Golden Dragon Palace – yum cha

363 Manningham Rd
Templestowe, 3108
9852 4086

Foreword: I must again point out, that I will try REALLY hard to lower my benchmark – set so very high after returning from my Michelin star experience in Hong Kong – and try to not be excessively unenthusiastic or critical of Yum-cha in Melbourne.

A pre-Harry Potter-theatre lunch at yet another yum cha place … not that I’m complaining. Though I pass it quite frequently whilst in the driver seat, and have heard many reviews both good and bad, I’ve never really set foot inside this place before. The name is reflected in the sense of grandeur when you step inside, from the dragon theme carvings, to the old-fashioned chandeliers dangling above us, and even the throne-like comfy leather chairs – which I noted were quite heavy and clumsy to get in and out of, but comfy nonetheless.

P.S. Apologies for the atrociously blurry photos – I left my SLR at home and I didn’t use flash either…

Top left: Har gao (prawn dumplings);
Top right: I think this was corn & prawn dumpling;
Bottom left: Chinese spinach & pork dumpling;
Bottom right: Shark fin Dumpling.

The skin wrapping the piping-hot steamed dumplings had a nice transparency and a chewy bite, and only occasional imperfections – i.e. breaks in the seal of the skin. The little morsels of meat inside were juicy and flavoursome, with the siu mai (see below) being particular succulent. Actually I wonder now if it was just the steam wafting up that caused my photos to be blurry…hm.

Top Left: Siu Mai (pork & mushroom dumpling)
Top Right: Glutinous rice ball & Chinese sausage – Being rather bland and unremarkable, I wouldn’t recommend the glutinous rice ball.
Bottom Left:
Century egg & lean pork congee – I soon learned after ordering this, that noone else on the table was going to have any, but luckily the congee was a winner – it was perfectly 綿(see below) with chunks of earthy century egg and crispy yau ja gwai. To all those shocked by these “eggs”, actually once cooked the century eggs are quite subtle in flavour.

綿 (meen) – Cantonese term used to describe the soft and velvety texture of Cantonese congee)

Century egg – 皮蛋 (aka preserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg…etc) – are essentially eggs preserved with clay, ash, salt, lime and rice hulls for a period of time (generally between several weeks to months). The end result is a dark green yolk, brown-tinged white and on the palate it is jelly-like in texture with a slight sulfuric odor. Depending on the region, there are various ways of eating century eggs – have it cooked with congee, presented as a cold dish with various pickled vegetables or even eaten with tofu.

Chinese doughnut – 油炸鬼(Yao ja gwai) in Cantonese /油条 (you tiao) in Mandarin – are deep fried strips of dough, commonly eaten with congee or soy milk in East and South East Asian communities.

Bottom Right: Mango pancake – Delicious mouthfuls of sweet mango, cream and eggy-pancake wrap. Though I personally prefer the ice cream (instead of cream) version.

Left: Silken tofu & sweet syrup – decently well done tofu that is smooth and soft. The syrup is not too sweet though lacking in a hint of ginger.

As simple as it looks, this dessert is notoriously difficult to perfect. From the delicate silken tofu that must be divinely velvety and soft, to the syrup broth that needs to be both not too sweet and not too strong on the ginger but enough to convey acidity, and finally to the skilled scooping so that no evidence of broken tofu is seen. Sigh, me and my HongKong standards now… apologies.

Right: Mango pearl tapioca pudding (sai mai lo) – tasty but rather dilute of tapioca pearls. I prefer my sai mai lo to be thicker and denser in flavour – but even in HongKong there are many many variations of this, so it’s more a personal preference.

Thanks to my awesome *ahem* photography skills and memory, I have forgotten to take some photos and took some terrible photos of a few other ones. Anyways, from what I can remember … The scallop dumpling was actually surprisingly scrumptious, with slices of crisp scallops wedged between the juicy pork this was another winner of a dumpling for me. The hand-made beef balls were ok, but nothing like the melt-in-your-mouth version at Tim Ho Wun.

Rating: provisional Yummy, possibly +1 for a number of the dishes, though contrasted with a number of lacklustre items.

From my initial impression, this place serves reasonably tasty Cantonese Yum cha in pleasant surroundings with polite service, but it also comes with a steeper price tag than other suburban yum cha restaurants. I may well adjust this rating at later visits when I have acquainted myself with a wider array of dim sums, especially since there were many dishes that I’d normally order which we didn’t. Can you believe I didn’t have egg tarts – tragedy!!!

There are clearly no sign of the haphazard service and rudeness as the likes of Tai Pan, though I myself actually much prefer the lively yum cha atmosphere at Tai Pan with the frequent metallic “cling-clangs”, rowdy conversations and more importantly a greater variety of dim sums.

Golden Dragon Palace on Urbanspoon

10 Responses to “Golden Dragon Palace – yum cha”
  1. I grew up with tofu far. I can tell you, a good tofu far has a melt in the mouth texture, not jelly like. Not only that, it must have a strong taste of soy beans. It will have a faint greenish aftertaste due to the soy beans . Good tau fu far must come with cane sugar syrup infused with old ginger.

  2. Ms JH says:

    hmmm for the price premium, doesn’t look like anythings different from the cheaper alternative. how does the mango pancake compare to taipan’s mango pancake?

  3. Agnes says:

    You didn’t eat an egg tart?!? GET OUT.

  4. Bryan says:

    Great description of the dishes. It’s funny how I found everything not that great here, while you seemed to like it quite a bit. The photos look good actually. ^.^

  5. drsmart says:

    you should try taotao house 🙂

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  • Food RATING scale

    Unpleasant: damn upset my desire to eat

    Average: palatable but many shortcomings

    Yummy: a pleasant experience

    Yummy +1: mouth-watering like rain

    Yummy +2: exquisite flavours that hit all the right notes

    Divine: sheer culinary perfection!

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