If you’re feeling adventurous today with chicken feet on the agenda, or simply want some good old dim sum instead of that PB and J sandwich you have had every day for the last ten years, this is the guide to read. Hailing from Hong Kong, the birth place of Yum Cha, I’ve got dim sum running through my veins and I would like to say I’ve become a bit of an expert in the Auckland Yum Cha scene, having been dragged to many a Yum Cha restaurant by my parents every weekend for the last 20 years. This week, I tip you off on my top 5 Yum Cha locations.
1) Sun World – Newmarket
Since I was a toddler, my very Hong Kong parents have dragged me here at least 3 times a week. It’s been around for a long, long time, and even now, the quality hasn’t changed. They serve a wide variety of traditional yum cha dishes along with new exciting plates that no other place serves. Make sure to get in early or late as what seems like the whole of Newmarket flocks here at lunch hour.
2) Hakka Hut – Albany
The quality of dim sum in most Yum Cha locations is temperamental, sometimes one dish is steamed to perfection, the next bland and overcooked. But not at Hakka Hut, which prides itself on consistent quality. Though not a wide range to pick from, I can guarantee that every prawn dumpling you bite into will be succulent!
3) Grand Park Restaurant - Greenlane
Nestled in Alexandra Park Racecourse, this place is the Hilton of the yum cha scene. It’s where you want to go if youre looking for Yum Cha in a slightly more luxurious setting without being cramped, yelled at by the little old ladies pushing carts around, or getting hot tea spilt on you. Food is fresh out the kitchen, though as an Asian, I feel the cuisine is slightly catered towards Kiwi palettes rather than being completely authentic.
4) Imperial Palace – Panmure
In contrast to Grand Park, Imperial Palace is not nestled in a prime real estate location, nor does it feel luxurious. But according to my dad, the food here really took him back to when he was growing up in Hong Kong. If you really want the authentic dim sum experience, not afraid of deep fried duck tongues or their braised feet wrapped in bean curd, make sure you pay this location,“next to the big McDonalds, opposite Moyes Panmure”, a visit.
5) Jade Terrace – Botany Downs
I am being a little biased here, there’s one extremely good dish in this restaurant that brought me to tears so I think it deserves to be on the list. If you’re into egg tarts this place makes it better than anywhere in Macau- the egg tart capital. The pastry is light buttery and flaky and filled with the right consistency of custard, so good that I ate 6 in one go. Everything else on the menu isn’t bad, just average. Go there for the egg tart.
You don’t have to be Bear Grylls to eat stewed cow innards, and if you follow this guide, you’re on the road to become the next Yum Cha connoisseur. And for the less adventurous amongst us, the beauty of Yum Cha is the variety. You can easily find a plate of deep fried golden tofu or a stuffed eggplant to munch on contently. Give these five places a try; you sure as hell wont regret it.
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