The best Yum Cha restaurants in Canberra

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Where are the best Yum Cha restaurants in Canberra? Photo: File.

Who doesn’t love Yum Cha? With a whole variety of delicious morsels of savoury – and sometimes sweet – goodness delivered right to your table, Yum Cha restaurants are some of the very best for intimate dinners and large gatherings alike. This Cantonese tradition of brunch, where the portions are small, delicious and seemingly never-ending, is an excellent way to catch up with friends and family and enjoy some seriously good food.

But not all Yum Cha restaurants are created equal, and we’ve scoured the web and consulted locals to put together this list of the best Yum Cha joints in Canberra, as well as a list of a few important things you should look for in a great Yum Cha restaurant, to help you plan your next outing.

Ready to get hungry? Great! Let’s get started right away.

What makes a great Yum Cha restaurant?

There are a few critical traits that all of the very best Yum Cha restaurants in Canberra share. And here they are:

  • A large variety of food. Variety is the spice of life – and the key to a fantastic Yum Cha restaurant. The best Yum Cha offerings provide something for everyone, regardless of the dietary requirements and personal tastes.
  • Delicious, every single time. If a Yum Cha restaurant is good, you’ll be back again and again. The best are consistent and always serve up the very finest food.
  • Excellent service. Just like at any restaurant, service is crucial. That means friendly and attentive staffs who are more than happy to help you get the most out of your dining experience.
  • Well priced. It’s hard to dine at a Yum Cha restaurant without wanting to try everything available. A mid-range price point will allow you to enjoy even more tastiness while ensuring larger gatherings and special occasions are a little less expensive.

The best Yum Cha 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 maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.

Ginseng Chinese

The multi-award winning Chinese restaurant at the Hellenic club offers a vast selection of Chinese cuisines, boasting professional and efficient service in a fantastic venue. Along with their regular lunch and dinner hours during the week, Ginseng also offers Yum Cha on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, with a menu featuring popular staples such as Shanghai-style pork dumplings, pork ribs with black bean sauce, and steamed BBQ pork buns.

As Google reviewer James Dannatt writes, Went for Yum Cha on a Saturday. (…) The food was incredible; we were eating within 2 minutes of sitting down and my only regret is not being able to eat more. (…) Will be going back again.”

CBD Dumpling House

The CBD Dumpling House is always packed out for a reason – the food is next-level good, and the location couldn’t be more convenient. This striking, glass-fronted restaurant serves up a delectable menu of dumplings and other Chinese dishes. The vibe is casual, and the staff are attentive – if it’s an all-round fantastic Yum Cha restaurant you’re looking for, stop here next time you’re in the city centre.

Google reviewer, Mia Pacey, left a positive review saying, "Awesome food, great service and big portions. Highly recommend for any occasion."

Dumpling Inn Restaurant

The Dumpling Inn has been serving Canberra with delicious Chinese food for over 20 years now, located in Jamison in a spacious venue perfect for large groups. Their Yum Cha lunches are available on Saturdays and Sundays, and feature an extensive menu of traditional Chinese dishes that are sure to please anyone and everyone.

Heather Patterson wrote the following Google review about her experience at Dumpling Inn Restaurant, “Been going here for years for the Sunday yum cha and it is always excellent. Great lively atmosphere and superb service and food. A Canberra gem.”

Yum Cha @ CBD

Since it first opened in May 2019, Yum Cha @ CBD has become a local favourite, adding a savoury flare to high tea options in the city centre. A family-run business steeped in tradition, the Yum Cha menu offers crowd favourites, such as crispy sesame prawn rolls and rice noodle rolls. They also serve authentic roast duck and BBQ pork, and live seafood, and Yum Cha is available everyday over lunch time.

As Facebook user Robyn Wilson writes in this review, “Had a great yum cha lunch and one of our party ordered from the menu. Food was excellent, service was also very attentive and friendly. Really impressed.”

If you would prefer to eat at 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 Yum Cha 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 Yum Cha restaurants listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Yum Cha?

Yum Cha is traditional Cantonese cuisine usually eaten at brunch time. Yum cha generally involves small portions of steamed, pan-fried, and deep-fried dim sum dishes served in bamboo steamers, which are designed to be eaten communally and washed down with hot tea.

Is Yum Cha expensive?

This depends entirely on how many plates you grab - think of it like a sushi train, where each individual dish has its own price, and are added onto your final bill as you grab them. Yum Cha, therefore, is only as expensive as you are hungry!

Is Dim Sum the same as Yum Cha?

Dim Sum is an umbrella term that refers to the range of small, bite-sized portions of Chinese food that is often served at restaurants that offer Yum Cha. Dim Sum dishes can be prepared in a variety of ways, from steamed, fried, or baked and are typically served on small plates or inside bamboo steamers.

How does Yum Cha work?

This can change from restaurant to restaurant, but mostly dishes will be wheeled around on trolleys by the waitstaff, and you just need to ask for what you want as it appears - each dish will be added to your bill. The only things you really need to order are hot drinks - and tea is an essential part of the Yum Cha experience!

Is Yum Cha healthy?

Many dim sum dishes are calorie dense, and high in fat and sodium, which could be contributors to increased risk of heart disease. If you're concerned about your health, avoid the pan-fried or particularly oily dishes to decrease your fat consumption.

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Lilxlizzie2111:16 pm 20 May 14

XY Dim Sim Dumpling house have reopened again. This time at the Italian Club. Granted they have been closed a couple of times at Croatian club due to various reasons and have made a bad name for themselves, but heard they’ve cleaned up their act and are aiming to head in a positive direction. The owner could’ve changed names but stuck to it. Still worth a try as it’s a set price for all you can eat.

Noble Palace has closed and is now called Top Taste Seafood Restaurant. Still offering yumcha though.

Scholar, Ginseng and Dumpling Inn offer up good yumcha

Prince Palace is ok too but below average

Can highly recommend the Yum Cha on Emu Bank in Belco. Good service, plenty of choices and inexpensive.

I’d second the Dumpling Inn suggestion. It’s not flash by any measure, but the food is good, and has a few more options than just the usual suspects.

Spicy Ginger near the ANU is the go!!! $20 all you can eat!!! Great pastry (chinese pastry) chef!!! Service is good, too busy if you don’t go early.

angrymonkey said :

steer clear of XY Dumpling House

‘XY dumpling’ conjures up a different sort of mental image from that usually associated with yum cha.

steer clear of XY Dumpling House

I really like Ginseng at the Hellenic Club.

The only one I’ve ever been to in Canberra is Noble Palace in Woden. Seemed pretty good in my opinion. I’m no Yum Master but it compared reasonably with the one at the Sydney Fish Markets.

The Dumpling Inn at Jamison. They are the same owners and chefs who used to be at the Kythera motel on northbourne (years ago) which were near impossible to get into without a booking well in advance.

We like Ginseng (I think it’s called) at the Helenic Club in Woden. Not the first place I would have thought to look for good yum cha, but every time we’ve been it’s been great.

geoffappleby2:20 pm 04 Jun 13

Ooh, can of worms! Everytime I look into this exact topic the end result is always a bunch of suggestions made, with some people loving the place, and some people hating the place. There will never agreement on questions like this 🙂

(Also, I have no contribution to make. I’ve only been to one, and it was ok, but I can’t compare to anything).

The Scholar in Dickson certainly has the biggest queues.

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