#navbar-iframe { display: none; }

« Home | Fortune cookies, this blog and Catholic Tibetans i... » | Pomegranate syrup cake recipe » | The Sanctuary, Sydney » | All About...Romana's, Balmain » | Temasek, Parramatta » | New Star Kebabs, Auburn » | Ginger cupcakes with chai icing » | Basil pesto (and what my mother taught me) » | Growing your own oysters with The Oysterfarm, Wooli » | 2008 Food Blog Awards: Nominations now open »

Sunday, January 18, 2009

China Grand Restaurant, Haymarket Chinatown

EDIT: China Grand has now closed and been replaced with The Eight.

It took me a while to realise that Dragon Star was no more. This behemoth of yum cha, characterised by huge crowds and female 'bouncers' calling table bingo at the top of Chinatown's Market City, used to be one of our favourite haunts on Sunday mornings.

So it's been about a year since Dragon Star closed and was reborn as China Grand, a befitting name for one of the biggest single floorspaces in Chinatown devoted to yum cha.

Gao choi gow - garlic chive dumplings

The decor's had a makeover - it looks brighter, more modern and a bit more upmarket these days. There's a few too many fancy lights overhead, and it's interesting to note the built-in partitions ready to section off private rooms along the wall and down the back. The kids are also disappointed they can't check out the fish tanks, still visible but inaccessible to customers unless they brave the staff-only corridor.

Pai gwut - steamed pork ribs in black bean and chilli

We order all the usual favourites. The pai gwut is soft and tender and boasts an impressive number of black beans (too often there's nary a bean to be seen in many yum cha houses I've been to lately)

Ham soi gok - combination pork dumplings

The highlight is the ham soi gok, probably my favourite dish. I'm always nervous as I take the first bite. The audible crunch answers my prayers. It's super crisp on the outside, the thin golden veneer giving away to a chewy starchy layer of utmost deliciousness. Inside is a teaspoon of pork mince and a few chopped prawns, but for me, it's all about the casing and this is the best one I've
had for quite some time, fresh from the fryer.

Har cheung fun - prawn in long rice noodles

Har gow - prawn dumplings

The har gow prawn dumplings pass the test too, whole prawns encased in a translucent and delicate pastry skin.

Daan tart - egg custard tarts

Desserts are all pleasing too. The custard tarts have a flaky pastry, the layers so thin they leave a trail of crumbs all around your mouth. We also dig into the mango pudding, the sago pudding and a bowl of dofu fah, the fresh bean curd served with a sweet ginger syrup.

Mango pudding

Say may - baked sago pudding

View Larger Map
China Grand Restaurant on Urbanspoon

China Grand Restaurant
EDIT: China Grand has now closed and been replaced with The Eight.
Market City Level 3
9 Hay Street, Haymarket, Chinatown Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9211 8388

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Yum Cha -- East Ocean, Haymarket (Oct 08), (Aug 06), (Aug 05) and (Oct 04)
Yum Cha -- Yum Cha--Hung Cheung, Marrickville
Yum Cha -- Yum Cha--Palace Chinese, Sydney CBD
Yum Cha -- Yum Cha--Regal Restaurant, Sydney CBD
Yum Cha -- Yum Cha--Zilver, Haymarket (Jan 07) and (Feb 06)
11 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/18/2009 01:13:00 am


  • At 1/18/2009 11:28 am, Blogger Miss Honey said…

    How I love Yum Cha! Thanks for the review, I was wondering how it would be after the name change:)

  • At 1/18/2009 2:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen,

    I have recently discovered your blog and loving it - thanks for the entertainment! It was an excellent reference for my recent trip to Sydney. Thanks!

    I visited China Grand about 2 weeks ago, and unfortunately, it was not as good your experience. I have visited the Chinese restaurant in this location over the years, including when it was Kam Fook and then Dragonstar. With each incarnation, the quality seems to deteriorate a little. Several dishes ordered, including the steamed beef balls and cheung fun were stone cold! Agree that the harm soo kok was ok, as it arrived fresh from the kitchen.

    I should have been a bit wary when there were no queues (as there have been in the past)for yum cha at 12pm on Saturday. Even when we left at 1pm, there were plenty of tables available.
    Went to yum cha at Kam Fook in Chatswood the next day, and it was streaks ahead of China Grand. Looking forward when Kam Fook opens in Melbourne soon.

    It must be a Sydney thing , but why do Sydney yum cha restaurants insist on serving mango pudding in a plastic cup with a plastic spoon? This was observed in various yum cha establishments regardless of the "class" of restaurant. Hmmm...

  • At 1/18/2009 5:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    those egg custard tarts look delish!

  • At 1/18/2009 6:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That sago pudding looks great!

  • At 1/19/2009 1:52 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Miss Honey - We thought it was on par, although it has been a long time since I've been to Dragon Star. I presume it's a management change too, although these days it's hard to tell!

    Hi Custard Bun - Glad you've been enjoying the blog. Sometimes it's scarey realising how much one eats!

    Thanks for your comments on China Grand. Always good to see different points of view, altho' sad to hear some of your dishes were cold!

    It's true that mango pudding is always in a plastic cup! How do you guys get it? Real crockery? lol. I have no idea how/why this started.

    Hi MsGourmet - The pastry was impressive altho' I have to confess I've gone off custard tarts these days. I think by the time I've eaten my *ahem* share of ham soi gok I've well and truly satiated my capacity to ingest fatty goodness :)

    Hi Arwen - I love sago pudding. I should get around to making one at home again sometime. That way I can make sure the crust is extra caramelised!

  • At 1/19/2009 9:13 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The sago pudding looks good. Looks like there was a blackened spot with your name written on it

  • At 1/19/2009 4:03 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen,

    In Melbourne, mango pudding and other desserts invariably come served in crockery. Another difference I found in Sydney is that there are 4 dumplings per serve for most dishes, whilst in Melbourne the standard practice is for 3 dumplings, except for har gow which comes in quads. Peking duck was also served in Sydney as a yum cha offering, which I found unusual!


  • At 1/19/2009 5:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Aaaahh....how I love it when they have sago pudding at yum cha.

    Years ago they did serve mango pudding in a china bowl with china spoon - it does seem rather tacky that they serve it in a plastic cup - maybe its space constraints in the fridge?

  • At 1/20/2009 12:46 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Veruca Salt - You know me too well :) Just as well I didn't have to fight you for it!

    Hi Custard Bun - Some astute observations. Actually I think I remember having yum cha in Melbourne and being annoyed at the servings of three. It totally upsets the balance when you've got 4 people at the table!

    I find that many yum cha places serve all manner of dishes - all priced as Extra Special. We tend to avoid them like the plague :)

    Hi Divemummy - I think I have vague recollections of it being in crockery but yeah it's been in plastic for ages. I think you may be right. The height advantage may also be more space-efficient, plus the trays would be lighter? So many possibilities!

  • At 1/21/2009 10:35 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen,

    Speaking of Yum Cha, I've just visited Sea Treasure in Crows Nest and was surprised it's not on your list! It's pricier than most Yum Cha places in Chinatown and a lot more upmarket.

    Just in case your places-to-visit list was running dry (as if!)...

  • At 1/21/2009 10:26 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Michael - I have visited Sea Treasure once but it was PB (pre-blog) in about 2003. I do remember it was a little more expensive and upmarket. Haven't had a chance to get back there yet, and you're right, the to-eat is very long and ever increasing! Thanks for the comment and recommendation though!


Post a Comment

<< Home

      << Read Older Posts       |       >> Read Newer Posts