CBD Review: Yummy Cha at Palace Chinese

Granted, it’s not mining rare earth minerals at gunpoint in the Congo for two bucks a day, but sometimes a Prick reckons there must be an easier way to make a buck. Today’s task: briefing and entertaining a delegation of dignitaries – OK, functionaries – from South-East Asia, complete with eight hours of simultaneous translation. Heavy going, with a break for lunch. I had thought about taking the crew down to La Rosa, Pendolino’s sister restaurant at the end of the Strand Arcade, but a co-worker from the same part of the world advised, play it safe, go Asian. And thus we found ourselves at Palace Chinese, a yum cha (or “dim sum”, as they say back in the US) hall upstairs in the otherwise unprepossessing Piccadilly Arcade running between Pitt and Castlereagh.

A year or so ago, this was a regular once-a-week lunchtime haunt, but for whatever reason Palace Chinese and I went our separate ways. But like old friends, we were able to pick up where we left off. Is this the most incredible yum cha in town? Probably not. But despite being more shabby than chic, it beats the very corporate Sky Phoenix nearby in the Westfield, which in its new incarnation is all play-it-safe corporate gweilo food. It’s reasonably friendly, as friendly as it can be when you all but have to resort to violence to keep more steamers and plates  from hitting your table. And the food is fresh and good, with dumplings of all kind: prawn, spinach and garlic, scallop (particularly tasty) to name a few. Steamed pork buns, fried gyoza, it’s all there. It’s not pricey, either, if one doesn’t go crazy with the very yummy and more-ish barbeque dishes. The functionaries were happy, I was happy, the people paying the bill were happy, and I even managed a discrete happy snap:

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Palace Chinese on Urbanspoon

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6 Responses to CBD Review: Yummy Cha at Palace Chinese

  1. Crikey that Palace Restaurant website hides the restaurant location well. One would have thought a key part of a website would be, you know, where to actually find the place.
    Dim Sum eh? As a linguisitic purist I feel like I’ve been sandpapered on the soft parts, just to hear the words. Someone should nuke America, or something, for allowing that phrase into common use.

  2. Anon says:

    Took your advice today and went there for lunch with some work mates. All rated it very highly – thanks for the tip. We stuffed ourselves fit to burst. And we didn’t have to fight to get fed, or fight off the pushy cart ladies when we had stuffed ourselves sufficiently.

  3. Dr Duck from Goulburn says:

    Never liked the Sky Phoenix much, even in its glory days. But Pendolino’s has been a favorite for years. I have had lunch there a number of times with two of my daughters, after expensive visits to their Macquarie St orthodontist. I had the pleasure of taking them to a good restaurant after the the necessary but unpleasant visit to the dentist. Last time I went with my eldest daughter and took her to Tiffany and Co to buy an 18th birthday present. I was very proud of her dismissive comment about the sad encampment of occupy protestors: “Dad, are these really the people who think they can change the world?”

    I’m a big fan of Chinese food, and must try the Palace some time. I’m sure I had lunch there with a barrister friend many years ago, and it was average. I had a look at the online menu and it looks pretty good now, with many authentic dishes on the English menu. Some dishes only listed in Chinese however, these are often the things worth trying. Google translate tells me that 土魷馬蹄蒸肉餅 is Soil squid Horseshoe steamed meatloaf. I’d like to know what that is and what it tastes like! It might be stinky squid mushrooms, but I’m not sure. Number two daughter speaks good Mandarin, so I must take her there next time we have to see the orthodontist.

  4. Chris Poole says:

    Hey I need a good translator, and eight hours straight simultaneous sounds pretty good. Introduce me would you?

    • Dr Duck from Goulburn says:

      Hello Chris, well Bridget is in year 11, and we are in country NSW. Her Mandarin is pretty good, though! Maybe in a few years.

  5. Anon says:

    I found with most of these places that you’ll only get the authentic dishes if you turn up with someone who looks Chinese and who can also speak the lingo. We used to go to a few places in Chinatown for work lunches, and everytime we went out with our Chinese workmates, we’d get treated to chicken’s feet, bits of lung, tripe, roughly chopped up ox hearts, litres of blood and all sorts of other bits of animal it was best not to know too much about. When they couldn’t get away for a feed, we got the usual fare.

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