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Published May 28th 2014
I enjoy my Yum Chas, especially when the authentic morsels of Cantonese goodness in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore are within easy reach. Melbourne is also home to some excellent dim sum restaurants who have retained their Cantonese recipes and flavours. The question of who makes the best dim sum in Melbourne is a topic of contention for another day. For now, I'm in search of the best all-you-can-eat dim sum restaurant in the city.
My research led me to a familiar name in Melbourne's Chinese dining scene since 1986. Part of the Dragon Boat Group, Dragon Boat Palace in Lonsdale Street serves a variety of a-la-carte dishes, steamboat and dim sum.
The largest of the group's restaurants in Victoria, this old-fashion venue offers an all-you-can-eat dim sum lunch at only $18.60 between 11am to 3pm on weekdays. With individual serves averaging $4.50 to $7 in most restaurants, it doesn't take a maths genius to work out that the price is very reasonable for unlimited dim sum in the city.
Like any proper Cantonese yum cha venue, the dim sum trolleys were laden with steamed and fried bounties. There were all the usual suspects like steamed buns, assorted dumplings, offal, fried dishes, rice noodle rolls, mango puddings, congee and many more.
I managed to bite into the wide variety and there were hits and misses. Thumbs up to the fried egg plant with fish paste, al dente steamed beef tendon and beef tripe. Thumbs down to the skin of the steamed prawn dumpling which broke too easily. The steamed rice roll wasn't silky smooth and covered by a thicker than usual sauce.
While there were no winning dishes, the flavours were authentic and reminded of similar good-quality Cantonese yum cha venues in Asia. An additional up-side with this all-you-can-eat deal is you get to sample as many dim sum dishes as you favour.
In spite of the usual lunch crowd madness, the service is still prompt and polite. It might take a few more seconds to wave over a waiting staff. It was wonderful to see so many non-Chinese guests enjoying the variety of dim sum. With ticks on service, ambiance, price and taste, this restaurant offers the best value-for-money, all-you-can-eat dim sum lunch in the CBD for now.
Do you have a recommendation for the Best All-You-Can-Eat Dim Sum in Melbourne City?