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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.
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
HuTong Dumpling Bar
A three-level dim sum restaurant recreating the moody ambience of a Chinese dumpling house.
Nepalese dumplings and a range of other street food snacks from the Kingdom of Nepal.
Tim Ho Wan
A dim sum icon, dubbed the world's most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant.
Drop it like it's hot pot
Spice up your life at Mrs Zan’s Kitchen inside 206 Bourke. Here you’ll find shelves overflowing with fresh king prawn, sweet rolled omelette, leafy greens, bamboo shoots and more. Pay per 100 grams and self-serve chilli oil to your spicy heart's content. Or follow the glowing neon to Xiao Long Kan in Tattersalls Lane. Familiar favourites include minced shrimp and fresh lotus root, or more daring choices like pig lung slices.
More hot pot 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.
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 Asian dessert spots in Chinatown
Sweetie and Moustache
Dessert central with the delicate and complex mille crepe cake being a specialty.
More of Chinatown's best hidden bars
Section 8 Bar
A funky outdoor bar with drinks served from a converted shipping container.
Unassuming bar that feels like a New York loft, named after a 1937 Polish novel.
Claw machines and karaoke
A far cry from the old movie theatre claw machines, the ‘UFO Catchers’ at Million Life in Target Centre are cute as can be. Test precision and coordination skills to win everything from kawaii anime plushies to quirky keychains. Keep the quirky fun times coming with karaoke at sparkly Stars KTV & Lounge. This upstairs spot features 21 dedicated rooms and songs in multiple languages.
More unique Chinatown spots
Museum of Chinese Australian History
Museum preserving and displaying the history of Chinese immigration.
Multilevel karaoke venue with private rooms, open mic karaoke bar and rooftop bar.
This cinema screens the latest Chinese-language movies.
Last updated on Thu 4 Feb 2021
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