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Sep 10, 2012 09:57 PM

Chinese food in Australia ....

... How does it compare with the stuff found in the northern hemisphere?

Better than NYC? Or SF?

Better than Southern CA?

Better than Vancouver or Toronto?

Or does it make San Diego's Chinese food scene seem like Hong Kong west?

For those who know, where does it rank?

(and I don't mean "Chinese-Australian food" when I ask this question)

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  1. Australia has a huge Asian population. I've been told their Asian food (quality and selection) is amazing and doesn't begin to compare to what we have here in California. This is from my cousin (went to grad school there), and my uncle and brother in law who both live there.

    1. I had amazing Szechuan food in Sydney's Chinatown. Best I've ever had, and I've eaten in NYC, Toronto and San Francisco's Chinatowns, although not extensively.

      1. Ipsedixit..............
        I haven't been in about 15 years, but from memory the Regional Chinese Foods were very close to what I ate in China. The availability of fresh "Chinese" vegetables, etc was overwhelming in major Australian cities.
        The one 'disappointment' is that Classic Cantonese Chinese Cuisine was not commonly available. Most of the immigrants/Restaurantuers seemed to be cooking in the Szechuan, Hunan and especially Hong Kong style (with the pending return of Hong Kong to China from the UK).

        Was last in China and HK in 1997.

        9 Replies
        1. re: bagelman01

          I used to visit Hong Kong 3 or 4 times a year until around 1997 as well. I certainly wasn't as well informed on cuisines then as I am now, but I'd be interested in knowing how you'd differentiate between Hong Kong and Cantonese cuisines in those years. To my memory the influence of Canton in Hong Kong was so strong that I'd be hard-pressed for an answer.

          1. re: Midlife

            Back then, The Hong Kong Cuisine was more refined and cosmopolitan with almost 100 years of British Rule. It had far more seafood and less meat. The vegetables were cut and served in smaller pieces. Also, because of the British influence I remember far more dishes being brought to the table as servings for one diner. In Canton bowls tended to be brought to the table with family sized portions and it was expected all would share. More pork and chicken, rougher cut and larger vegetables.

            This is all memory, that can fade over time. I had been to HK in 1974, 78, 82, 85 and 97. We were in China itself for a month and visited (and ate in) many regions.

            1. re: bagelman01

              I don't recall much in the way of individual servings, but I was always there on business and large group dinners were always "family" style.

            2. re: Midlife

              I visited Hong Kong and Guangzhou before 1997. Back then, *some* HK restaurants were clearly influenced by the West--HK fast food in single person serving sizes. This was also true of the HK cafes.

              In Guangzhou, the food I had was a bit more exotic--civet, snake, cats, etc. My HK friends thought we were crazy to try those things. However, HK cooking has very strong roots in Cantonese cooking. We had many meals in HK restaurants that were nearly identical to ones that we had in Guangzhou and the surrounding countryside.

            3. re: bagelman01

              I'd totally disagree...a large percentage of Chinese restaurants in Sydney are CAntonese style ...especially in the suburbs ...perhaps the restaurants that get the critical write ups are not though.

              1. re: grapsta

                grapsta, I have no idea what the Chinese restaurants in Sydney "ARE"
                as my post started, i haven't been in about FIFTEEN years. I wrote about what I found then.

                So, as you are comparing apples and oranges and we have no time machine, there is no disagreement.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  fair enough ....but there would have been even more Cantonese and less Sichuan / Hunana back then. just saying .

                  1. re: grapsta

                    I was last there when the Uk was handing Hong Kong back to China. The previous few years there had been an influx of HK Chinese into Australia and they seeme dto be the dominant restaurant operators. I am not a particular fan of HK style Chinese food.

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      I have eaten a lot 'Hong Kong Style WESTERN Food' ( like Russian Borscht, Baked Tomato sauce Ox-tongue Spaghetti, Chicken a la king on rice..etc), usually serve in cafeteria style establishments.
                      But what is ' Hong Kong Style CHINESE food'??!! Considering there are so many Michelin star establishments in Hong Kong offering great Chinese food. Which area of these 'Chinese food' you do not like??!! Curious to know!!

            4. Ipse,
              Are you planning a visit to Australia?

              2 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  We thank you in advance for exploring the cuisine. Happy journeys!

              1. How do I rate the Chinese found in the places listed above?

                1) Sydney, Melbourne in Australia. Sad to say, those I'd had in Perth, Brisbane or Adelaide weren't as good.

                2) Southern CA

                3) NYC

                4) SF Bay Area

                I'd not been to Toronto or Vancouver but understand from other Chowhounds that the Canadian cities have *much* better Chinese food than anywhere in the US.