Palace Chinese Restaurant Yum Cha, Sydney

Considering that I regularly yum cha, it’s a little embarrassing that I haven’t blogged any of it yet. A comforting mid morning affair for me, I find the combination of warm savoury mouthfuls and sips of hot chinese tea a relaxing way to start a weekend day. My only warning when it comes to yum cha – never underestimate the filling power of those bite sized morsels, or the tea for that matter. Clever dish selection and portion control is your friend here, unless you want to pull out those elasticised pants you save for buffets.

If you’ve never tried yum cha, expect something like an oversized sushi train, substituting the train for a neverending line of food trolleys, and the sushi for small dishes. It’s fantastic!

These photos are from a few outings at Palace Chinese Restaurant, which seems to be our yum cha of choice at the moment. I’ve heard grumblings that service has declined since being named Favourite Yum Cha in Sydney by the SMH Good Food Guide last year. I disagree. I’ve always found service to be attentive and considerate and I haven’t noticed a difference since the food guide mention.

Char siu bao

I’ve tried to make these at home, with random success. Even when the filling is perfect, the dough is never as airy. A pretty standard dish across the yum cha restaurants, a crowd favourite in my circles.

Har Gow

The har gow at Palace are full of Actual Prawns, which can’t always be said. It’s not uncommon to bite into a har gow to find a sticky mess of flour, prawn like goo and miniscule prawn scraps – not here.

Ham sui gok

Usually we lean towards the steamed options at yum cha but I can’t go past the deep fried shells on these. The texture is an addictive contrast of mochi like chewiness with the unmistakeable deep fried crunch, while it’s subtle sweetness is offset by the savoury pork and vegetable filling inside. The Palace version some some sort of pickle in it too, giving it a sour note as well.

Pai gwat (Pork Ribs)

With a hint of chilli and black bean, half the fun is in the nibbling – the bone:flesh ratio is almost akin to a chicken wing.


Sad to say but I have no idea what these may have been filled with. Knowing us, it was most likely custard or BBQ pork. If you’ve ever had chinese bakery bread you’ll understand how moreish these can be.

Chicken and Sweetcorn pan fried dumpling

Along with the food trolleys, most yum cha places will generally have random specials that come out regularly on large trays from the kitchen, which can be quite hit and miss. This was one those. Served with a mayonnaise like sauce, there wasn’t a lot of flavour around, I wasn’t too impressed and wouldn’t get it again. Definitely a miss.

Fung zhao (chicken feet)

Be adventurous! After all you only live once… The outer layer of skin is completely removed, leaving only the thin soft inner skin (never exposed to the elements). Slow and long cooking then gives you a lovely gelatinous texture. The thought of eating the bony foot of a chicken may be cringe and shudder worthy at first, but I’m sure the sweet black bean sauce along will convince you otherwise.

Har cheung fun (steamed noodles filled with prawns)

Silky smooth rice noodles are always delicious and even more so when served with prawns and a sweet soy sauce. These slippery tubes can get messy to share but you’ll be glad you did. You can also get beef, BBQ pork, plain and vegetarian versions to keep things interesting.

Siu Mai

Steamed parcels of pork topped with the obligatory carrot piece. A yum cha staple.

Wo tip (pot stickers)

Filled with a mince mixture and served with vinegar, the starchy pastry is thicker than a steamed dumpling but the best bit for me is the golden crunchy bit on the bottom.

Wu Gok

I always make an effort to get things I can’t be bothered to make at home and these are a prime example. The deep friend taro shell encases a dollop of chopped pork and prawn mix inside, great for those wanting a starchy carb hit.

Yeung tofu and eggplant

Fried tofu cubes and braised eggplant wedges filled with a meat mixture. At home, my mum makes these with a fish filling but at Palace I tasted a hint of pork in the mix as well.

Char siu so

BBQ pork covered with a thin flaky pastry. Ideal for BBQ pork lovers. Slightly inaccurate photo, usually comes with four individual servings – sneakiness and hungriness amongst the masses in the morning to blame.

Lo mai gai (sticky rice with chicken)

The lotus leaves impart a delicate fragrance to the glutinous rice and chicken mixture.

Prawn dumplings

Another item from the specials tray, these were boiled and packed with prawns and pork, reminiscent of wonton filling, served with superfluous carrot shavings.

Onto the sweets! I always try and save room for dessert and when that dessert trolley comes along, it’s probably the most decisive moment at our table.

Dan tart (Egg tarts)

The most traditional of sweets, the pastry should be thick yet flakey and crumbly while the sweet egg custard should be silky and of course, yellow! We’ve been lucky enough to get them straight from oven most times – even better!

Tofu fa

A favourite of Daisy Moo’s. The tofu is a much lighter and even more delicate than silken tofu, served here with a plain sugar syrup. Some places will also add a hint of ginger.

No name dessert

I’ve never managed to fully catch the name of this dessert but it’s one of the main reasons I love Palace for yum cha. In true chinese style, it’s name is elaborate and along the lines of “golden dream” but please, don’t quote me on this one, just trust that it’s a satisfying sugar hit. It’s a combination of mango, coconut jelly, lychees and sago in a chilled, lightly creamy base topped with pomelo flesh. Lately they’ve also been adding the pearls that you get in pearl tea, Easyway style. Fruity and sweet.

Well, the blog has finally been christened with a yum cha post, I’ll make sure you posted on all other food outings, yum cha or otherwise:)

Palace Chinese Restaurant
Shop 38 Level 1, Piccadilly Tower
133 - 145 Castlereagh Street Sydney 2000
Phone: (02)92836288
Fax: (02)92836566
Yum Cha: 11:00am - 3:00pm
Dinner: 5:00pm - till late


Anonymous said...

Haha :P haro there! Ahh the BBq pork buns are much much muuuuccchh better than char siu baos! and the dessert is mango shi mi lou :) You should have got their oozy custard bun though! The only one in Sydney and the best dessert they have ^^!

lili - pikelet & pie said...

Oh i went here a few months ago and really enjoyed it (though lazily have yet to blog about it), and looking forward to returning. I love that no name dessert :)

Simon Food Favourites said...

i love how you know all the names of the dishes. i never know what they are called. Palace is one of my fav's for yum cha too and your no name dessert is one thing i always get now. it's got the right balance of everything and i love the bits of grapefruit they sprinkle in it. you have to try their salt and pepper squid if you haven't already — one of my top choices. and if your lucky enough to try their scallop/prawn siu mai it's one of my favs as well at this place.
simon :-)

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

oh yum! Yum cha! I havent had it for ages! Now I'm seriously craving it

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

The egg tarts look lovely, and it's great that you got them fresh from the oven!

Miss Honey said...

Hi Richard! I agree, that asian bakery bread is awesome, makes everything taste better, coming from a carb addict lol. Trust you to know the name of the dessert, thank you - saves me from just ignorantly pointing when I order it lol.

Hi lili, nice to meet you:) I totally understand food blogger laziness, WIP folder evil eyes me lol.

Hi Simon, I have tried the scallop/prawn siu mai - very nice:) The food is pretty consistent and the location is good for me as well.

Hi Maria! I'm planning to head to Melb in the next couple of months, I'll have to ask you for eating out tips:)

Hi Arwen! I find them extra flaky when they're still hot, which usually means I make a mess lol.

Grace said...

oh yaay so glad to find your post! I've been googling everywhere for more info on palace at the piccadilly yum cha, mmmmm you have all the classics featured here :D

Y said...

I have yet to visit Palace for yum cha, but have heard lots of good things about it. Your photos are making me hungry :)

Miss Honey said...

Hi Grace, glad I could be helpful, I think they do have a website?

Hi Y, the location is quite good for me, which makes getting yum cha just that little bit quicker :)

eden said...

i just stumbled across your blog coz i was looking for prices for SERENDIPITY ice cream, and omg your food photos are making me so hungryy =9

I love palace chinese rest ! and the dumplings look so gooood
and i think the no name pudding is sago pudding :D

squishies said...

T_T I've been craving for yum cha for the past two weeks... your post is so not helping. hehe =)

Must go soon...

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