How Expensive Is Yumcha?

So I like Yumcha, not love, have it a few times per year some places it's hard if they don't speak English but that usually means it's better!

Went yesterday to a place that's apparently mid priced we had only the ones in the bamboo containers, none of those large plate specialties.

2 @$7.50
4 @8.50
[email protected] $9.50
[email protected] 12.50
=$83.50 for 3 people, (2 of them a small eaters)

We got free tea for some reason, the waitress kept telling us it was free in Chinese/English, 'twas pretty funny. That's almost $30 per head for lunch.

The Chinese place a few doors down, that sells BBQ pork/duck on rice/noodles for $12, looks like a mighty better option!


      • +3

        Not true. A friend of mine is a dim sum che. he and his team start work early to make Dim Sum and work thru the day till yum cha is closed.

        The only thing that’s frozen is sweet and sour pork.

        • +2

          I said there aren't very many, not that there aren't any at all. My mate does the deliveries for these items to a number of different yum cha restaurants and even he was surprised when he first started the job not that long ago.

    • Usually hand made on the day LOL

  • +1

    The tea is normally $1.5 / head with free refills.
    The squid is pretty expensive. It's normally $12.50 so I stopped ordering it.
    It used to be $20-30 a head for me but the last two years it's more expensive so I often ask for a receipt.

  • +4

    Expensive price to quantity ratio, like sushi train. But it's the price you pay for the experience and ability to choose/eat lots of different things. You don't go everyday do you?

    The only "white" people equivalent I can think of which is similar is tapas, all you can eat buffet and 10+ course degustation types, which are equally (if not more) expensive.

    But yeah, we paid over $100 for two at Palace in Stocklands Piccadilly…we don't go there any more.

  • If you think about anywhere you go at a dine in restaurant mains are $15 then you add an entree or desert plus drink $30pp is pretty normal.

  • +27

    Yum cha is one of those places - You eat until you're content and then just pay the total bill at the end. It takes the enjoyment out of it if you start looking at the price of individual items. Especially the plates of greens! lol!

  • +2

    Sounds about right. Yum cha isn't cheap but it's worth it once in a while!

  • +6

    How Expensive Is Yumcha?

    It's a rip-off..

    • +5

      try making them yourself and then see whether going to yum cha is expensive.

  • -2

    Always found it a rip off, and never feel full at the end of it. Suspect many of these places just use the same frozen stuff you buy from the Asian grocer anyway.

    • -1

      Have heard both stories that the dumplings are made in house, or they are mass produced somewhere

      But they do certainly taste a lot better than frozen supermarket ones

    • +1

      A common misconception but Dim Sums were always literally that, Dim Sums, or small items. It is an accompaniment to enjoy when drinking tea. You're not supposed to get full off it. Western culture changed this perception of the practice.

    • Idk why you got downvotes by telling the truth.
      One of my friends used to work in a pub, the boss buys frozen spring rolls from Coles, deep fry, put in a plate, Bang, $10 for 3 rolls.

  • +1

    Half Price MrChens

  • +1

    BBQ duck/pork with rice & green vege, from a place that specialises in Chinese BBQ, is usually the best value.

  • We just went to yumcha yesterday! 4 people = $80 for 9 orders (3 of us are smaller eaters), your price seems reasonable for quantity ordered.

  • +11

    i had yumcha with my office collegues at North Sydney as farewell and welcome lunch.

    My collegues were chineses so i prefred yumcha. When bill arrived it came to about $ 225 for 3 of us and i felt it was on higher side and being an accounts team we started auditing ourselves and my chinese collegue went to desk and ask for menu and we found that they have added lobster and crab as item we ate. When my collegue spoke to them the owner started appologising and blaming the serving clerk that they had made mistake and invoice drop to $95

    • Which place was this? Similar experience at a Chatswood one a few years ago: $267 for four people but the most expensive dish that we apparently had six of was in Chinese on the receipt …

    • it's a global scam from some Chinese restaurants. Last time we travelled to New Zealand and got charged ~250 NZD for a fking blue cod, despite in the menu the price is significantly cheaper. Their explanation that was "fresh" vs fillet

  • +1

    I would say $83.00 for 3 persons for yumcha is really expensive. Last time I went in 4 persons group was charged $68.00 which I already consider expensive. The restaurant we went is at Wartina South- a mid one.

    • +3

      Can you let me know me know the name of the restaurant and if the food is any good?

      I think $17 a person for yumcha is extremely cheap!

      • +1

        should try Hong Kong Dim Sum in Glen Waverley, its more like a take away shop with seating at the front. Always had a cheap feed from there but then again I dont eat much. $5 congee, $2.5 chinese donut & $1.9 Chicken Pie is normally enough for me.

        • Yeah been there a few times both as the Yum Cha restuarant and the normal dinner restaurant, most recently a few months ago. Seeing the Refrigerators doors locked up is always a delight! lol It's like it's run by two different business sharing the space.

          $5 is for plain congee, I'm more of a preserved egg and pork guy, that's $8.5. TBH I didn't find it cheaper than normal yum cha such as Imperial Kingdom or Secret Kitchen.

          And if I'm paying a similar amount, I'd rather not collect my own cutlery and sit on plastic chairs! haha

          I will admit the food is on point there and I do like how it's cooked to order like in HK.

          Going to the toilet there is an adventure, through the tight kitchen, past the steamers and deep fryers. Too dangerous to let my kids go to the toilets unsupervised. At least it didn't too too unhygienic.

          • @JimB: Yeah your right its only marginally cheaper. I guess not having waiter/waitress pushing around a cart tempting everyone with treats makes it cheaper as well. Ive been meaning to try favourite kitchen near me one day.

            • @Dr Techno: Favourite Kitchen is ok.. not as good as Secret Kitchen IMO.

              Been there probably about 10 times. It's never that busy and we have a large family so it's always easy to get a last minute booking for 20.

              Mei Jing around the corner is popular. Been there a few times but can't remember how the yum cha is there.. so that must mean it's not bad nor excellent.. lol

              • @JimB: went to Mei Jing. boy it would have been 6 years ago was pretty busy.. cant remember if it was always that name or changed owners since then. In the early 00's I use to go to Shark Fin house and inn in the city but I think thats now average these days. Went to Tai Pan in Doncaster East that was pretty good but way too busy. I use to go to Dragon boat heaps in Knox City, only since it was okay and it was local. Always wanted to try Crystal Jade in the city. but then again yum cha tastes better overseas. cant wait for next overseas trip in next few years.

  • Went 2 weeks ago at the Crystal Seafood restaurant in Strathfield. 4 people, $143.00. Standard selection, double ups on har how, sui mei, mango pancakes, etc. one fried squid legs plate and 2 cokes probably tipped it over the normal $120. So yes, it was a tad speccy.

    We stay away from greens, pipis, shellfish specials…

    • Forget the cokes.. its yum cha ;)

  • +3

    Yum Cha are meant to be expensive as the dim sum are individually made. Basically, they are a luxury lunch, hard to compare with BBQ pork which cost about $12. You visit Yum Cha occassionally to satisfy your taste bud, if you have a regular lunch BBQ pork/duck will be the way to go. I must say most asian dishes you get from Chinese restaurant are less expensive and get more bang for your buck than other cuisine from other restaurant.

  • BTW, Ozgainers, which is place in Sydney has the best price for Yum Cha?

    • I would ask which is the best place for Yum Cha, and what is the price there per/person on 70% full :). Genuine question and ask for a gwa low mate lolz.

      • Let me rephrase, I would like to know the cheapest place for Yum Cha in terms of price of small, medium, large, extra large, after discount, if the place also offers free tea. Thanks

  • +4

    I'd expect to pay between $30 and $40 per head at yumcha, so $83 for 3 is perfectly reasonable.

  • +1

    Depends a lot on where you go and how honnest are people working there. I went once to the Imperial one at burwood chinatown ( the one upstairs) The service was super slow and after only 4 dish , my partner gave up on trying to order anything else.. for 2 har gow and 2 siu mai plates we were charged $65. We were totally shocked as this is way overpriced compared to any other yum cha we went too. On top of that they charged us the tea and the chilli sauce. Never went there again as it was a total ripped off. Most of yum cha around sydney have a fairly pricing depends on the dish you order . So if you pay 9 dish for $80 that s a really good price!

    • Yes, I remembered some places charges fee for sauce but I think last time we were charged for sauce they advertised free tea. So for them to charge both, I will never go there, total rip off. I guess after a while, when the place at burwood becomes deserted, they may offer special to try to get some customers back. Restaurant often advertised how much discount they offer for yum Cha, I usually ring them for the price of a medium, large dish etc before deciding if it is worthwhile to go.

  • +1

    i wouldn't be focused on price at yum Cha, restaurant setting, quality of the food, Variety of the food.

    i frequent places that have a good variety in the selection.. the usual selection everyone has, it's the ones outside that selection to me makes a difference. usually those special ones are made in house and fresh.

  • Yum cha has definitely gotten a lot more expensive than it used to, especially for the quality / style of food. But people go for the social factor and experience plus people are a lot more cashed up these days (at least the ones that do yum cha often). I would much rather do a chinese seafood banquet (pricier though) or a chinese banquet than yum cha. You get variety of food and generally more worthwhile / value.

  • +1

    I think yum cha now in restaurant is way too expensive, and you're right, they tend to get rid of you as soon as possible - which is not really nice.

    Now I just buy the frozen ones as it's way cheaper - though the quality is of course not as good as the fresh one. There's a store in flemington that sells good frozen dimsums.

  • +2

    Er… Yum cha is Chinese high tea. It literally is 'drink tea'. I dunno why anyone expects it to be any cheaper than the high tea places out there. Also the best equation is more ppl = more variety = good social time. We pad our stomachs with lots of tea as well to reduce the need for 2 of the same dish(esp if we had tea charge of $1.50 pp). We also pick the tea we want to drink instead of just jasmine all the time. We also get the cart ladies to cut a lot of the stuff in half and eat smaller bites of everything.

    Dim sum house =/= yum cha. If you want just dumplings and YumCha dishes at cheap prices, you would get them at a place that you can take out the specific dishes.

    I can go on and on about tips on yum cha but jeez… There's a system to get the maximum benefit out of yum cha everyone hasn't figured it out yet without going with a seasoned mate at yum cha ordering.

  • we usually go group of at least 6-10 people usually. Depending on where you eat obviously more exxy in the city, probably around $40 bucks pp if not a bit more.

    if you go to say Cabra or Husrtville it will be a lot cheaper like 35 pp

  • +2

    No one has mentioned that yum cha is for the atmosphere. Buying takeaway/frozen dumplings may be more filling. But how do you compared coffee made at home compared to coffee at the local Cafe? Sometimes you just pay more for the ambience.

    • +1

      The ambience at yum cha? It's a noise factory in most places. That's why I hardly go.

      I prefer home made coffee made to my exact specifications it's not that hard.

  • +2

    15 years ago my parents take us to yum cha every week. They had specials for $3.50 each plate and total bill came to about $50 and we were all full

    Don't think you can get these prices anymore.

    • I’ve been to Marigold a few times a year since last century, (but not since COVID) and agree it used to be cheaper, but I still wouldn’t expect to pay over $30pp even including a drink in addition to tea.

      I suppose 10y ago there started to be some more upmarket yum cha, which I guess is driving the price inflation.

      • Marigold was recommended to me by my friend who eats out with her family quite often and I think they really have lost their heydays, we went sometime in summer in 2019, the service was so poor and the price was so expensive for the portion and the taste. Had Yumcha in Shark Finn Inn at Melbourne and it was 10x better, the whole establishment was fancier and the wait staff were just all very much more professional, demeanor wise and dress wise. Price was really good, but then again it was in Melbourne, ahhhh the inflation here in Sydney.

        I don’t know if the management has changed at Marigold over the years, but I got the feeling waitstaff at Marigold aren’t paid handsomely.. a lot of them are older generation Chinese that are pretty pissed probably underpaid and overworked and I had to do more than just waive the Yumcha ladies over to get service, had to get my Yumcha by yelling what they want when they came nearby with the Yumcha trolley. It was so packed that day, sometime near Christmas, I understand that must’ve been a factor.

        The food was lacking as well for the price, I am Australian Chinese who has had Yumcha in its homeland in Canton, China so I’d like to say I have a reliable palette for judging what is authentic and good tasting Yumcha.

    • +1

      15 years ago


      Back in my day, you could get 10 red frogs for 1 penny :p

      • My dad gives money to people that doesn't have money…
        And then people use that money, and then they give other money back and they give the same amount of money back to my dad.

    • Inflation adjusted $50 from 2006 is probably more than I pay now.

  • -1

    quick, rush to eat a whole bunch of deep fried crap in a packed noisy restaurant, now get out the next batch of customers are waiting!

    no thanks

    • sounds like authentic service

    • +8

      Most of the dishes are steamed, dude.

  • Fortune Palace at Carlingford NSW is relatively cheap if you live near the area.

  • +1

    I miss the all you can eat yum cha from dragon boat from my uni days.
    Only time I eat yum cha now is when I travel overseas…that didn't happen last year and I don't know when it will be next.

  • $30 for lunch is on the steep side but it is actually cheap for Yum Cha

  • +1

    All you can eat yum cha for less than 27 p/p in Melbourne. You get your yum cha fix, you'll get full, you bring 20 doggy bags, win-win.

    You're welcome.

    • permanently closed "(

    • +1

      I think dubdub bankrupted them!

  • +2

    Anyone in Melbourne remember the all you can eat yum cha for $30 in Lonsdale St? Man that was good, we got 28 dishes between 2 people once.

  • I usually pay $35-40 for two people here in Adelaide.

  • +1

    I thought it just me who find yum cha have become a lot more expensive. Wait until you have dinner at the same place.

    I don't know why it is so expensive especially when so many yum cha place the food is terrible. I just buy dim sim at Chinese place that makes them locally and cook it myself at home.

    Maybe because millennial don't go yum cha as much and they have to increase the price to survive. I just go to alternative Asian restaurant as there is much more to choose than back in 90's

  • +3

    🤔 Vinh Phat Yum Cha at Cabramatta, 2 teenagers and 2 primary and myself, around $70-$80 including mango crepes. Partner and I, average around $48.. We only eat seafood varieties.. for eg: pork dim sum we dont like, we prefer scallop or prawn

    • +1

      Yep … Cabramatta Yum Cha is where it's at for value for money.

  • +1

    Yumcha is normally $30-$40 p/p (subject to restaurant and amount ordered) so your figures are about right.

    Edit: Sydney price.

  • +3

    Just buy from Best Tastes Dim Sim in Flemington, NSW or Delight Dim Sim in Hurstville, NSW or Ho's Dim Sim Kitchen in the Sydney CBD (but the former two are better than Ho's). And steam it yourself.

    Yum cha is woeful and expensive in Sydney, can't even get a Chiu Chow fun gor or a malay cake (amongst other classics) for crying out loud.

    No idea what the equivalent is in other cities.

    • +1

      I find that I can get malay cake at most places if I just ask for it. Does take 15 minutes to steam up though.

  • +1

    That price is about what I usually pay for 2 people. I will say yum cha probably is "expensive for what you get", but, meh, I enjoy it … and when I'm actually "going out" for a meal, I want to enjoy it far more than I'm interesting in quibbling over a few bucks.

  • +3

    Went recently to a place in Bankstown NSW - 6ppl ~$108 total.

    Depends what you order. My family is pretty old school on stuff we order - mainly steamed dim sum, never any deep fried stuff, special items and never any greens (the biggest ripoff!)

    • can you name the place where its as i too live near bankstown

  • was this on a public holiday? usually they have a public holiday surcharge per head.

    otherwise usual yum cha for 4 adults would be 20 - 25$ per person. This is usual dim sum and none of those special items in which they cook up for you.

    • +1

      Must be premium place or premium dishes to spend that much.

  • I go to Yumcha for the egg tarts and the mango pudding. Good dumplings are a bonus. We've always paid ~35-50 per person shared between two (and a child). Never got free tea, had to pay each time. In Melbourne, Golden Dragon Place in Templestowe is our current go-to, otherwise it was Gold Leaf in Burwood. Both are pretty good in my opinion.

  • +1

    Your place is too expensive in my opinion. Either you were ordering all the premium dishes or its a high end yum cha with prices to match. Given you seem quite price conscious, I recommend Fortune Place in Chatswood Mandarin Centre. I believe its $5.60 per dish on weekdays, and $5.90 per dish on weekends & public holidays. They also didn't charge for tea. Try to choose the pricier dishes which aren't $5 usually at other places. If you go here your would struggle to spend more than $25 pp. If you want premium but not too expensive I would try Fisherman's Wharf in Sydney Fish market its definitely a hidden gem. Marigold is very well known and popular too but I feel it is more expensive and the seafood is not as cheap or good there, but this doesn't apply as much to yum cha. These ones I've spent between $25-$35pp depending on who I'm eating with. If your place is the same standard, 3 for $83 is perfectly reasonable.

  • +7

    had a friend once didn't know what har gow was called so he described it to me as the dumplings with prawns inside a condom

    thank you for reading

  • That’s cheap! When my family of 4 eat, it’s usually minimum $140.

  • i stopped going to yumcha locally because 1) overpriced 2) shit 3) overpriced shit ..

    • -1

      More like yuck cha! Yeah it's terrible food.

  • I used to like Yum Cha until it got to $15-20/person in the late 90's. Now over 2 decades later it's $30-$40/person and I rarely go.

    Went to Yum Cha during the Easter holiday and got stung $165 for 4 adults. It's only for special occasions now and not a family's favourite regular visit.

    • +1

      yep Im the same too just for special occasions or when on an overseas trip to HK. If I do go here its generally with alot of friends so we can have more dishes.

  • +1

    i don’t think it’s fair to compare yumcha with duck/ pork rice 🤷‍♂️

  • how long is a piece of string?
    you could get packet noodles for about $1 as well

    • Or Coles’ instant noodles, 5 packs for $1

  • When I came to Australia 6 yrs ago, I was shocked seeing the menu for the first time at a Yum Cha place.

    It is definitely overpriced, but it's your choice.

    • Where did you come from?

  • $25 is good, $30-$35 if we went in ravenous

  • My wife and I can eat over $100 on our own. Definitely in the $100-$150 range with our 2 kids.

    Also, it's hard for you to compare the "value" of two different cuisines (and their setting). There is no generic "Chinese cuisine". Different regions have very different types of food and their pricing can vary dramatically depending on ingredients used, labour-intensiveness, restaurant setting, etc.

  • When I have yum cha with 2 people it's around 50~80 pending how adventurous and hungry we are.