Belconnen, run by Eddie Zhao who grew up in Chengdu.

The menu features chef’s specials like fragrant special fish drizzled with hot chilli oil, a salt and pepper pork chop, pork belly infused with lemony Sichuan pepper (that makes taste buds tingle), braised meatballs, special sweet duck with steam buns, hot and sour soups and many other delicious options that celebrate the cuisine from this part of China.

Vegetarian dishes are also available, as is yum cha. Some dishes are created with an Australian twist. Desserts include oriental pearls in liquor syrup. Eddie says dishes can be adjusted to meet any dietary requires.

For home delivery, order through the Easi food delivery app.

As Vander Leal wrote on Google, “Awesome Chinese food. You can’t go wrong.”

Phone: 02 6188 7088
12/114 Emu Bank
Belconnen ACT 2617

CBD Dumpling House

If you love dumplings, add Bunda Street’s CBD Dumpling House to your list of must-try Chinese restaurants in Canberra. The decor isn’t fancy, but the service is fast (you can even watch the chefs make dumplings at lightning-fast speed in the kitchen) and the food is delicious.

In addition to dumplings, the restaurant also serves dishes ranging from seafood and noodles to rice dishes.

Diner Meghan shared her experience at CBD Dumpling House in a website testimonial: “Really good!!! They had vegan options, the food came out really fast even though the place was PACKED. We got a table immediately even though it was super busy and there are 5 of us. Would recommend!”

Happy's Chinese Restaurant

Happy’s Chinese Restaurant in Civic has been owned by three generations of the same family since 1962. Serving up traditional Cantonese cuisine, Happy’s offers banquet and a la carte dining options in a simple, no-fuss environment.

Diner Doug shared his experience at Happy’s on Google Reviews: “This is a old favourite, been operating 50+ years, now by the grandson. Always consistent and a winner. A firm favourite for locals and visitors alike. All the usual Chinese favourites and will accommodate dietary requirements. BYO and also licensed with good selection of well priced drinks.”

If you’d prefer to eat from home, check out our article on the best food delivery services in Canberra. Or, if you’re looking for another cuisine, check out our article on the best indian restaurants in Canberra.

Your experience with Chinese restaurants in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the Chinese restaurants listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Chinese food meet my dietary requirements?
Most likely, yes – but it depends. There are numerous Chinese dishes that are vegetarian but use egg – take out the egg, and it’s vegan. If you’re gluten free, you’re in luck: Chinese dishes rarely use gluten-based ingredients like flour in their cooking, and noodles are usually rice or egg-based.
Is Chinese food healthy?
This depends entirely on what you order. Many Chinese dishes do use some oil in their cooking, but due to the general lack of gluten or dairy, and how many dishes there are that use lots of vegetables in their cooking, Chinese food can actually be very good for you.
How spicy is Chinese food?
Like any food, Chinese dishes can be adjusted if you prefer milder flavours. The intense flavour from Chinese food comes from a complex and delicious combination of seasonings and sauces, so don’t feel like you’re necessarily missing out on flavour if you don’t like spice.
Is Chinese food expensive?
Chinese food is probably one of the most affordable options for take away, largely due to the fact that the primary ingredients in Chinese cuisine are readily available and affordable for restaurants to stock. That isn’t to say that all Chinese food is cheap, though – depending on where you go and the prestige of the restaurant and its chefs, high quality Chinese food might not be as affordable. Whatever the price point, it’s always delicious.
Is Chinese food easy to cook at home?
Yes. Many Chinese recipes rely on lots of ingredients, but usually the same ones – think soy sauce, egg, rice or noodles, a protein of some kind (such as chicken or pork), and some vegetables – and cooked on a very high heat for a very short time. This makes Chinese cuisine incredibly easy to make at home.

What's Your Opinion?


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45 Responses to The Best Chinese Restaurants in Canberra
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rubaiyat rubaiyat 7:53 pm 29 Aug 15

John Moulis said :

Ginseng at the Hellenic Club is really good.

Ginseng in the Hellenic Club was so over the top salty the last couple of times I tried them (in case once was just that night) that I gave up on them.

Off to try Tang Dynasty tomorrow for the girlfriend-in-law’s birthday. Let you know how it goes. 🙂

astrojax astrojax 3:11 am 29 Aug 15

and an un-vote for jimmy’s – tried it on recommendations from this thread but was singularly unimpressed. bland, basically. tak kee would have been the better option, as usual…

beckyandboo beckyandboo 2:01 pm 28 Aug 15

Red Chilli on Alinga St: a menu of many authentic Sichuan dishes. It’s always full of Chinese people of an evening.

CBD Dumpling House/Dickson Dumpling House also have good handmade noodles and hot pot options.

Crazed_Loner Crazed_Loner 1:11 am 28 Aug 15

canberradogwalks said :

– China Plate in Kingston for great service and reasonable prices. Favourite dishes are the whole sole Hong Kong style and the fried eggplant.
– Sammy’s and Timmy’s in Civic and Manuka. Favourite dish is the Shantung chicken.

I was crestfallen when China Plate closed in Civic, after experiencing a particularly memorable meal there, but overjoyed when I discovered they’d re-opened in Kingston. I can vouch for the fried eggplant chips and also the wasabi beef. Not a big menu but beautifully cooked.
Also love Sammy’s Shantung Chicken – hard for me to go past and the standard by which I judge all others, and none has equalled it so far.
Haven’t been to the reopened Tang Dynasty, a favourite in a previous lifetime, but I crave their Mermaid’s Tresses if they’re anything like they were previously.

frankie frankie 8:48 pm 27 Aug 15

Mr_Micawber said :

It’s hard to go past the Civic Dumpling House. It’s fast, tasty and relatively cheap. All its dishes would pass muster in Hong Kong.

+1. Nice atmosphere *and* good food. See, people? It is possible.

The servings are also large. My partner and I just order a main and a side, and that usually fills us up.

Their pumpkin and prawn dumplings are the best in the universe, 11/10!

gooterz gooterz 8:46 pm 27 Aug 15

I tend to like a mix, each has their own good dishes.

Happy’s / Sammy’s are always a hit for groups.
Didn’t mind nobel palace before they changed. Tried to get take away from there but its buffet.

As for my regular place I wont tell you as I don’t want them to get busy and put their prices up.

The one at ANU is pretty good too.

reiant reiant 8:22 pm 27 Aug 15

Our dumpling go to is Spicy Ginger, they are made and cooked traditionally. Their runner beans are amazing for such a simple dish…always order more then one bowl to go with our dumplings.

We love our chilli beef, and we always get the best from Fortune Cookie in Melba. Great service, well-priced, never pretentious like other resturants in the city and the food is always wonderful.

creative_canberran creative_canberran 6:34 pm 27 Aug 15

MonarchRepublic said :

creative_canberran said :

Talkative said :

Oriental Terrace at Erindale has nice Chinese food.

Stopped going there years ago after the kids took over from the parents.

They were prosecuted under the Food Act, their name was recently removed from the ACT register after the normal name and shame period http://www.health.act.gov.au/public-information/businesses/food-safety-regulation/register-food-offences

Mysteryman said :

If you want something closer to authentic, Spicy Ginger near UniLodge used to be the place to go. They were the closest thing to authentic Chinese food I’ve had since returning from China. I haven’t been there in a few years though, so they may have changed.

Click the link above and you’ll find they were prosecuted for 4 offences under the Food Act dating back to 2011. Was reported a number of times in the Canberra Times, pics and all.

Also reported in the Canberra Times was the plight of the new owner, who was struggling with the stigma of the prosecution, despite having done major upgrades since purchasing is. So don’t be so quick to judge.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/new-cafe-owners-struggling-to-recover-from-stigma-of-court-case-20141210-1242wh.html

Do the crime, do the time. They were found guilty by a court of law.

jgsma jgsma 5:33 pm 27 Aug 15

Happys – downstairs in Garema Place; Jimmy’s at Dickson are my choices.

Starrie Starrie 5:08 pm 27 Aug 15

I agree with Tak Kee in Dickson for best BBQ hands down.

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 2:59 pm 27 Aug 15

Sammy’s is still my overall choice. Noisy but fast service. Food consistently good.

Best BBQ is at Tak Kee is still at Dickson. No ambiance just great food.

Looks like we will have to check out Bambusa.

Tara490 Tara490 2:48 pm 27 Aug 15

Another vote for Bambusa 🙂 i’m not a massive Chinese fan but could happily eat at Bambusa weekly.

oh_ oh_ 2:29 pm 27 Aug 15

Prince’s Palace on Belconnen lake does a good yum cha of a weekend, although I havent been there for a while. Ruby in Dickson seems to be where Chinese people go, (think jellyfish salad) although it might be a bit too authentic for most Australian palates. Sammys is a good (if you can get past the hurry along service). Kingsland in Dickson (if its still open) did interesting mock meat dishes, although think it got a food safety breach as the owner didn’t like to kill cockroaches for religious reasons. Have fun!

canberradogwalks canberradogwalks 2:26 pm 27 Aug 15

– China Plate in Kingston for great service and reasonable prices. Favourite dishes are the whole sole Hong Kong style and the fried eggplant.
– Sammy’s and Timmy’s in Civic and Manuka. Favourite dish is the Shantung chicken.

mags_rowlands mags_rowlands 2:24 pm 27 Aug 15

If you want really authentic Chinese food, you got to go to Diamond Restaurant in Belconnen (behind Good Guys). Simon the owner who loves to satisfy his customers by providing the dishes you won’t see in other Chinese Restaurant. Ask for recommendation since they have two manu (one is common dishes you can see in other Chinese Restaurants; the other is only in Chinese-best dishes within it; most Chinese include me go for that particular menu.) Price is really reasonable. Dishes is greater quantity than others as well. How do you choose authentic Chinese food? Go to where Chinese go.

ged_1 ged_1 2:22 pm 27 Aug 15

White Lotus in Fyshwick – great service, nice friendly staff and great food

Mr_Micawber Mr_Micawber 1:59 pm 27 Aug 15

It’s hard to go past the Civic Dumpling House. It’s fast, tasty and relatively cheap. All its dishes would pass muster in Hong Kong.

MonarchRepublic MonarchRepublic 1:58 pm 27 Aug 15

creative_canberran said :

Talkative said :

Oriental Terrace at Erindale has nice Chinese food.

Stopped going there years ago after the kids took over from the parents.

They were prosecuted under the Food Act, their name was recently removed from the ACT register after the normal name and shame period http://www.health.act.gov.au/public-information/businesses/food-safety-regulation/register-food-offences

Mysteryman said :

If you want something closer to authentic, Spicy Ginger near UniLodge used to be the place to go. They were the closest thing to authentic Chinese food I’ve had since returning from China. I haven’t been there in a few years though, so they may have changed.

Click the link above and you’ll find they were prosecuted for 4 offences under the Food Act dating back to 2011. Was reported a number of times in the Canberra Times, pics and all.

Also reported in the Canberra Times was the plight of the new owner, who was struggling with the stigma of the prosecution, despite having done major upgrades since purchasing is. So don’t be so quick to judge.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/new-cafe-owners-struggling-to-recover-from-stigma-of-court-case-20141210-1242wh.html

Evilomlap Evilomlap 1:32 pm 27 Aug 15

+1 for Kevin’s Place.

A close second is Jimmy’s at Dickson. They lose half a point for loading the satay beef with onion to reduce costs. Last time I went there it was easily more than half onion, and they skimped on the sauce…so yeah. Kevin’s Place gets my vote. And I’ll probably learn how to use the delete key someday, too!

astrojax astrojax 11:49 am 27 Aug 15

creative_canberran said :

Talkative said :

Oriental Terrace at Erindale has nice Chinese food.

Stopped going there years ago after the kids took over from the parents.

They were prosecuted under the Food Act, their name was recently removed from the ACT register after the normal name and shame period http://www.health.act.gov.au/public-information/businesses/food-safety-regulation/register-food-offences

Mysteryman said :

If you want something closer to authentic, Spicy Ginger near UniLodge used to be the place to go. They were the closest thing to authentic Chinese food I’ve had since returning from China. I haven’t been there in a few years though, so they may have changed.

Click the link above and you’ll find they were prosecuted for 4 offences under the Food Act dating back to 2011. Was reported a number of times in the Canberra Times, pics and all.

having been prosecuted under the food act is no barrier to a place continuing to offer delicious cuisine – for example, tak kee in dickson. prepared ducks in rear car park, apparently. probably what they do in china, and it’s also excellent there.

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