Take your taste buds on a tour of great culinary empires at Chinese restaurants across Melbourne. Fill tiny bowls with Cantonese delicacies and fiery Sichuan greats, and join the city-wide debate over the best place for dumplings and the ritual Sunday yum cha.
Melbourne's silk route begins of course in and around Little Bourke Street: Chinatown. Here, the feted Flower Drum draws celebrities and foodies alike for delectable Cantonese awarded three hats in The Age Good Food Guide. Nearby, crowds gather for legendary yum cha at Shark Fin Inn and night owls slink into Melbourne after-dark institution Supper Inn.
Beyond the red and gold quadrant, you'll find elegant, contemporary northern Chinese fare tucked away upstairs at Federation Square's Bokchoy Tang, and flavours galore across the way at Southbank. Linger over banquets with river views at Red Emperor, or rub shoulders with high rollers in the deluxe surrounds of Silks and Neil Perry's two-hatted Spice Temple at Crown.
South of river, sample a modern take on family recipes from rural Shanghai at David's in Prahran. Put some fire in your belly at South Yarra's Dainty Sichuan, or try Lau's Family Kitchen, St Kilda's more wallet-friendly offering from the Flower Drum stable.
Explore Melbourne's laneways and eat streets to seek out your favourite spot for a special occasion, lazy yum cha or quick dumpling fix, or pick up sticks at some of our favourites below.