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How To Do Yum Cha At Home

For Yum Cha devotees, there’s no greater pleasure than perusing an endless stream of trolleys filled-to-overflowing with exotic Asian delights for weekend brunch.

But Yum Cha doesn’t have to be experienced exclusively in a restaurant – with a bit of know how, you can throw a Yum Cha dinner party or lunch with a real difference!

Head Chef Jin Kung, who has designed the award winning Yum Cha menu at LL Wine & Dine, as well as PaperPlanes delicious inter-Asian offering, gives us her tips to hosting our own Yum Cha experience. Plus don't feel like it has to be all about Chicken Feet, dumplings and steamed greens, Jin also shares her advice on serving up great fusion cooking!

What dishes would you recommend if someone wanted to try Yum Cha at home?

Most Asian groceries have a wide range of quality frozen dumplings – this would be the best place to start. A simple Prawn Har Gow or Sui Mai would be your best bet as they are simple to prepare and easy to identify when cooked through. They are a perfect accompaniment to steamed Gai Lan and a bottle of Oyster Sauce is a perfect topping for this.

In your view, what is the essential ingredient of Yum Cha?

Well Yum Cha is all about drinking tea while eating! So a good quality Chinese tea!

You’re a fine art graduate. From an aesthetic viewpoint, what is your most important tip when it comes to presentation of food?

From years of aesthetic training experience, when I think about presentation of food, there are few key points that I will look into when food comes onto plate, such as colour contrast of ingredients, balance of positioning in between different pieces and stability of each item. This is pretty much like when painting something on a canvas, composition, choice of materials, colors and what skills to apply on it, all these will effect the outcome of art piece. When food looks good it tastes better too!

You’ve worked in restaurants ranging from Italian, French and Japanese cuisines. What is your home cooking tip for someone who wanted to try and fuse cuisines from different countries, such as French, Italian and Japanese?

Start with simple dishes that you know and eat often, this will allow you to understand the flavours and as you experiment with ‘fusing’ you will have a better gage of what works with what. Find some interesting recipes and don't be afraid to fail; cooking is fun and should be light hearted – if you stress it will be transferred into the dish.
Try new combinations with two traditional dishes from different cuisines – you’ll be amazed at how things that shouldn’t go can be combined with simple ingredients and techniques. Japanese and French cuisine pair perfectly as both cultures are all about quality, freshness and presentation.

You recently travelled the globe with the Barge8 team to get inspiration for your PaperPlanes menu. What was your favourite destination that provided the most inspiration?

Tokyo as one of my favorite destinations where we found the most delicate, variety and fresh seafood, vegetables, meat and others. We tried so many different restaurants; The chefs there are all high skilled, are professional trained and all about quality!..... it was really impressive to see this high standard of professionalism across the board. While designing the PaperPlanes menu, we want to capture this essence of Tokyo cooking culture: pride, quality & technique. With our way of delivering the whole package of product, service and environment we name TOKYO POP.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

My greatest achievement to date is to run LL WINE AND DINE and PAPERPLANES BONDI with the Barge8 Hospitality Group, here I have a stage in Sydney where allows me to show my passion of food and creativities which everyone in the team supports immensely. I am so lucky to have such a great opportunity to improve myself and moving forward globally with a bunch of like-minded, ambitious people.

What is coming up for you?

I am looking forward to our next project in Bali which will be a great challenge to start our global hospitality plans. We are putting lots of effort into making it the best it can be on an internationally recognised level. I want to continue our reputation we have built from nothing and continue this through all our future venues with the Barge8 team

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