Celebrate Lunar New Year with Darling Harbour's best Asian eats
Is there anything more delicious than dumplings? These little pockets of happiness were invented by a Chinese medicine practitioner named Zhang Zhongjing in 206 BC to comfort his patients during a cold winter.
Over 2,000 years later Zhang’s creations can be found on the other side of the world, all over Sydney. We’ve rounded up the best restaurants in Darling Harbour serving dumplings so you can taste them all this Lunar New Year!
In the serene surrounds of the Chinese Garden of Friendship, you’ll find The Gardens By Lotus, one of Sydney’s best Chinese restaurants. Their Yum Cha experience is a must-try, and especially their xiao long bao. These little pork dumplings are full of soup and burst with flavour as soon as you bite into them.
David Chang, one of the world’s most successful chefs, once called XOPP’s pippies the best dish in the world. He probably would have said the same thing about their Cantonese style dumplings if he’d tried them. There are five options on their lunchtime Yum Cha menu but we’d choose the delicate, steam prawn option every time.
Harajuku Gyoza Beer Stadium is just as awesome as it sounds. This massive warehouse-like venue serves crisp, Japanese style lager brewed on site, as well as incredible fried Japanese dumplings called Gyoza. We love them all but the cheeseburger gyoza is definitely our favourite.
The cuisine of Shanghai, China’s biggest city, is known for its subtle flavours, delicate aromas and vibrant colours. There’s nowhere better to try them than Lilong By Taste of Shanghai, where you’ll mark the menu with a pencil next to each item you want to order. Do yourself a favour and grab the steamed combo dumplings.
Hungry? Stop by Lok Lok in Harbourside for a quick dumpling feast. They serve a range of hot Chinese snacks over the counter, including an incredible steamed prawn and scallop dumpling that has to be tasted to be believed.
Noodles are the ultimate comfort food. Whether we’re slurping down a bowl of steaming hot Vietnamese pho in a hearty bone broth, or a spicy Indonesian mi goreng - there’s no better way we’d rather celebrate the lunar new year.
To help you find a little comfort and a lot of delicious food, we tracked down the best restaurants in Darling Harbour serving noodles.
For the ultimate authentic Sydney Thai restaurant experience visit Nok Nok. Their gorgeous restaurant is filled with greenery and comfy booth seating, but most importantly they serve incredible Thai food. Their Pad Thai is a classic done well, with a perfect balance of salty, sweet flavours and silky, crunchy textures.
Tan Viet Noodle House serves an incredible Vietnamese pho bo tai, or pho with rare beef. But the best item on their menu has to be the crispy chicken with egg noodles - the chicken is just the right amount of salty and crispy and the noodles are the perfect accompaniment.
Chinta means love and Buddha means happiness, which describes exactly how we feel when we eat here. These guys serve authentic Malaysian Cantonese style cuisine in an expansive restaurant in Darling Square - including an incredible curry laksa in a punchy coconut based soup with succulent prawns.
Kusuka have taken Indonesian Cuisine, added a modern Australian twist and served it in a slick space in the heart of Darling Square. Their menu has an entire mi goreng section, including our favourite which features chicken schnitzel and three types of chilli.
Kao Kao takes the best bits of Korean, Chinese and Japanese cuisines and fuses them into one. We reckon the best item on their menu is the jjampong, a traditional Korean spicy noodle dish with a chilli and pork (or chicken) broth and delicious seafood morsels.
Hakatamon Ramen is without doubt one of the best ramen restaurants in Sydney. They keep it simple, serving authentic tonkatsu ramen from Japans’ Hokkaido region, with umami toppings like chashu, flavoured egg and nori.
There’s something about seafood that’s a little luxurious. Whether you’re feasting on pippies slathered in chilli sauce, or dining on fresh lobster dripping with garlic butter, there’s nothing quite like a seafood spread to celebrate the lunar new year.
Seafood is a must in lunar new year traditions and some dishes are hugely symbolic, such as serving two whole fish and saving one for leftovers to represent surplus in the new year. To help you discover the city’s best eats we’ve rounded up the best seafood restaurants in Darling Harbour.
There is nothing more luxurious than eating a seafood feast with a panoramic view of the world’s most beautiful harbour (that’s Darling Harbour by the way). That’s precisely what you can do at Nick’s Seafood at Cockle Bay Wharf, who serve a phenomenal platter featuring crab, oysters, lobster, oysters and more.
Blue Fish has a serious claim to being Sydney’s best seafood restaurant. This Darling Harbour icon has stunning harbour and city views and a menu that will make any seafood lover drool. We adore every bite from Blue Fish but we can never go past the succulent Moreton Bay Bugs with spicy, aromatic Singapore chilli sauce.
Macau is an island off the coast of China that is famed for its gigantic casinos and spicy Portuguese, Chinese inspired hotpots. The best place to taste it is Jackpot, where they serve hotpot with a wide selection of broths and toppings, including lobster, fish roe and prawn.
It doesn’t get any fresher than the live seafood at XOPP. The highlight of their menu is the wok fried pippies in XO sauce, a dish David Chang called the best in the world. The pippies are succulent and briny, while the XO sauce is punchy, almost pungent and packed with chilli.
The best sweet treats in Darling Harbour
From pancakes slathered in hot peanut butter and gooey maple syrup, to technicolour bubble tea bursting with weird and wonderful flavours, you can find it all in Darling Harbour. To get you started we’ve rounded up the best restaurants in Darling Harbour serving sweet treats:
- Bubble Nini's mouth-watering Sun Moon Lake black tea with caramelised brown sugar and milk.
- Matcha-Ya's heavenly Parfait
- Auver's Cafe's Warm Waffle Tiramisu French toast featuring tiramisu mascarpone, ferrero rocher, berries and espresso ice cream
- Any of Bengong Black's delicate and delectable pillowy soft white bread pastries bursting with sweet fruit cream and topped with fresh fruits
- Apple Crumble pancakes from Pancakes on The Rocks which has buttery bits of crumble poached apple and whipped cream (*wipes drool off face*)
Drinks in Darling Harbour
What’s a celebration without a cold refreshment or two? Luckily Darling Harbour is home to several of Sydney’s best bars and is one of the best places in the city to eat, drink and play.
You’ll have well over 50 pubs, clubs and bars to choose from for your Lunar New Year tipple, whether it’s a gorgeous, Asian inspired cocktail at Hello Auntie, a casual craft beer from Bucket Boys at Darling Square or a glass or two of bubbly and panoramic views at Champagne Bar by Sofitel.