After saying that I would try yum-cha in the CBD again after a long hiatus (4.5 years), I ended up at Oriental Teahouse with a couple of friends during my lunch break. Being a classy eatery on Little Collins st, it’s a popular option with city workers however as we got there nice and early (noon), we managed to avoid most of the lunch crowd. While the restaurant was almost empty, and a little chilly, when we first arrived, by the time we had finished our meal, almost every table was occupied and it was a bustling hive of warmth and activity.
While waiting for my companions to arrive, I ordered a warming tea to chase away the winter blues.
Ginger & Barley Tea
I’m one of those odd people who like to eat the edible things in tea. The red thing is actually a dried hóng zǎo (or Jujube in English as Wikipedia informs me). I can go through bags of them, but I usually reserve that habit for when I’m home, or in China.
When my companions finally did arrive, shivering from the cold outside, we started the fun process or ordering from the tray of food being presented by the ever-moving waiters. For starters, we had a serve of the Chicken San Choi Bao (finely chopped vegetables & chicken served in a lettuce leaf) and Peking Duck (Roast Duck Served in a pancake with cucumber & plum sauce)
Chicken San Choi Bao
From thereon-in, it was food galore. You ready for…
Football Dumplings (Football shaped dumplings filled with minced shrimp & pork)
Ginger Prawn Dumplings (Pork & prawn dumpling deep-fried then steamed with ginger sauce)
Ginger Prawn Dumplings
Roast Duck Dumplings (Filled with shredded duck meat, pork & vegetables)
Roast Duck Dumplings
Pork Sui Mai (Minced pork & prawn wrapped dumpling)
Pork Shu Mai
and to wrap it all up, Chocolate Dumplings (Chocolate filled dumpling with sesame seeds served with ice cream)!
The quality of the yum-cha was astounding. Not necessarily 100% authentic, the dishes were all flavoursome yet delicate and there were no flavour clashes between mouthfuls. If I had to choose a favourite dish, it would have been the Football Dumplings, mainly because I can’t resist the combination of deep-fried sticky dough with seasame seeds on top. The Chocolate Dumplings also had this of course, but I don’t think you’re allowed to choose a dessert dish as a favourite dish for yum-cha.
Splitting some of the servings was a bit troublesome, but I suppose if you order lots of dishes, no-one’s going to complain. I’ll admit though that I was still a bit peckish after the meal, but decided to stop ordering as the costs were starting to add up as those who’ve been to a decent yum-cha can attest. There was a greater variety of dishes on offer though, and probably even more available had we decided to hang around longer, but alas, work has to be done on a workday. Maybe I’ll head back soon though, and try out even more of the dishes.
Oriental Tea House
378 Little Collins St, Melbourne
Mon-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-4pm