Australia is a great melting pot of nationalities from all over the world. Sydney has a concentration of Asian cultures in China Town and the surrounds - the perfect location for Yum Cha.
When we told the kids we were going to Yum Cha for lunch, they decided they wanted McDonalds instead. We compromised by allowing them McDonalds but they still had to join us for the experience.
To find a good location for lunch we of course checked Trip Advisor, however then asked a shop keeper in China Town which of the shortlist he actually ate at. It was by this process we decided on Marigold - a choice that proved a winner.
In my experience some of the best restaurants I have discovered have not been on main streets or even at street level. But rather on a high floor of a high-rise building in a location that many would never know even exists.
When we got out the lift at level four we instantly knew we were in for a treat. What greeted us was a large bustling restaurant with a great mixture of tourists and locals enjoying the culinary experience of Yum Cha.
Yum Cha ladies dressed in blue pinafores rolled trollies of delights between the tables whilst traditionally dressed waiters in black pants and white shirts seated guests and served pots of Chinese Tea.
Before we even had a chance to sip our tea, the trolly dolly was laying a plate of prawn dumplings on our table stamping our Yum Cha sheet before we had a chance to say Ni Hao!
The Yum Cha trolly dolly does not take kindly when you reject her delicacies - especially if it is the last on her trolley and she is wanting to head back to the kitchen for a reload.
If you have never experienced Yum Cha the process is this - you sit at your table and a selection of food is paraded around the restaurant on trollies for you to pick and choose what you desire. For every plate that is placed on your table a stamp is placed on your table’s Yum Cha Menu.
You really have no idea what each plate cost - nor really what it is you are actually eating no matter how many times you ask the server what it is she is serving.
The food is almost secondary to the experience. However fortunately in this case the Marigold delivered both great food and atmosphere.
The kids regretted the burger that had already made it to their stomach and found room to squeeze in a sampling of prawn dumplings, spring rolls, pork buns and Chinese Tea. Miss 7 enjoyed the challenge of the chop sticks and Master 10 surprised us by his natural ability to manipulate the utensils as if they were an extension of his hands.
Have you sampled a great Yum Cha in an obscure location? Let us know your top tip for Yum Cha restaurants with a great atmosphere.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
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