A Local’s Guide to Sydney’s Chinatown and Haymarket

You'll never know what you'll discover.

where to eat chinatown
Photo: d3sign/Getty Images

Home to a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, Sydney’s Chinatown is a vibrant neighbourhood to eat your way through. To get the local’s guide, we’ve enlisted Sydney pastry chef and MasterChef alumni Reynold Poernomo to talk about the diverse mix of eateries on offer in Chinatown, Haymarket, and Darling Square—including his favourite spots to grab a snack.

From old-school seafood eateries and hole-in-the-wall noodle shops to exciting new precincts offering a modern take on Asian street food, Sydney’s Chinatown is one of the best in the world.

MORE: How To Cook Reynold Poernomo’s Winter One Pot Wonder

where to eat chinatown

Where to get the best lunch

According to Poernomo, you will find his favourite lunch dish at the Malaysian restaurant, Ho Jiak.

“Their char kway teow is the best I can find in Sydney. I love the little bits of fried lard that are scattered throughout the noodles—they create an extra burst of flavour as you eat.”

where to eat chinatown
Photo: @dodeepaidang

Where to get the best late-night feed

With its night-time noodle markets and restaurants open late into the evening, Sydney’s Chinatown is a popular spot for a late-night feed.

“On a really late night, I love to go to Thai noodle joint Dodee Paidang for a level three or four of their spicy tom yum noodle soup; I love Thai food and everything spicy. They are open until 12 am over the weekend, and their keaw tod (deep-fried quail eggs wrapped in wonton wrappers) makes a great midnight snack.  

where to eat chinatown
Photo: @editionroasters

Where to get the best coffee

Chinatown has evolved its offering over the years. You can now find lots of sophisticated cafes and modern eateries, including Edition Roasters. According to Poernomo, they roast their own beans, which means the quality is high. He often grabs it to go, but the cafe’s interior is a great place to sit and relax.

where to eat chinatown
Photo: @bengongstea

Where to get the best dessert

Surprisingly, Poernomo is not a big dessert eater, although when in the neighbourhood, he enjoys a tub or two (yes, seriously) of the classic super dulce de leche flavour from Gelato Messina. “I’m a huge gelato fiend.

He also frequents Bengong Black for a good soft serve drink and Yomie’s in Haymarket for a purple rice yoghurt post-dinner treat.

Photo: @marketcity

Three must-dos in Chinatown and Haymarket

According to Poernomo, catching a musical or theatre performance at the Capitol Theatre is a must. As is exploring the diverse eateries and Asian groceries at Market City. For a late-night feast, stop by Bornga Korean BBQ.

where to eat chinatown
Photo: @dintaifungaustralia

More Food

Head to Din Tai Fung (World Square) for juicy dumplings and an extensive menu of Chinese dishes, including sweet and sour pork, braised beef noodle soup, and more. If you’re in the mood for noodles, try Dainty Sichuan Noodle Kitchen. They have a signature dish, Chongqing spicy noodle, which is a must-try. Mr Chen Beef Noodle is a hole in the wall, with a chef boasting over 41 years of experience cooking traditional Chinese food.

Boon Cafe at Jarren Chai Grocer serves up delicious Thai sandwiches and pastries, including a pandan croissant.

You can’t go to Chinatown without going to yum cha. The Eight is a great spot, with endless choices. Marigold is also a Sydney icon for yum cha, known for their dumplings.

MORE: Where To Find Sydney’s Best Best Specialty Food Stores

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.


All of the Sydney Food News You Need to Know

For all your Sydney food moments.

Family or friends having pizza party dinner. Flat-lay of people clinking glasses with red wine over rustic wooden table with various kinds of Italian pizza, top view. Fast food lunch, celebration (Family or friends having pizza party dinner. Flat-lay
Photo By Foxys_forest_manufacture/Getty Images

There’s plenty to celebrate this year, from new menus to restaurants throwing parties, bottomless brunches, and more.

Here, we have the latest on Sydney’s food news, from chefs taking over restaurants to limited-edition menus and feasts for all your friends to enjoy.

  • To celebrate World Gin Day, and for one week only, gin and food lovers can try nagashi-sōmen—translating to ‘flowing noodles’— which sees noodles sent down a bamboo chute for diners to collect with chopsticks. The one-off experience will be hosted at Kid Kyoto, where guests can enjoy their flowing noodles alongside a menu paired with delicious KI NO BI Gin cocktails. Purchase tickets here.
  • Tuck into a Fireball Burger
  • Feeling the cold? Fireball Whisky and Bar Luca have teamed up for the ultimate firey menu. Offered for a limited time only, head down to Bar Luca for $6 Fireball shots all day, a Fireball shot and cocktail on arrival, and an all-you-can-eat bites of the full “Blame Fireball” menu on Saturday, July 1. Book a spot here
  • For two nights only, on Tuesday the 20th and Tuesday 27th of June, Graeme Hunt, Head Chef of Sydney’s trending late-night bar and dining venue at Zaffi, will be stepping up to the kitchen at award-winning bar PS40. Pop-up guests can expect a mosaic of colourful Lebanese-inspired bar snacks paired with exclusive midweek sips made by the mastermind behind the experimental bar, Michael Chiem.
  • Fan of Cinderella? The Great Hall is transforming into The Royal Palace for an enchanting high tea from July 1-2. There will be dancing and fun, and then Cinderella will run out of the venue leaving behind her glass slipper—the search for the missing beauty will begin. Tickets for the Cinderella High Tea costs $80-85 and you can purchase them here.
  • Grill’d has dropped two new burgers, and they’re beyond anything we could have imagined. Taking inspiration from Mexico, Grilld’s two new burgers are a Zesty Mexi and Luxe Nacho Burger. The Zesty Mexi features a black bean pattie with corn chips, tasty cheese, slaw, jalapenos, and chipotle mayo mixed with green tomatillo lime salsa. For meat lovers, the Luxe Nacho Burger is the same as the Zesty Mexi, but with a premium Wagyu pattie.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.


Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.