Yum Cha – Marigold Citymark, Haymarket

One of my favourite ways to spend a day on the weekend is to meet friends and family to have Yum Cha – or “Dim Sum” as the yankees call it.  “Yum Cha” means “Drink tea” in Chinese, whilst “Dim Sum” is what you eat there as an accompaniment for the tea as you catch up – although in modern times, the food overshadows the tea!  Get to Marigold early, as there can be a queue from 11:30am on the weekend – an alternative to the take a number and listen to the microphone approach adopted by some.   Then when you get your table, order your tea (Jasmine, green, oolong etc), and cast your eye over the trolleys filled with steaming hot food (literally – some of the trolleys are mobile steamers filled with hot water).  I love Yum Cha also because the food is mini.  Bite sized so you can have a bit of everything.  Sorry on this trip we didn’t eat that much but here’s what we did have.

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Char Siu Bau (or BBQ pork buns) are well known to the general population as fluffly steaming white dough buns filled with sweet pork. But have you tried the baked and glazed version – with a brown top, rounded and smooth?  Another favourite bun of mine is the polo or pineapple buns, filled with custard and topped with a sweet, crispy topping.

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Essential but unhealthy – the mandatory spring rolls are crispy, deep fried asian sausage rolls – filled with mince of pork, mushrooms, and prawns if you’re lucky, as well as wood ear mushroom shreds and bamboo.  For the more health conscious, the steamed dumplings are a solid offering.  Prawn dumplings (har gau) are often chased by enthusiastic impatient diners (oh no, I would never do such a thing! ;) ) and are often the first to go; and the most asked for.  Like a steam prawn wonton, wrapped in rice paper and steamed.

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I’d say dim sims come a close second, going hand in hand with its prawn friend.  Balls of minced pork, prawn (and some pork fat shreds) are encased in a wonton wrapper, steamed and dotted with a yellow spot on top (dont’ ask me what it’s for!).  Another version is the snow pea shoot dumpling. Don’t be deceived though, it’s not vegetarian as it does have prawns in it too.  The sticky, see through rice wrapping is deliciously chewy.  Other favourites include calamari, steamed lotus seed buns, and steamed rice noodles.  Another day!  The best thing about Marigold is the parking station downstairs. $2.80 for one hour for diners! But beware, it’s $50 an hour for non-diners. D’oh!

www.marigold.com.au Level 4 and 5, 683-689 George Street, Sydney

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