Yum cha is not for the faint of heart. Traditionally the decor should take the form of plastic glamour, the service snappy rather than social. It should be near impossible to decode the price of what you’ve ordered, and you will wave down every trolley to find that one dish you’re really hankering for. But for the stronger willed it’s all worth it for the roving smorgasbord of dumplings and dishes, the perpetual frenzy and the instant gratification. While there are a plethora of yum cha spots across Sydney, these are some worth hunting down this weekend.[fold]

The selection of dishes here is enough to pique your curiosity whenever the bamboo lids are lifted. There’s a bit more detail to the dishes here compared to your average yum cha joint, and the dumpling wrappers have just the right amount of stickiness to them.
Level 1/477 Pitt Street, Haymarket
(02) 9211 2232

Yum cha service:
Mon to Fri 10am–3pm
Sat & Sun 9am–3pm

East Ocean
East Ocean is one of the mainstays of Sydney’s yum cha scene and still a go-to for the quintessential yum cha experience. If you’re looking to fast track an already fast-paced experience, or just need a specific steamed flour roll, just order off the menu and it will be delivered to your table without any fuss.
421–429 Sussex Street, Haymarket
(02) 9212 4198
(02) 9212 1989

Yum cha service:
Mon to Fri 10am–2pm
Sat, Sun and public holidays 9am–2pm

Fisherman’s Wharf
The menu here may not offer the widest selection, but the dumplings are done well and with such close proximity to the fish markets, the seafood dishes are clearly going to be winners. The view is a nice plus as well, alleviating a bit of the bustle and hum that accompanies any yum cha experience.
Level 1, Bank Street, Pyrmont (above the fish markets)
(02) 9660 9888

Yum cha service:
Mon to Fri 11am–3pm
Sat & Sun 10am–3pm

Iron Chef Chinese
The name might make you think of a certain stately 90s Japanese cooking show and the open kitchens seem to reinforce the reference. The seafood-based options, like the salt and pepper soft-shell crab or the pan-friend prawn dumplings, tend to impress the most.
84 Broomfield Street, Cabramatta
(02) 9723 6228

Yum cha service:
Mon to Fri 10am–3pm
Sat & Sun 9am–3.30pm

Fook Yuen
As always, there is a persistent queue on weekends, in part because this is smaller than the mammoth yum cha haunts of the CBD, but that’s not to discredit the consistently good dim sims and dishes.
Level 1, 7 Help Street, Chatswood
(02) 9413 2688

Yum cha service:
Mon to Fri 10.30am–3pm
Sat & Sun 10 am–3pm

Green Gourmet
Yum cha is such a necessarily communal experience that it’s important to have a vegetarian option in your repertoire – better yet, make it vegan. Green Gourmet does one of a handful of vegan yum cha sessions in Sydney, making it easier to dine when you’re keeping company with a band of ethical eaters.
115–117 King Street, Newtown
(02) 9519 5330

Yum cha service:
Sat & Sun noon–3pm
(Also at 538 Pacific Hwy, St Leonards; yum cha Saturdays only)