Sydney's Chinatown has been around since the roaring 20s, making it the go-to dining destination for amazing Chinese cuisine for nearly a century. Today, you'll not only find Chinese food in this always-bustling hub, but also Thai, Vietnamese and Korean eateries. It's hard to know what to try first, so here are a few of our favourite selections.
1. Abb Air Thai
Chinatown's World Square shopping mall isn't where you'd expect to find some of Sydney's best Thai food, but here we are. Abb Air impresses newcomers and regulars alike with their take on Thai street food. They have a noticeable devotion to fresh herbs, and each dish sparkles with colourful produce and bold flavour as a result. The restaurant's signature dish is their crab stick roll, served with enoki and seaweed. Noodle dishes somehow blend sour, sweet, spicy and salty flavours in a single bowl, while stir-fries are crunchy and vibrant.
2. Emperor's Garden
Sydney foodies in the know have bookmarked Emperor's Garden for serving the best BBQ pork in the city. The barbecued spare ribs offer off-the-charts tastiness in each delightfully sticky bite. Emperor's deep-fried spare ribs with dried garlic aren't too shabby either, and the honey king prawns have their own cult following. The noodle soup here deserves a shout-out as well for its shallot and ginger-scented broth, whether you go for the won ton or vermicelli.
Cantonese classics get a modern upgrade at Zilver, a stylish addition to Chinatown. Yum cha is the big draw here, a massive selection of eye-catching small plates to drool over. Chewy rice flour rolls are stuffed with BBQ pork, prawn or mushroom, and steamed buns with everything from red bean to lotus paste. You can make a meal of the dumplings alone, whether you prefer them steamed or pan-fried to golden-brown perfection. But don't miss out on the seafood, Zilver's other specialty. The house special is a masterpiece of the seafood fried rice genre, artfully studded with scallops, crabmeat and salmon roe.
4. Dainty Dumpling House
You can look beyond the dough at Dainty Dumpling House, with its extensive menu. All your favourites are on offer here to hit that Chinese craving, from sweet and sour pork to fried rice. Naturally, it's the dumplings that get top billing. These scrumptious little parcels are made by hand and steamed or fried. With gluten-free and vegetarian options, nobody has to feel left out. Be sure to try the Shanghai style pork or steamed prawn and chive dumplings, both bestsellers. And if you want to live it up, order the caviar dumplings to feel like a real fancypants.
Korean food is hot, hot, hot at the moment in Sydney. You'll spy kimchi and gochujang creeping into many a menu. Arisun serves up healthy portions of the real deal, for a Korean twist on Chinatown's usual dumpling and noodle shops. The rice and fish cake hot pot with ramen is a heck of a dish, with spicy rice cakes contrasting perfectly with the chewy ramen. Bi bim bap is the perfect takeaway lunch, giving you rice and a bevy of toppings that you can mix to your looking. However, Arisun's claim to fame is its Korean fried chicken. Go for the original or the crispy boneless style with your choice of dipping sauces to dunk it in.