393-399 Sussex Street
2000 Sydney, Australia
tel: 61 2 9212 3901
fax: 61 2 9211 6292
Daily, 12 noon to 4am
An icon of Sydney dining, this throwback to a different era hasn't changed much since the doors on its barn-like space were thrown open in the 80s, with the pressed red velvet wallpaper still in place, albeit a bit worn, crisp white linen cloths everywhere and those walls of fish tanks full of fresh seafood. If you're seated in this section, and many request as much, it gives the weird impression of dining in an aquarium.
It's not flash, it's not fancy; the Golden Century doesn't need to be. The massive queues most nights until very late are a testimony to this. And they won't win any service awards either, but they'll win your appreciation and your custom with the best classic Cantonese cuisine this side of Hong Kong at prices also stuck in a bit of a time warp.
Plush dishes like live pipis in XO sauce, a steam boat of sliced green-lip abalone, mud crab (steamed, fried, with black pepper sauce), and of course, loads of lobster never go out of style. Neither do old stalwarts like salt and pepper squid, pork with preserved egg congee or crispy-skin chicken.
The Golden Century empire has spread to Moore Park's Entertainment Quarter with two venues; one a more contemporary replica of the Sussex Street icon, the other a casual noodle cafe. But don't bother with these unless you're in the vicinity. For the most authentic, brash, brusque Chinese food night out, you can't beat this original Chinatown institution.
Photo courtesy Golden Century