Kippax in West Belconnen is a busy Canberra regional shopping centre that is getting busier every day. In recent years, a number of apartment buildings have added ‘density’, the suburb of Macgregor has expanded, and Woollies and the more recent Aldi are pretty busy.
There is an interesting selection of independent shops and restaurants and Kippax is also the location of Quan’s Kitchen where I regularly catch up with local friends.
It is located down the hill from Kippax Fair, and like many Canberra restaurants, faces a car park. But it has a sunny aspect, the street is lined with trees and it is popular with the locals. Quan’s serves yum cha at lunchtime: traditional yum cha involves drinking tea and eating dim sum and it is a great way for a group of people to get together while sharing yummy steamed dumplings, crunchy shallot cakes, tender duck pancakes, and my all time favorite, radish cake in XO sauce with sliced chilies.
Quan’s also has all the other traditional yum cha dishes, including steamed Har Gao (prawn dumplings), the ever popular Sui Mai (prawn and pork dumplings), those wonderful dishes that are an acquired taste such as Chicken Feet, Tripe and Congee, as well as always perfectly prepared Wonton, Fried Chicken Wings and Fried Squid Tentacles.
Kippax and Quan’s might seem a long way to go for chili sauce, but Quan’s chili sauce is homemade and it is very good. It is difficult to find restaurants with trolley service, but ordering from a menu works well in a smaller restaurant like Quan’s. The full a la carte menu is also available for diners.
On a recent visit, I got chatting with some diners at the next table. The had recently arrived from Singapore and knew the chef personally. They had ordered something my table hadn’t tried before and they insisted we try it – crispy prawn rice noodles. It was very good and is now part of our yum cha repertoire. It would be great if Quan’s included egg tarts on the menu, but if we ever feel the need for a sugar hit, the Deep-Fried Sesame Balls (filled with red beans) are perfect as they aren’t too sweet.
Quan’s mid-week can be quiet, but I am always impressed by the number of Chinese-Australian diners, especially family groups. Usually, they arrive early and leave early, but the restaurant welcomes all-comers, even for a late lunch.
I no longer live nearby, but am a regular shopper at Kippax, as I love the convenience and the cafes. These include the warm Coffee Club inside Kippax Fair, and located almost next door to Quan’s is the colorful, friendly Cafe Okrich which is a great place to go for coffee after lunch
This isn’t the best yum cha I have ever had, but it is consistently good. Now we have worked our way around the menu and occasionally order from the main menu, we are happy regulars. We still reminisce about the New Shanghai in Dickson (now replaced by The Scholar) which was famous for its weekend queues, and the always busy and slightly chaotic Great Wall of China on Marcus Clarke Street, but sadly they are long gone.
Quan’s Kitchen is located at 66 Hardwick Crescent, Kippax. There is always free 2-hour parking available across the road. Dishes range from small $4.80, medium $5.80 and large $6.80 up to extra special at $10.80. Licenced and BYO wine.
Other popular Canberra yum cha restaurants include:
- Tang Dynasty, Kingston Foreshore
- Akiba, a popular Civic Asian fusion restaurant with yum cha trolleys on the weekend
- Ginseng @ The Hellenic Club
- The Scholar, Dickson
- Prince Palace, Emu Bank, Belconnen Town Centre – currently undergoing renovations and in the past has offered a set price menu and trolley service
Please share your favourite yum cha dishes and any other Canberra yum cha restaurants in the comments section below.
All photos by Maryann Mussared