It was the urge for dim sum that had us ordering yum cha at home. Palace Chinese restaurant in Sydney's Haymarket offers home delivered dim sum either frozen or freshly cooked. Apart from yum cha classics there are also adorable little turtle pineapple buns, hedgehog custard buns, swan taro puffs and little piggy panna cottas!
"I want the cute buns!" says Laura when we are discussing what to order from Palace Chinese. It was a balancing act involving a spreadsheet just to ensure that everyone got their favourite yum cha selection.
To order you need to place your order by messaging them on instagram with what you'd like. They'll give you a total and you pay ahead of time and they'll deliver it to your house. This delivery service is only available on weekends with a minimum order of $60 and requires one day's notice. And if you want the super cute dumplings they require 2 day's notice. Delivery is $8 depending on the area.
At the nominated time they deliver the dumplings. Some of the more popular ones are available frozen which is more cost effective. These are the items like the siu mai, har gows and sticky rice and I have my steamers ready to go for these. They take from 6-15 minutes to steam. The rest are in plastic containers, warm and ready to eat.
If you want the dumplings piping hot you may need to heat these up again and they can go in the steamer for a couple of minutes. The baked or fried ones can go in the oven (160C) for a few minutes until warmed through. We set out our yum cha on plates and start enjoying our feast.
I literally have to hold Mr NQN back from ordering 3 or 4 steamer trays of this when we go out to yum cha. In fact if they don't have prawn dumplings available he gets a bit sulky. They are very good with a nice hit of flavour from sesame oil and white pepper.
I was really interested in trying the scallop siu mai because usually they're pork based but these siu mai are all seafood based with prawns and scallop on top. These are really tasty and bouncy textured morsels. I'd definitely order these again.
We love a bit of vegetable in our dumplings and the prawn and garlic chives dumplings steam up quickly and are also tasty (but make for crazy burps-just saying!).
I love sticky rice and these have a good amount of filling and sauce to them so that they're not all rice (despite how they look in the picture). There's pork, a slice of Chinese sausage and some diced mushroom inside them.
Laura and I both adore the taro puffs and the swan necks travel pretty well too. We had both expected the swans to be decapitated by the time they reached us but they're not. The taro puffs have a taro and pork filling and melt in the mouth. The only thing missing is sweet and sour sauce to dip this in (don't knock it til you try it!). But then we discover the crab dumplings below have some sweet and sour sauce. Dunking heaven.
The duck and mushroom dumplings are ordered to break up the seafood fest a little bit. There's a good amount of duck meat along with mushroom inside.
The XO sauce seafood dumplings are full of seafood and are very tasty although the XO sauce isn't very discernible in these.
Our favourite item of the whole meal was the special prawn roll with Youtiao Chinese donuts. I wasn't sure how the donuts would go in the steaming process but do you know what? It's absolutely delicious. There are lots of rice noodle rolls on the menu and we only ordered this because Laura had tried it in Hong Kong and loved it. The donut isn't crispy because it had been steamed but it adds flavour and a bit of texture to the prawns in the filling. Although it is the most expensive item that we ordered I would get this again in a flash.
I think there was some confusion. I had ordered the crab meat soup dumplings which are like xiao long bao and we ended up with pan fried crab dumplings. They're not bad but they're not the soup dumplings we had hoped for.
I'm not a huge fan of the steamed buns because I don't ever feel like there's enough filling to bread but these are for Laura. I try a little and the filling is a tasty gingery chicken mince.
Onto desserts! Mr NQN and Laura both love mango sago so we ordered this and it's enough to fill two rice bowls. They both love it and I do like that there's some tart pomelo in it along with some tapioca boba balls as well (you add these in yourself and they come in a separate container).
The piggy panna cottas are cute and very detailed down to the tiny curly tails. They're a plain panna cotta and are cute more than anything.
They were kind enough to give us some complimentary buns and these adorable ones are hedgehogs filled with custard with chocolate eyes.
The turtles are as tasty as they are cute. There's a filling of thick custard and actual pineapple in these pineapple buns (normally pineapple buns don't have custard in them, they're called that because of the appearance). The sweet biscuitty topping is delicious and I like that while they are cute, they're also really tasty too.
We've eaten so much and it was a wonderful taste of our previous life but without the trepidation you might feel eating out in a restaurant (hey 2020 can we get a refund on this year?). The only downside to eating at home? You do have to clean things up yourself!
So tell me Dear Reader, what is your favourite yum cha morsel? When is the last time you had yum cha? Do you miss it?
This meal was independently paid for.
Shop 38 Level 1 Piccadilly Tower, 133/145 Castlereagh St, Sydney NSW 2000
Weekends only for delivery
Delivery fee based on distance from Sydney CBD:
5-10 Km $8
10-20 Km $10
20-30 Km $20