Yum Cha is very popular in Melbourne as there is a big Chinese population.
Yum Cha literally means “to drink tea” but, I assure you, it’s a lot more than that! It is a sort of brunch involving small portions of steamed or fried dumplings and other delicious bites. As a family we absolutely love it and we try to go as often as we can.
It is certainly a family affair and on weekends restaurants that offer Yum Cha are busy with big Chinese families gathered around large round tables, often three generations enjoying time together, eating wonderful food.
We don’t need a special occasion to go but last Saturday was Sofia’s 19th birthday and she chose to go to one of our favourite Yum Cha restaurants, the aptly named Golden Dragon Palace.
Yum Cha usually has two sittings, you arrive at the established time and the fun begins. There is no ordering, you wait for the trolley filled with delights, you choose your steam basket or small plate and you share the contents with your companions. All sort of dumplings (prawn and chives are my favourite), fried wontons, beancurd rolls, pan fried dumplings, stuffed aubergines, chicken feet and various part of animal intestine if you feel adventurous!
The meal ends with the sweet trolleys, filled with mango pudding, rice porridge, colourful coconut jellies, sago or black rice pudding (my favourite!), small donuts and pancakes staffed with ice-cream.
Every dish you chose is marked on a paper slip left on your table, at the end all you have to do is take the slip to the till to pay.
If you are lucky enough to live in a country with a big Chinese community, I highly recommend you try this experience. And for those who have had Yum Cha, do you love it as much as I do?
Barbara is a counsellor specialised in migrations issues. Through her Migrants for Love, she helps dozens of expats cope with the most common feelings of loneliness at the beginning of a new adventure abroad.