On Sunday 28 October, Gouger Street was transformed into a Chinese culinary Shangri-La for the Yum Cha Street Party.
My friend and I booked our tickets to be seated at the Ding Hao Restaurant table, as the menu offered a broader variety of dishes and appealed to our tastebuds.
For an in-depth look into all ten yum cha dishes we were treated to, keep on reading below!
As a light refreshment, each pair were given a two small traditional tea cups and a teapot filled with loose leaf green tea. Serving staff would regularly come back throughout the afternoon for refills. There was also a small bar serving beer, wine and other alcohol off to one side, and we were fortunate enough to be seated next to a pair of lovely folk who were generous to offer us a glass of wine and beer each.
Prawn and Pork Dim Sims | Three Varieties of Seafood Dumplings
With most yum cha dishes being served two at a time, we were first treated to the prawn and pork dim sims as well as three varieties of seafood dumplings. The prawn and pork dim sims went down a treat, and the seafood dumplings tasted as if they were made from prawn and mixed vegetables. Dipped in a little bit of soy sauce and they were simply divine!
Crispy Peking Beef | Golden Fried Squid Tentacles
After almost everyone gobbled up the first two dishes, we were served with crispy peking beef as well as golden fried squid tentacles. The peking beef was the perfect kind of crispy and was coated in a flavoursome marinade. I was particularly nervous to try the golden fried squid tentacles, however they were surprisingly nice. The batter got my mind off the fact that they were squid tentacles, but I couldn’t get past the rubbery texture. But any seafood lovers out there would certainly have enjoyed this unique dish!
Steamed BBQ Pork Buns
Nothing beats classic BBQ pork buns, and we were definitely not disappointed! The bun itself was perfectly soft and fluffy, and the pulled pork inside was tender and coated in the most delicious barbecue marinade. As you can see in the photo here, we wanted to save room for all the dishes that still awaited us ahead, so we began making a pile on the side to takeaway.
The next item on the menu was shanghai dumplings, also known as Xiaolongbao. Inside these beauties were little pockets of soup, which tasted like broth made from chicken, pork and cured ham. We accidentally bit into these far too quickly and burnt our tongues on the boiling hot broth inside. But after we allowed them to cool down, we came to appreciate the unique sensation of biting down and having it burst in your mouth, pouring succulent soup down your throat.
Steamed Chinese Green Vegetables
Providing a much-needed refreshment, these steamed Chinese green vegetables cleaned our palates and detoxified our tastebuds. Consisting of bok choy and wilted spinach, the plate of mixed greens was also covered in a light soy sauce that added a hint of spice to a dish that would be far too bland on it’s own. At this point, not many diners finished this entire plate, however grazed and nibbled on a few pieces so as not to get too full before all the dishes had been served.
Smoked Tea Duck
The ultimate yum cha pièce de résistance, this smoked tea duck was more like a full-sized meal than a bite-sized yum cha dish. The duck itself had crispy skin that tasted as if it had been marinated and smoked in a black tea glaze. Served with grated carrot and a little bowl of sauce that was soy flavoured with a hint of black tea, the meat was so tender it almost fell off the bone by itself.
Wasabi Crispy Prawns
To conclude the savoury section of the yum cha feast, we were served wasabi crispy prawns. Sitting atop a green salad were four prawns coated in a crispy batter with a hint of spice to it. A little bowl on the side contained wasabi sauce, but to our surprise it was surprisingly light instead of spicy as we expected. At this point, our stomachs were far too full to enjoy the entire dish, however we did enjoy the contrast of the warm, battered prawns with the cool, mild wasabi sauce.
Fresh Mango Pudding
Now I have to admit, as a massive sweet tooth myself, this was the dish I was looking forward to most! Lying under a thin layer of vanilla custard was the most fresh and sweet mango pudding, which contained small chunks of the delicious fruit mixed into mango-flavoured puree. Topped with two little blueberries on the side, this dessert was the perfect way to end such an extravagant feast!
Throughout the duration of the afternoon, patrons were treated to talks about the customs surrounding Yum Cha from the chefs themselves, as well as live music from instrumentalists playing the authentic Chinese harp and violin.
Thank-you so much to Ding Hao Restaurant for their incredible hospitality, delicious cuisine and impeccable service! I know I’ll certainly be going to their restaurant someday soon to try more yum cha from their menu!
Tickets for the Yum Cha Street Party were purchased for $100 + booking fees from Eventbrite, each ticket covering two people. For larger groups, tickets were sold in even numbers following the same procedure.
Check out all the delicious yum cha Ding Hao Restaurant have on offer by liking them on Facebook.
Catch you at another cafe,