Chinese is one of the most ancient and varied cuisines in the world, yet it often gets oversimplified in Australia. Cantonese and Sichuan may be the most prominently represented of China’s regional cuisines in Melbourne, but they're just two of “the eight great cuisines” (the others are Jiangsu, Zhejian, Fujian, Hunan, Anhui and Shandong).

It’s actually uncommon to group the food of the country’s regions together. Despite Australia’s long history of Chinese immigration (which started in the mid-19th century), it’s only in the past few years that we’ve seen dishes from some of China’s lesser-known cuisines make appearances in Melbourne. And they’re still mostly bound to Chinese-community enclaves such as Springvale or Box Hill.

Whether you’re looking for a hearty Middle-Eastern-inflected stew (commonly served in China’s far-west), a fiery Sichuan hotpot or a basket of the best xiao long bao in town, there’s a place in this guide for you.

Flower Drum

Restaurant

One of the true icons of Melbourne dining, Flower Drum’s low-lit, seductive ambience and consistently impeccable service are reasons to visit alone. But if you’re after the gold standard for Cantonese cuisine in the city, look no further.

17 Market Lane, Melbourne

Lee Ho Fook

Restaurant

From the mind of acclaimed chef Victor Liong, this diner reimagines traditional Chinese flavours through a refined modern lens. Look for it down a graffiti-covered alley off Flinders Lane.

11-15 Duckboard Place, Melbourne

Spice Temple

Restaurant

Modern interpretations of China’s regional cuisines in a romantic, underground space. It’s also by Neil Perry – expect the dishes here to be stylish, vibrant and well-balanced.

Crown Melbourne 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
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David’s

Restaurant

Rustic Shanghainese dishes worthy of the accolades. David Zhou’s casual eatery hits all the beats for flavour, atmosphere and service. But best of all, this is the kind of place that won’t hurt your wallet.

4 Cecil Place, Prahran
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Chef David

Restaurant

This 160-seater used to be a hotpot spot, but now it's a grill-yourself Sichuan restaurant. Come for sizzling skewers, whole grilled cod and dozens of side dishes.

Level 1 462 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

Panda Hot Pot

Restaurant

Under the watchful eye of a 1.5-tonne steel dragon, Australia’s first outpost of international chain Panda Hot Pot is serving fiery DIY soup with a choice of 80 ingredients.

100 Victoria Street, Carlton

TuanTuan

Restaurant

A Hong Kong-style eatery from the founders of Chinatown’s Dessert Kitchen, serving creamy congee, Macanese dishes, and sweet and savoury snow buns.

R1 139 Queensberry Street, Carlton

Red Door Yum Cha

Restaurant

A down-to-earth local gem plating up yum cha classics and a whopping range of dumplings. Expect Shanghainese parcels of pork or chicken, sharkfin wontons, glistening har gow, and more.

1-3 1-3 McIlwrick Street, Windsor

Tim Ho Wan

Restaurant

With 20 locations spread across Asia and Australia, this Hong Kong dumpling giant must be doing something right. The answer? A Michelin-starred barbeque pork bun, dusted with sugar and baked to crisp perfection.

206 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Din Tai Fung

Restaurant

The other dumpling chain on this list with a Michelin star and outlets all around the world. Here, soup-filled xiao long bao are fastidiously prepared by masterful hands in full view of the dining public.

M002/4 Emporium Melbourne 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Mya Tiger

Restaurant

This Cantonese resturant up the stairs at Melbourne’s iconic Esplanade Hotel has incredible views and Chinese cuisine classics.

11 The Esplanade, St Kilda

Secret Kitchen CBD

Restaurant

You can’t walk past the live seafood tank – one of the largest in the city – without doing a double-take. Seafood is the specialty, but the menu has got a bit of everything.

222 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Rising Embers

Restaurant

Release your inner grill master – or leave the cooking to the pros – at this Sichuan barbecue spot.

Level 1 139 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Roast Duck Inn

Restaurant

Cantonese chefs with more than three decades of experience serve up suckling roast duck.

29-31 Carrington Road, Box Hill
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Karlaylisi Restaurant

Restaurant

This Uyghur restaurant serves springy hand-pulled spicy noodles, beef dumplings, and flaky pastries filled with lamb and cumin.

4 203 Ballarat Road, Footscray

Supper Inn

Restaurant

Supper Inn is a BYO Melbourne institution. Just ask Melbourne’s top chefs – especially after a closing shift. Cantonese food at its best, and least pretentious.

15 Celestial Avenue, Melbourne

Dragon Hot Pot

Restaurant

Cheap, delicious and fun, as all great malatang joints should be. Fill your golden pot with meat, tofu, noodles and vegetables from the self-serve fridge, then bathe your spoils in hot-and-sour Sichuan-style broth.

213 Russell Street, Melbourne

Ling Nan

Restaurant

Offering no-nonsense Cantonese dining in the heart of the CBD, Ling Nan has been satisfying Melbourne’s late-night cravings for around three decades. New location, same must-order XO pippies.

207 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

ShanDong MaMa

Restaurant

It’s all in the name at this Chinatown favourite. Shandong province is known for its superlative seafood, and the mackerel dumplings here don’t disappoint. The vegan zucchini version has a cult following all its own.

Shop 7 200 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Ruyi

Restaurant

A high-end restaurant serving contemporary Chinese fare. Though many of these dishes aim to elevate tradition, there’s plenty of nostalgia to be found here.

16 Liverpool Street, Melbourne

Sun Kitchen

Restaurant

The cellar alone is worth $1.5 million, with 6000 bottles of wine, and spirits from 888 premium labels across Australia, France, China and Europe. Settle in for refined Cantonese and Sichuan fare and spectacular views.

9 Aquatic Drive, Albert Park

Dainty Sichuan South Yarra

Restaurant

The Chongqing noodles here are legendary. Elastic, chewy noodles; baby bok choy; and a chicken and chilli broth with an incredible depth of flavour and spice – both numbing and burning.

176 Toorak Road, South Yarra

China Red

Restaurant

A bustling city eatery that's part of the growing Hu-Tong dumpling empire. Ordering a double-serve of xiao long bao via touch screen never gets old here.

Shop 6 206 Bourke Street, Melbourne

HuTong CBD

Restaurant

Shanghainese food from eastern China, where dishes are small and designed for sharing. Visit for great drunken chicken and the classic xiao long bao.

14-16 Market Lane, Melbourne

Pacific Seafood BBQ House

Restaurant

A bonafide local institution, this spot is known equally for its cheap-and -cheerful dining and flock of Peking ducks hanging in the window.

Shop 8, 240 Victoria Street, Richmond

Magic Cuisine

Restaurant

This stall in Box Hill has got cooked meat, entrees and vegetable dishes pre-packaged in takeaway containers, ready for you to grab and take to work or reheat at home. Just add rice.

Box Hill Central 1 Main Street, Box Hill

Tina's Noodle Kitchen

Restaurant

This casual diner – by the Dainty Sichuan crew – is dedicated to Chongqing-style noodle soup. So everything here is hot, spicy and slurpable. Make sure to get here nice and early, because it gets busy fast.

1 Main Street, Box Hill

Shaanxi-Style Restaurant

Restaurant

This small eatery is dedicated to the cuisine of the Shaanxi province, in China's northwest. On the menu you'll find dishes such as saucy biang biang noodles and a sandwich style that's among the world's oldest.

943-945 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill

Little Sichuan

Restaurant

This “little” sibling of hotpot institution Dainty Sichuan uses the same rich broths and variety of ingredients, but specialises in malatang style – or hotpot for one.

Box Hill Central , Box Hill

Gold Leaf Eastern Restaurant

Restaurant

For lunch take your pick from any of the roaming yum cha carts that pass by every couple minutes, or dig into an a la carte dinner with Chinese classics.

155 Burwood Highway, Burwood East

China Chilli

Restaurant

With its neon lights and polished fit-out, this all-you-can-eat hotpot joint in the heart of Chinatown is straight out of a Wong Kar Wai film.

15 206 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Lucky Chan

Restaurant

Take a seat at this Cantonese restaurant’s courtyard for a view of the Yarra through bamboo stalks, while sipping Jasmine tea or a Singapore Sling.

Crown Casino 33/8 Whiteman Street, Southbank

Westlake

Restaurant

This Chinatown eatery has been serving the classics – including yum cha and peking duck – and satisfying midnight cravings for decades.

189 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

One Noodle Friendship

Restaurant

Find this low-key Chinese restaurant just around the corner from Preston Market. It's all about hand-pulled Lanzhou-style wheat noodles (made from scratch every day) served in hot, spiced broth with a side of chewy dumplings.

417-419 High Street, Preston