There's hardly a town in Australia that isn't home to a Chinese restaurant. In fact, it was one of the first foreign cuisines to take a hold here, when thousands of Chinese workers travelled to Australia during the 19th century. Over 100 years later, a wander through Parramatta provides plenty of opportunities to sample an array of Chinese delicacies. While some eateries, such as Hong Fu and Taste Gallery, are dedicated to a particular region, others specialise in a particular style, such as Phoenix, with its ever-changing yum cha selection.
As the name suggests, Chef's Gallery isn't just about eating, it's about watching, too. Within the glass-walled kitchen runs a continual live performance, as expert chefs knead dumplings and stretch noodles to order. The spectacle has proven so successful that there are now seven restaurants across Sydney and one in Xi'an, China. Each eatery offers its own specials: at Parramatta, these include popcorn duck with maple syrup and fermented bean curd, served in a waffle cone; and honeycomb chicken wings with sticky sisho, yuzu and honey glaze.
Taste Gallery, which landed in Parramatta in 2012, specialises in Shanghai Szechwan cuisine. That means big, brave, spicy flavours, featuring lots of garlic, chilli and, of course, Szechwan pepper. Among the chef's recommendations are liquor-soaked chicken, deep-fried whole barramundi with sweet and sour sauce and a hot pot filled with seafood egg dumplings. All dumplings and noodles are handmade and cooked to order. Lunchtime specials, which start at $8.80, are good value.