I've just returned from a trip to Shanghai and food is on my mind.
In addition to its fantastic cultural, couture and consumer offerings, Shanghai served up an unexpected culinary coup. Good Chinese food – real Chinese food – is amazing and you don't have to travel to Shanghai to experience it.
With its large, established Chinese Community, Sydney is spoilt with a great variety of Chinese restaurants offering specialties from the different regions in China.
As Chinese New Year approaches, it's a great time to celebrate the diverse range of Chinese cuisine served up by the best restaurants Sydney has to offer.
Here are my Top 5 Chinese restaurants in Sydney.
1. Mr Wong
This restaurant delivers great food, a staggering wine list and is situated in a jaw-droppingly gorgeous location in Sydney's CBD. From the moment you walk down the cobbled lane and step into the multi-layered restaurant (which is rustic and sophisticated at the same time) you feel you've been transported to China. Ideal for lunch or dinner, the menu boasts steamed dumplings by day and succulent roast meats by night. There are also some surprises on the menu for the more adventurous!
Located in subterranean Sydney, descending into Spice Temple is like descending into a hidden treasure cave where the sights, sounds and tastes are opulent and rich. The culinary focus is regional China with a spice experience for every palate. With a lunch and dinner menu, the food is designed for a shared table and promises balance and harmony on a plate.
This is a more recent addition to my list, having been overlooked due to its obvious location in the centre of Chinatown! Golden Century delivers the true palatial Chinese restaurant experience with a multitude of tables scattered around the floor, wait staff buzzing, tanks brimming with seafood and traditional Chinese décor. It boasts an extensive menu and is known as one of the great crab eateries of the world. It's also a place where lots of after-hours chefs hang out which is strong endorsement!
Situated outside Sydney's CBD in Kensington but worth the extra travel time is Chairman Mao. I was fortunate enough to spend last Chinese New Year at this restaurant and have recommended it ever since. Inspired by Mao Zedong and his penchant for traditional Hunan cuisine, this buzzing and "local feel" restaurant delivers wonderful smoked meats and plenty of chilli and spices. Often appears in "best restaurants" lists.
Formerly situated in Surry Hills but now nestled away in the charming neighbourhood of Potts Point is this "eating house" which is reminiscent of street life in China. With its open kitchen, Billy Kwong is a place for people to meet, chat, eat and drink the best of Australian produce delivered with Chinese flavor and style. The signature dish of crispy duck with oranges, mandarins or plums (depending on the season) must grace your table at least once. A great place to experience "Australian Chinese".
Address: Shop 1, 28 Macleay Street, Potts Point
Tel: 9332 3300
Website and online booking: www.billykwong.com.au
So, what are you waiting for? Tantalise your tastebuds and celebrate Chinese New Year in the proper festive fashion - with friends, family and food.