Indeed, it's changed dramatically at the likes of East Ocean in Chinatown and Golden Century in Moore Park where they've taken on an ordering system that is now common in Hong Kong and Macau. Select your choices and number of each from a sheet which is then handed to the waitstaff. Dishes are then delivered to your table direct from the kitchen as they are ready.
No more pushy yum cha ladies wielding trays or trollies here, which I personally think detracts a little from the yum cha experience - for the sake of freshness, hygiene and probably food wastage too.
|Scallop siu mai at Golden Century, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park|
The self-select menu is much more brief than a regular yum cha experience which is a shame since I normally like to order a huge range of the steamed dim sum.
The plump and bouncy dai ji siu mai, jam-packed with minced pork and prawns, were jauntily topped with a scallop (at a premium price to your standard siu mai, of course). Chilli sauce is a must.
|Salt and pepper deep fried whitebait|
Crisp and flavoured with loads of sliced chilli and garlic, playing fiddlesticks with these tasty little whole fish was worth the additional oil and calorie count.
|Har gow - prawn dumplings|
|Bor choy gow - spinach dumplings|
I love the vegetable focused steamed dumplings (spinach, garlic chive, snow pea sprouts) at yum cha although they often contain prawns too. Chilli sauce needed here too with these spinach filled dumplings.
|Pai gwut - pork spare ribs|
|Dou fu fa - tofu pudding|
|Mango pudding |
(excuse the table stains - though it's not yum cha without them)
As we left the lunch crowd was in full swing with as many kids pointing their chopsticks around as adults. It's gorgeous to see yum cha as a fully integrated part of many Australian lives. And the ordering system? It might just grow on me.