The last thing I thought I’d be doing on Hamilton Island was going to yum cha. I knew the island was a foodie paradise, but I didn’t realise it extended this far until we visited Coca Chu – a modern South East Asian restaurant that’s one of the most popular on the island. We had dinner there on our first night and it was incredible, so when we heard they did a Sunday yum cha, we booked in on the spot.
This was not the yum cha I was used to. In Sydney it involves queuing for a table, getting seated in a corner that the trolleys seem to miss, flagging down waiters to place a drink order, waiting forever for the steamed vegetables, having the trolleys hit the back of your chair, and the extreme arrogance of the staff that you come to expect and love.
Yum cha at Coca Chu was like being in some kind of weird parallel universe where bad things were replaced with good. We started with lychee tea cocktails out on the front deck by the pool and when we were ready to move inside, our table was waiting and it was on the balcony overlooking the beach in prime trolley thoroughfare. The staff at Coca Chu are incredibly friendly and seem to genuinely love their job. They took the time to explain the concept to us (they obviously get a lot of yum cha first timers up there) and then took us through the menu in detail.
Beachside yum cha is not cheap (although our $55 jug of alcoholic lychee deliciousness didn’t help) and will set you back around $70 per person (including drinks). But with super attentive staff, the sound of the ocean lapping the reef, delicious food and a DJ mixing cool tunes, yum cha back home had become a distant memory.
TIP: Everything on the island books out way in advance especially Sunday yum cha, so make sure you book by the Friday.
Photography by myself and Janine Poon.