For as long as I could remember, Golden Century at Chinatown has always stood out as the iconic Chinese/Seafood restaurant in Sydney for my family and I. Since I was a little kid, dinners here would always be the highlight of my day as it pretty much ALWAYS involved one of my top 10 favourite foods in the whole wide world...CRAB.
In all seriousness though, Golden Century, throughout the many years, has continously succeeded in delivering consistent, quality food with exceptionally fresh produce and live seafood straight from the tanks. Definitely a remarkable landmark restaurant in the heart of Chinatown!
Golden Century is generally busy everyday so bookings are recommended - although sometimes walk ins can work too. However, don't count on that during weekends or Friday night! You'll just find yourself waiting in line with a swarm of other keen, hungry diners.
The one thing I love about Cantonese restaurants are its complimentary soups. Packed full of flavour (and apparently nutrition, according to my Grandma), these soups are my idea of a perfect appetitser before a seafood feast. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure what these soups are called in English - all I know is that they are delicious enough for me to demolish AT LEAST two bowls.
We start off our seafood journey with Live Prawns and for the amount displayed below, the market price for that day was $47.36. These yummy prawns must be gobbled immediately upon being dipped in the accompanying seafood soy sauce - add some chilli in to really spice up the flavours! So fresh and delish!
Next up was also an all-time favourite: Pippy in XO Sauce (Market Price: $53.55). I strongly believe that the invention of XO sauce has brought along magical effects to the Chinese dining landscape because THEY GO WELL WITH ALMOST EVERYTHING. Ok maybe not everything but when it comes to pippies, you can't find a better match.
For those who have no clue what XO sauce is (I gasp in horror), it's a popular spicy seafood sauce that was invented in Hong Kong and is commonly used in Chinese cooking. It contains dried scallops, red chilli, dried shrimp, garlic and canola oil - most Chinese/Asian households will have this nifty bottle of goodness because when utilised well, it can make any dish so much more exciting!
Then the hero of the show arrives: Mud Crab with Ginger & Shallot (Market Price: $89.28). Yes it's quite a hefty price to pay but honestly, I would not think twice about splurging on crab. That's how good it is. For that 20 minutes (can vary :P) in which you eat as much of it as you can, you are whipped into a delusional heaven in which money means nothing and everything is made out of crab. EVERYTHING! And you are content.
Crab meat is unbelievably tender and at Golden Century, they are so good at making sure that the luscious flavours of whichever sauce you choose is deeply embedded within the meat.
Other sauces/flavours to go with crab include salt and pepper, Szechuan sauce, Chinese Hua Chiew...etc.
We thought it'd be wise to order a light vegetable dish to tone down all that seafood - Poached Lettuce with Salted Bean Curd Sauce ($13.80).
But then we thought, how could we possibly leave without ordering the classic Fried Rice Fujian Style ($22). This is definitely the best Fujian fried rice I've had so far in Sydney as unlike many places, it's not dry at all - instead, the rice is topped with generous servings of the amazing sauce as well as all the finely chopped seafood and vegies. It is absolutely addictive once you start eating a spoonful of this and so beware how many bowls you end up devouring...:P
Just like my love for complimentary soups, complimentary fruit and desserts are also warmly embraced with welcoming arms. Oddly enough, it was the first time I was served strawberries as usually it's a plate of watermelon or oranges. Then again, strawberries are currently in season so it makes sense.
The seeded ball-like pastries are really chewy and delicious - however I'm not quite sure how to pronounce these dessert names! Just pop them in and see for yourself :)
Too bad, I wasn't a fan of that day's complimentary dessert soup - usually it's red bean and I'm in joy but I guess I can't have it all :P
See, even Golden Century acknowledges the importance of the Crab! A statue made in honour of said legendary sea creature stands tall and proud as you approach the second level from the mini escalators. Yes, the restaurant is quite large and there are function rooms too if I recall correctly.
Overall, if you're looking for a good Cantonese Seafood feast or even non seafood dishes, Golden Century is the place to check out for consistent cooking and fresh quality produce. They've been open for so long and their outstanding reputation has only grown over the years - my family acknowledges this place as the restaurant with the least surprises in what they serve. Meaning, they generally don't stuff things up!
Even better, come here past midnight and gorge yourself with some supper such as its famous Crab Congee/Porridge (starting from 10pm).
Golden Century Seafood
Chinatown 393 Sussex St
Sydney NSW 2000