WellingtonEat & Drink
The exterior of Dragons Chinese restaurant.

Modern yum cha is about three things: dim sum, tea, and connection. Dragons Restaurant on Tory Street nails each one.

Yum cha involves small portions of steamed, pan-fried, and deep-fried dim sum dishes, served in bamboo steamers and washed down with tea. All dishes are designed to be eaten communally, because, at its core, yum cha is about people meeting and sharing food.

Interior of Dragons restaurant, with chinese cultural items around the room.

If you’ve never tried yum cha before, the general advice is to take your time when choosing food. Servers circle the restaurant offering lots of small dishes. See what’s on offer before making decisions. To begin with, say yes to the tea. Jasmine tea is a quintessential yum cha tradition. Always pour someone else’s tea before you pour your own. Look out for steamed items like Har gao (shrimp dumpling), siu mai (parcels of pork, shrimp and mushroom), and, for the intrepid, fung chau (chicken feet).

After the steamed items it’s time for fried food — squid, dumplings, spring rolls. But remember to save room for dessert. You don’t want to miss out on custard buns, mango pudding, or Portuguese egg tarts.

The busiest day at Dragons is Sunday when the whole restaurant is bustling with large groups. If you like people watching it’s a great time to head along. If you’re after a quieter experience, try a weekday lunch.