Five Must-Try Chinese Restaurants

By Jasmine Crittenden

There's hardly a town in Australia that isn't home to a Chinese restaurant. In fact, it was one of the first foreign cuisines to take a hold here, when thousands of Chinese workers travelled to Australia during the 19th century. Over 100 years later, a wander through Parramatta provides plenty of opportunities to sample an array of Chinese delicacies. While some eateries, such as Hong Fu and Taste Gallery, are dedicated to a particular region, others specialise in a particular style, such as Phoenix, with its ever-changing yum cha selection. 

Chef's Gallery

As the name suggests, Chef's Gallery isn't just about eating, it's about watching, too. Within the glass-walled kitchen runs a continual live performance, as expert chefs knead dumplings and stretch noodles to order. The spectacle has proven so successful that there are now seven restaurants across Sydney and one in Xi'an, China. Each eatery offers its own specials: at Parramatta, these include popcorn duck with maple syrup and fermented bean curd, served in a waffle cone; and honeycomb chicken wings with sticky sisho, yuzu and honey glaze.  

Westfield Parramatta Ground Floor, Shop 2184, 159-175 Church Street Parramatta 2150; Open Monday - Friday 11:00am - 3:30pm and 5:30pm - 9:30pm and Saturday - Sunday 11:00am - 9:30pm. 

Blue Dragon

Blue Dragon must be doing something right: it's been dishing up Chinese deliciousness since 1986, making it one of the area's oldest restaurants. If longevity isn't evidence enough, then the crowds are. On weekend nights, getting a seat without a booking is pretty tough. The tables are usually covered in head chef Bill Ng's banquets, available for various hunger levels and budgets, from the Family and Friend ($33.90 per person) to the Dragon's Supreme ($73.90), which includes several decadent dishes, such as Peking duck, baked lobster in butter sauce and whiskey steak.  

2b Campbell Street, Northmead 2152; Open Monday - Friday 11:30am - 3:00pm, Sunday - Wednesday 5:00pm - 9:00pm, Thursday 5:00pm - 10:00pm and Friday - Saturday 5:00pm - 11:00pm. 

Hong Fu

Hong Fu's most famous dish is its boiled pork bones. Why? Firstly, they're served with disposable gloves, so diners can dig in with their hands. Secondly, they spend hours bubbling among aromatic herbs, ensuring they're tender and juicy by the time they get to the table. The handmade dumplings run a close second, especially the pork and pickled Chinese cabbage version, served with a hot spicy sauce. Pickled ingredients are common in northeast Chinese cuisine, where most items on the menu come from. Portions are generous and service is fast.

6/103 George Street Parramatta 2150; (02) 9891 1225; Open daily 11:30am - 3:00pm and 5:30pm - 9:30pm.  

Parramatta Phoenix

Of the four Phoenix restaurants scattered across Sydney, Parramatta's is the biggest. Up to 640 people can dine at any one time, across three vast levels. The eatery is best known for its yum cha, available daily. Diners can take their pick of prawn dumplings, spicy salted calamari, chicken feet and the like from trolleys as they roll by or sit down to a 12-dish banquet ($30 per person). Alternatively, the a la carte menu offers some interesting chef's recommendations, such as sea cucumber and broccoli in dried scallop sauce, and stir-fried mushrooms with fungus and lotus roots.

Westfield Parramatta Level Four, Shop 4070, 159-175 Church Street Parramatta 2150; Open for yum cha, Monday - Friday 11:00am - 3:00pm and Saturday - Sunday 10:30am - 3:00pm; Open for a la carte daily 5:30pm - 10:00pm. 

Taste Gallery

Taste Gallery, which landed in Parramatta in 2012, specialises in Shanghai Szechwan cuisine. That means big, brave, spicy flavours, featuring lots of garlic, chilli and, of course, Szechwan pepper. Among the chef's recommendations are liquor-soaked chicken, deep-fried whole barramundi with sweet and sour sauce and a hot pot filled with seafood egg dumplings. All dumplings and noodles are handmade and cooked to order. Lunchtime specials, which start at $8.80, are good value.

133 Church Street Parramatta 2150; Open daily 11:00am - 10:00pm.