Sunday, May 11, 2014

Review: Sun World Chinese Restaurant (新世界海鲜酒家)

According to the Cuisine Magazine, Sun World was one of the first places in Auckland to offer yum cha. It is certainly still very popular, with queues going out the door during the busy weekend yum cha rush. As a Chinese seafood restaurant, it also has an excellent a la carte menu, and plenty of live seafood for you to look at while you wait, from lobsters to paua (abalone) to geoduck to clams.

Kids checking out the lobsters by the front door.

The restaurant's Chinese name 新世界 actually translates to "new world", but the word "new" in Cantonese is pronounced "sun", and presumably they didn't want to call themselves "New World" to avoid confusion with the supermarket chain. It has apparently been in Newmarket since 2000, and every time I go I wonder what used to be there before that, because the Roman gladiators on the side glass doors don't seem entirely in theme.

Roman gladiators on the side doors.

Yum Cha

The restaurant's website says that they have been offering yum cha since 2007 (fellow blogger Her Worldly Pleasures has documented some dishes from this time). Perhaps that is true for their Newmarket location, but friends remember having yum cha at Sun World when it was still in town, and yum cha has been available in Auckland for at least 25 years, if memories serve correctly.

At Sun World, as with most restaurants of this type in Auckland, yum cha is still offered in the traditional way, with someone pushing trolleys or carrying trays around, although you can, of course, also order a dish rather than waiting for it to appear.

Trolleys with a variety of dishes, from dumplings to spare ribs.

We found the options at Sun World to be varied and plentiful, so it was easy to select different dishes without waiting a long time for what you want. All the usual delicacies were available, including the various steamed dumplings, congee, ricesheet rolls, pork spare ribs, turnip/taro cake, and BBQ pork buns. For dessert, there was also plenty to choose from, such as egg tarts, jin deui (fried sesame balls), various buns and bak tong gou (steamed "white sugar cake").

Yum cha favourites including siu mai, pork spare ribs, chicken feet, and chicken tail buns.

The food was fresh and tasty, and even when we picked the special (more expensive) dishes like deep fried crab or vegetables in oyster sauce, the bill came to a surprisingly small number. Sun World definitely offers one of the best yum cha experiences in Auckland!

Steamed things, fried things, baked pastries - all are available and delicious.

The only reason we don't eat here as often as we would like is that the place is almost too popular. The crush of people and the long queues can be off-putting. Sometimes the waiters are so rushed that they forget to bring your tea, or you find that you have to wait for some time before you get all your crockery. But hey, it is all part of the fun, and did I mention that the food is good?


Dinner at Sun World is less frantic than the lunchtime yum cha sessions, so you will have better service and a more relaxing atmosphere to go with the excellent cooking.

Free range chicken with garlic ginger paste.

As with all Chinese restaurants that are not cheapie eateries, you should go with a group and order a variety of dishes so that you can share a balanced meal. (It sounds ridiculous saying this, but one knowledgeable person should do the ordering. I have seen customers unfamiliar with the cuisine attempt to get each person to pick something they like, and it always ends in disaster, even if there are no duplicate dishes, e.g. no one orders vegetables. In case of doubt, ask the waiter for advice.)

Stuffed tofu.

The menu is large, but everything we tried was of a high standard, both well-presented as well as having great authentic flavours.

Steamed fish and roast meat.

Sun World is a popular institution in Auckland with good reason!

Restaurant Details

Sun World Chinese Restaurant (新世界海鲜酒家)
2A York Street, Newmarket, Auckland
(09) 520 3218

Opening hours:
Mondays to Fridays 11am - 2:30pm, 5:30 - 10pm
Saturdays to Sundays 10:30am - 2:30pm, 5:30 - 10pm

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  1. God this looks amazing!! I am SOOOO hungry right now. This makes me wanna do Dim Sum

    1. I've only tried to eat their dim sum in the weekends. Maybe there is no queue during the week?


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