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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.
Tim Ho Wan
A dim sum icon, dubbed the world's most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant.
ShanDong MaMa Dumplings
Traditional eastern Chinese cuisine mixed with diverse, multicultural influences.
Party in a secret carpark during RISING
See this Chinatown car park transformed from a concrete temple to a mesmerising party palace. Sip cocktails on the Blade Runner-esque rooftop. Explore concrete pillars, glowing pyramids and a capitalist mega-church. Then descend into 'spacetime' for new-wave wine and curious merch grabs.
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.
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.
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.
Kaneda Japanese Restaurant
In Midcity Arcade, serving a range of teppanyaki, sushi, sashimi, bento boxes, tempura and noodles.
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.
Offering different types of Asian desserts: tofu pudding, herbal jelly and crushed ice.
Where to find the best bubble tea in Melbourne
Order vegan milk tea, brown sugar boba, famous Taiwanese treats and more.
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.
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.
Last updated on Wed 11 May 2022
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This modern Japanese izakaya offers traditional Japanese cuisine with a touch of Asian fusion.