Colourful and buzzing, Chinatown is a sparkling jewel in Melbourne’s cultural crown. Here’s the lowdown on where to eat, quirky arcades to explore and hidden bars to discover.

A steamer basket with dumplings in it

Dine on dumplings at Shanghai Street

Take the queues snaking out the door as a sign that Shanghai Street is the real deal. Fried pork mini buns or fried chicken and prawn dumplings are on hand for the hungry. Steamed snacks await if you want a warming meal with a pillowy texture, and vegetarians have some un-bao-lievable options too.

More dumpling spots in Chinatown

Tim Ho Wan

A dim sum icon, dubbed the world's most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant.

HuTong Dumpling Bar

A three-level dim sum restaurant recreating the moody ambience of a Chinese dumpling house.

ShanDong MaMa Dumplings

Traditional eastern Chinese cuisine mixed with diverse, multicultural influences.

Secret Kitchen

An excellent spot for yum cha and Chinese delicacies.

Overhead view of plates of raw food including seafood and very thinly sliced beef, waiting to be cooked in a hot pot.

Feast on hotpot

You've slurped your way through spicy Sichuan, kimchi stew and meaty beef broths. Now it's time to go luxe with Fishpot, a dazzling new hotpot restaurant serving silky smooth fish-based broth. Order luxurious ingredients like lobster, sashimi and premium wagyu to cook at your expert-designed hotpot station. Ready to eat? With the tap of a button the cooking basket automatically lifts up, no effort required.

More hotpot in Chinatown

JiYu Thai Hot Pot

JiYu brings together Thai soup dishes and the modern Chinese hot pot concept.

Dragon Hot Pot

Choose your base stock, then pick from over 100 fresh ingredients to make your own unique hotpot.

Happy Lamb Hot Pot

Serves Mongolian-style hotpot, featuring fresh vegetables and juicy meat cooked in a soup broth.

A group of girls at an arcade

Have a cute arcade adventure

A far cry from the old movie theatre claw machines, the ‘UFO Catchers’ at Million Life in Kmart Centre are cute as can be. Test precision and coordination skills to win everything from anime plushies to Pokémon keychains. Keep the quirky fun times coming with a wander upstairs in MidCity Centre, where secret sushi train, robot dessert machines and Chinese theatre awaits.

More hidden arcade spots

Pinchy's

A lobster and champagne bar with pescatarian and vegan-friendly menus.

Mr Ramen San

Mr Ramen San serves Japanese ramen all the way from Hakata, Japan.

Pearl Chablis & Oyster Bar

An elevated and approachable oyster and bar experience in the heart of the city.

China Red

Chilli wontons, Shanghai shao long bao and touch-screen ordering.

A white plate with shaved ice dessert in it

Try deconstructed bubble tea

Melburnians are no strangers to bubble tea. But the Taiwanese tea masters at BlackBall have given the beloved drink an icy edge in the form of their ‘snow ice’. Just picture a mountain of creamy shaved ice, drowned in dessert fixings. Almost caramel in colour, the milk tea flavoured treat served with sticky boba is too sweet to pass up. 

More Chinatown desserts

Sweetie and Moustache

Dessert central with the delicate and complex mille crepe cake being a specialty.

Dessert Story

Offering different types of Asian desserts: tofu pudding, herbal jelly and crushed ice.

Maxims' Cakes & Pastry

No-frills Chinatown bakery famous for its egg custard tarts.

Where to find the best bubble tea in Melbourne

Order vegan milk tea, brown sugar boba, famous Taiwanese treats and more.

A neon sign outside a bar that reads 'Bar Clara'

Discover hidden bars

Hidden underneath Chinatown, Bar Clara is a gorgeous basement bar with an expertly curated cocktail list. Skip dessert and order the banoffee pie cocktail, made with clarified banana whisky. Topped with toasted meringue for extra decadence.

More of Chinatown's best hidden bars

New Gold Mountain

Double-storey cocktail bar that blends old-world Shanghai glamour with modern boudoir decadence.

Section 8 Bar

A funky outdoor bar with drinks served from a converted shipping container.

Ferdydurke

Unassuming bar that feels like a New York loft, named after a 1937 Polish novel.

Double Happiness Bar

A stylish cubby hole bar down a Chinatown laneway.

Four white shipping containers in a vacant lot, with a darkened cityscape just visible in the background.

Test yourself in a mysterious shipping container

Until

Darkfield is back in Chinatown for another immersive season. Challenge your grip on reality and enter simulated experiences designed to scare you silly. Choose your own adventure, from a mind-bending séance to an ill-fated plane journey.

More of the best Chinatown attractions

Museum of Chinese Australian History

Museum preserving and displaying the history of Chinese immigration.

FM Karaoke Bar

Karaoke bar with private rooms or an open space to show off your skills.

170 Russell

A live music venue with gigs seven nights a week.

Chinatown Cinema

This cinema screens the latest Chinese-language movies.

A group of friends walking through Chinatown at night.

Explore Chinatown on a walking tour

The self-guided Heart of the City walk leads you through all the Chinatown highlights. Follow the glowing lanterns to see the winding Chinese dragons at the Chinese Museum. Stop for a lunchtime yum cha feast and seek out hidden bars.

More of the best spots to visit in Chinatown

Crystal Jade Melbourne

Serving modern contemporary Cantonese cuisine in Chinatown.

RuYi

Premium pan-Chinese dishes with a great and innovative cocktail list.

Bornga

Delicious Korean barbecue with loads of banquet options.

Ballers Clubhouse

Melbourne's largest bar and games venue, in the heart of Chinatown.

Last updated on Mon 23 Jan 2023

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