Best Restaurants In Chinatown Melbourne
Although Chinese food is one of the world’s oldest and most diverse, it is frequently oversimplified in Australia. Although Cantonese and Sichuan are the most well-known of China’s regional cuisines in Melbourne, they are only two of the “eight great cuisines.”
It’s unusual to lump the cuisines of the country’s regions together.
In This Article
Despite Australia’s long history of Chinese immigration (which dates back to the mid-nineteenth century), foods from China’s lesser-known cuisines have only recently begun to appear in Melbourne. And they’re still primarily concentrated in Chinese-community enclaves like Springvale and Box Hill.
There’s a spot in Melbourne, whether you’re searching for a substantial Middle-Eastern-inflected stew (typically served in China’s far west), a spicy Sichuan hotpot, or a basket of the finest xiao long bao in town.
Here are some of the favorite Asian restaurants in Melbourne’s Chinatown.
You shouldn’t anticipate much more than a scattering of cheap clothes shops and flashy phone covers in Melbourne’s older downtown retail arcades. Amid all this, there’s ShanDong MaMa, hidden away in a Chinatown alley arcade. Traditional dishes from the Chinese Shandong Peninsula’s fishing village of Yantai are served by Ying Hou and her mother, Meiyan Wang, the owners.
Shandong Mama, located in Mid City Arcade, is an exciting addition to Melbourne’s culinary scene and may lay claim to the finest dumplings in Melbourne. Shandong is a retired Chinese ex-accountant who spent years cooking for her social circle in Shandong Province. She had the fortitude to open this homey eatery in Melbourne with her lovely family. Mama is passionate about nutritious, elegant food.
Shandong is renowned for its seafood delicacies, and the fish dumplings in ShanDong are no exception. The excellent dumplings outweigh any aesthetic issues at this usually busy family-run restaurant. There are also vegetarian dumplings made with zucchini, black mushroom, rice noodles, coriander, and ging, which are a surprise to non-vegans. They have boiled or pan-fried, with chilli sauce and a nice bottle of wine.
They go nicely with a cabbage salad, the trademark “Daryl Noodles,” and a digestive pu-erh tea, which will soothe your tummy. One of the most delicate vegetarian dumplings in town is the zucchini-stuffed variety (and vegan too, in fact).
With light cream walls and freshwater plants on display, the restaurant maintains the classic style of a modest Chinese cafe. Queues often develop at the entrance, but the staff keeps things going.
Address: Shop 7-8, Mid City Arcade, 200 Bourke St Melbourne, VIC
Phone: 03 9650 3818
Gingerboy is a famous Melbourne restaurant that serves contemporary Asian food created by famed chef Teague Ezard. With a refined ambiance, you’ll discover creativity, freshness, and flair.
Gingerboy is not a dingy Chinatown eatery, but it has a contemporary, upscale feel that makes it ideal for a date or casual eating. The bamboo ceiling, as well as the crimson motifs and romantic lighting, draw attention. You can see here many couples who are engaged.
Gingerboy prepares delicious braised duck spring rolls. Spring rolls and dumplings are on the menu. Wagyu dumplings are replaced with prawn and ginger dumplings and the famous Red Duck dish, which has flawlessly cooked duck and a little “kick” of spice, is a hit.
Start with Snacks and Street Food before moving on to bigger Shared meals at Gingerboy. Salt and pepper oysters with shredded iceberg and prik nam pla (3 pieces), son-in-law eggs with chili jam and Asian herbs (3 pieces), or prawn and ginger dumplings with peanut chili soy sauce (3 pieces).
The seared hervey bay scallops with edamame puree and black bean dressing (3 pieces) and the grilled wagyu leaves with sour chili vinegar are very appealing (3 pieces). Roast pig belly, steamed buns, pickled cucumber, chili sauce (3 pieces), hot and sour smoked ocean trout, banana blossom salad, roasted shrimp dressing are among the dishes on the menu. The salt and pepper chicken spare ribs with hot tamarind sauce and the tempura chili salt cuttlefish with lemon and toasted sesame are also appealing.
Check out the weeping tiger beef salad with roasted rice, cherry tomato, young coconut, and coriander, the steamed pork and garlic chive dumplings with szechuan-chili sauce (3 pieces), and the spicy hoi sin dressing on the braised duck spring rolls (3 pieces).
Sticky tamarind pork, lettuce cups, and crisp shallots are an appealing combination. Prik khing curry with local autumn vegetables, coconut, toasted cashews, and Thai basil, as well as deep-fried silken tofu, black bean-chili soy, crispy Asian coleslaw, and spicy yellow rice with chicken, prawns, cherry tomato, chili, garlic, and fried egg, are among the shared meals.
With full-fried baby snapper, mandarin caramel, pickled ginger salad, five-spice salt, as well as sweet and sour pork belly, pomelo, chili peanuts, and Asian herbs, there’s something for everyone. Alternatively, order the crispy fried coconut chicken with dry green curry and green tomato sambal or the red duck leg curry with Thai basil and coconut cream.
The slow-cooked beef brisket, hot and sour sauce, fried taro, and lotus root salad, as well as the wagyu beef MS7, black pepper chili sauce, asparagus, and soba noodles, are all shared meals served with steaming jasmine rice.
This is contemporary food with a twist, made using fresh Australian ingredients. Gingerboy is a celebration of Asian hawker cuisine. Gingerboy is unquestionably one of the finest restaurants in Chinatown.
Address: 27-29 Crossley St, Melbourne, Victoria
Phone: 03 9662 4200
Panda Hot Pot
Through huge wooden doors, enter a world inspired by Ang Lee’s 2000 action film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
A beautiful staircase decked up in red, gold, and wood sweeps up into the heart of Panda Hot Pot. An almost 16-meter-long, 1.5-tonne steel dragon brought from Chengdu and suspended from the ceiling protects two levels.
This is Australia’s first Panda Hot Pot. It was founded in Chengdu, China, in 2015 and has since grown to Japan, Malaysia, and the United States. The restaurant’s signature flavor is a hot 12-hour soup prepared with Sichuan peppercorns and chili imported from Chengdu, but there are three gentler broths as well: tomato, mushroom, and pork bone.
Select a soup base and a degree of spice. Choose from 80 ingredients: Sichuan spicy beef, ox tongue, pig rib, pork sausage, duck intestine, tofu, shrimp, bamboo slices, seaweed, Chinese cabbage, and fresh lotus root. If you need something to eat while your soup boils, request some fried sticky rice cakes or fried rice with egg.
You may get plum juice, coconut milk, and oolong tea to drink. Among the beers on tap are Asahi and bottled Tsingtao and four Penfolds wines by the bottle and peach and lychee-inspired cocktails.
Address: 100 Victoria Street Carlton 3053
Phone: 03 9888 9899;
Longrain is likely to appeal to you if caramelized pork with pork, prawns, and sour pineapple sounds appealing. There’s no way you’d dislike Longrain. You really can’t go wrong here, with award-winning dishes influenced by various South-East Asian flavors. It’s all about the experience of sharing food here, so gather your closest friends and settle in for the banquet of your dreams.
Longrain, a Little Bourke Street dining tradition, received a fresh lease on life with the recent announcement that Scott Pickett would be taking over the restaurant.
The Van Haandel company stated in May 2020 that Longrain would be shut due to the consequences of the COVID epidemic being too much for the Chinatown restaurant.
“I’ve always admired Longrain; it’s a fantastic brand and venue, and I didn’t want to see it go away. I am thrilled that the crew will remain and that we will be able to go on with this famous Melbourne location. “I call it Longrain 2.0,” Pickett adds.
As Pickett takes over the kitchen, a significant number of original staff members have been rehired. The restaurant is set to debut in late July with two menus, one showcasing Longrain’s trademark dishes and the other offering dishes inspired by the culinary staff’s home areas.
Address: 40-44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9653 1600
When you enter the market lane and take the elevator to the first level, you will discover The Flower Drum, one of Melbourne’s genuine eating symbols.
For almost 30 years, the globally renowned restaurant has been a Chinatown landmark, thanks mainly to its trademark dish, Peking duck. Your beautifully dressed server prepares the delicious roast duck every day and wraps it in a thin homemade pancake at your table. This dining experience feels right out of Canton whether paired with smaller meals like sung choi bao, steamed dim sum, lamb spring rolls, or more refined and daring entrees like baked jade tiger abalone, mud crab, and drunken squab.
Although a visit to this high-end restaurant may strain your budget, it ranks first when it comes to eating in genuine oriental flair. Its low-lit, sensual atmosphere, as well as its dependably excellent cuisine and service standards, make it well worth a visit.
Chef-owner Anthony Lui presents the best local seafood, such as garfish fillets in silky shiitake sauce or pearl meat thrown in a wok with spring onions and garlic chives. If you’re concerned about bill shock, try out the great-value fast lunch menu at Flower Drum.
Chef-owner Anthony Lui provides the best local seafood, such as garfish fillets in silky shiitake sauce or pearl meat thrown in a wok with spring onions and garlic chives. If you’re concerned about bill shock, try out the great-value fast lunch menu at Flower Drum.
Address: 17 Market Lane, Melbourne, Victoria,
Phone: 03 9662 3655
Mr. Ramen San
Mr. Ramen San is a fantastic ramen restaurant in Mid City Arcade with many unique features, such as local and organic products and precise skilled cooking methods. Owner and Head Chef Roystan studied under Japanese Ramen masters and has worked at many high-profile restaurants, so come here for some of the finest ramens in Melbourne. Ramen is renowned for its health benefits, including claims of excellent bones and joints, since there is a movement toward better eating. The service is delightful, with young employees greeting you as you approach the restaurant and being engaged and attentive throughout.
Mr. Ramen San’s daily house-produced noodles cooked fresh for the ramen meals are a draw. The noodles themselves are fantastic, and Mr. Ramen San will even offer you extra noodles for free while most other places will charge you. You will not go hungry, and the pricing is excellent, with high-quality ramen costing less than $14 in most instances.
Tonkotsu broth contains traditional flavors and is simmered for 10 hours to bring out the best in them. The culinary crew works very hard, churning the soup for about 4-5 hours each day! It’s said that it’s all about the broth, and the quality of the soup at Mr. Ramen San is excellent. Furthermore, you may choose from various soups for your meals (not every restaurant does this!). If you want, you may “create your own” Ramen by first selecting your soup foundation.
Mr. Ramen San is well-known for its trademark Tonkotsu Charsu Ramen, including roast pork, leeks, spring onion, bamboo stalk, wood ear mushroom, seaweed, and a seasoned egg. The secret is in the thick cloudy broth shown above; this thick cloudy soup results from simmering pig bones and collagen at high heat for 10 hours, during which it fuses to produce a robust pork flavor and a creamy smoothness! Office employees, you’ll need this on your lunch break!
Alternatively, try the Beef Miso ramen, which has beef cooked with miso, spring onion, bamboo stalk, corn, beansprout, seaweed, and a seasoned egg. By the way, the eggs are properly cooked, with a little runny center.
Vegetarians will like the Vegetarian Tofu ramen, which includes tofu, spring onion, beansprout, corn, seaweed, and a seasoned egg.
The Seafood Ramen is a winner with big delicious prawns and clams, spring onion, beansprout, corn, fish cake, seaweed, and a seasoned egg. Mr. Ramen San is readily accessible from both Bourke and Little Bourke Streets. Get to work!
Address: Mid City Arcade, 200 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9042 1588
Spice Temple serves as a reminder of why it’s a joy to have Mr. Perry in the Melbourne food scene.
Spice Temple is designed by Neil Perry in collaboration with his business partners Trish Richards and David Doyle. The restaurant is dark with rich toffee-hued lighting, comfortable seats, dark wood tables that hold crockery in varying shades of black. The contrasting hanging beads serve as partitions throughout the ample space. Spice Temple became a member of the Urban Purveyor Group’s portfolio of businesses in 2016.
Perry’s version of Chinese food is offered on a flexible menu that enables diners to indulge in as much or as little as they want (it’s all about sharing plates). Spice Temple’s cuisine is inspired by Sichuan, Yunnan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi, and Xinjiang. There are elements of heat and spice in the meal and sourness, saltiness, and fragrant and scented qualities to the flavors and textures. The beverages are an essential component of this process, as well.
The wine list is carefully organized, with just 100 wines available at any one time, and the cocktails — there is one for each Chinese zodiac sign – are designed to relax and cleanse the palate in preparation for the next flavor.
The menu deliberately avoids traditional Cantonese cuisine and, instead, focuses on regional mainland dishes and flavors, distinguishing the restaurant from the competition.
Phone: (03) 9292 5777 (in Australia).
Taking a look up the staircase with its wood paneling that leads to Supper Inn, you get the sense that this late-night restaurant hasn’t altered much since it first opened its doors back in 1977. As you make your way up those clattering steps, that sensation will remain with you.
With its office-cubicle lighting, the eatery has the impression of an ancient schoolhouse or a library. Felt lines the inside walls, and the grey blinds are constantly drawn, creating an atmosphere that seems like wet velvet. However, Supper Inn is not about a high-end interior design. And it consistently outperforms the competition in this area.
Every night of the week, the kitchen continues to produce consistently delicious Cantonese classics until 2.30 a.m. There are several standout dishes, including the roasted suckling pig and the chicken congee peppered with tender strips of meat and a healthy sprinkling of ginger, an essential component with a 206-item menu (222 if you include drinks), there’s plenty of room to try something new.
Super Inn is a late-night restaurant in the city that doesn’t seem to be much from the outside, but it’s an absolute killer spot, and the cuisine is always excellent. Staff is very courteous and fast to respond, if not a bit harsh at times due to the high volume of customers they serve. However, it is loud, quick, and delicious. The foods are fresh and delicious, including the duck and fried rice and steamed fish with ginger and shallots and sweet and sour pork. There aren’t many options for drinks, but they’re still good. Super Inn food is fantastic if you’re hungry late at night in the city after a concert.
Address: 15 Celestial Avenue, Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9663 4759
After climbing the ornate stairs and passing under the sparkling chandelier of the Esplanade Hotel, you will find yourself on two floors that are home to two cocktail bars, The Green Room and Ghost of Alfred Felton), as well as the Cantonese diner Mya Tiger.
Over the tops of palm trees, Mya Tiger offers panoramic views of the city and the sea. If people-watching is more your thing, elevated tables provide a good vantage point to see the stairwell and bar below you.
There are references to Chinese classics in the cuisine. Five-spice ribs and cumin lamb spring rolls are among the snacks available. Among the dishes on the bao and dumpling menu are classics like char siu pork bao and char siu pork wontons, which are both umami-rich due to smoked soy and truffles. XO pippies, steamed fish with ginger, soy, shallots, crispy pork noodles, and a whole roast duck are among the more significant items on the menu.
The wine selection is designed to complement the flavors of Cantonese cuisine, with oaky whites and high-alcohol reds being avoided. With a variety of choices available by the glass and various options available by the bottle, you’ll discover a mix of local and New Zealand producers with classic internationals such as German riesling and Argentina’s malbec. In addition, there is a restored vintage fridge from which you are invited to get your beer—traditional Japanese beers such as Kirin and Asahi and more exotic options. Appropriate variations on classics include the Shiso-Shiso Mule, which is made with gin, passionfruit, shiso, lime, and elderflower, among other ingredients. Among the drinks on offer are a kaffir lime Margarita and an Espresso Martini that contains an infusion of oolong tea.
Address: 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda VIC 3182
Phone: 03 9534 0211
When you go inside Tuan Tuan, you are greeted by a Shanghai lady dressed in traditional Chinese attire. She’s not a waitress or bartender; she’s the hand-painted mural that graces an otherwise concrete wall.
The lady on the wall stares down on the customers crammed inside this famous Hong Kong-style restaurant, but the focal point is a stunning four-meter-wide canopy tree. The rest of the bright dining area is filled with pastel-colored seats, scattered smaller plants, and vertical wood paneling. From the plating to the service, there are touches of French flare.
Dominic Li and his business partner Clarion Xie co-founded Chinatown’s Dessert Kitchen. They took the idea to New York, the Philippines, Thailand, and Canada before launching the first Tuan Tuan outside Manila.
Tuan Tuan’s trademark snow buns, pillow-soft buns with a sweet, flaky crust, come in four flavors: barbecue pork, pineapple, salted egg custard, and almond cream. All menu items, including the Malay fish laksa with rice vermicelli, prawns, tofu, and fish balls, and punchy chicken curry, are ordered at your table using a form.
If you want rich and creamy congee, there are nine different options: pig meatball and liver, sliced abalone with chicken, sliced pork with century egg, and sliced beef. Macanese delicacies, baked fish with nuts and Macau-style Cajun chicken on rice are also available.
A Hong Kong-style milk tea prepared with unsweetened condensed milk is available. The beverages menu also includes Cantonese lemon tea, Horlicks (a malted milk drink), Ovaltine, and Ribena.
Address: R1 139 Queensberry Street Carlton, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9995 5407.
The Final Word
Melbourne’s Chinatown seems to be a mark of distinction and valuable addition to Australia’s multicultural society. It is now a popular tourist, local, and international student destination, featuring diverse cafés and restaurants ranging from casual noodle bars to fine dining establishments. They may be found not just on Little Bourke Street but also in the labyrinthine laneways surrounding it.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to treat your taste buds to a great dining experience in one of Chinatown’s many cafés.