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Tingha Chinese Restaurant – Sydney Markets

August 9, 2012


I met some of my best friends in the world at uni. We bonded over ridiculous deadlines, early-morning typography classes, soporific avant-garde film lectures, a mutual love of marsupial tennis, and of course a mutual love of FOOD!

These days it’s harder to gather everyone together to share a meal. But after I told them about the crab special at Tingha Chinese Restaurant at the Sydney Markets, it wasn’t too hard to rally the troops. All 14 of us!

There’s apparently another Tingha Chinese Restaurant in Parramatta, but we went to the one adjacent to the Sydney Markets in Homebush. It’s inside the Tiger’s Club there, and as such looks quite unassuming from the outside. But walk past the pokie rooms and you’ll find a bustling Chinese restaurant – filled to the brim with families eating platters of crab.

Crab definitely seems to be the thing to order here. And no wonder! The special is communicated to us through a laminated piece of paper placed on our table – all of the text is in Chinese (which I can’t read) except for the giant $8.80 written in big letters. That’s right! Tingha somehow manages to sell mudcrab at $8.80 per half kilo (that’s $17.60 per kilo for those like me who are mathematically uninclined) – which is apparently under market price (or so the waiter tells me). For that reason, the restaurant accepts cash-only for the special (don’t worry, there are ATMs available in the Leagues Club).

With 14 people at the table, I order us 6kg of crab. Each crab weighs a little bit over 1kg (though of course a lot of that is the shell). You can choose from a few different ways for it to be cooked – XO Sauce, Ginger & Shallots or Salt & Chilli Pepper. We go with Ginger & Shallots.

Live crabs presented to us. I never really know what I’m meant to be looking for… so I just say OK. Sorry crabbies!

6.3kg of crab!! ($111)

It’s awesome. Perfectly cooked and the sauce is deliciously savoury. Our noisy table descends into utter silence – except for the occasional cracking of shells and the squeaking of the Lazy Susan.

We’re definitely here for the mudcrab, but I decide to order us an assortment of other dishes too:

Pippis cooked in XO sauce with crispy noodles ($43.80). The waiter recommended we purchase 2 servings for our table of 14, but we decide to go with just one. I’m glad we did because it’s ginormous! Everyone likes pippis, but I really love the crispy vermicelli noodles underneath! It goes great with the XO sauce.


Shantang Chicken ($17.50 for a half chicken) – twice cooked crispy skin chicken in a sweet soy and vinegar sauce is definitely moreish. The chopped garlic, shallots and chilli give it a bit of a kick, and the chicken is nice and tender, with crispy skin.


Salt & Chilli Pepper Pork Ribs ($16.50) – Super succulent pork covered in a crunchy spiced batter. My absolute favourite favourite dish of the night (besides the crab) are these deep fried pork ribs!  So much so that I ordered 2 plates, just to make sure everyone could have some (and that I could have 2 pieces haha). I don’t know why these are so good, but they are (If I were to guess it’d probably the liberal amount of 5-spice and MSG… mm-mmm!)


Salt & Pepper Whitebait – crispy little morsels of fish in a light batter. Our resident spearfisher & seafood expert pronounced these to be “wicked”.


Salt & Pepper Tofu ($14.80) – … are you sensing a theme yet? This time it’s big pillows of soft tofu in the same light salt & pepper batter. A nice change from the seafood & meat heavy dishes.


Mongolian Beef ($15.80) – I didn’t try this as I was quickly reaching extreme fullness, but a sizzling plate is always very impressive…!


Special Fried Rice ($12.80) – arrives a bit late in the game when everyone was a bit full. But seeing the giant prawns perched on top tempted me into eating at least a little bit! Seriously… I haven’t seen such big prawns in a fried rice anywhere else I can think of! There were the normal little prawns mixed in there too, along with ham, chicken and egg.


We also ordered a platter of Stir Fried Chinese Vegies ($13.80) and a plate of Salt & Pepper Calamari ($18.80) which I didn’t manage to take a photos of.

Of course, as is customary at many Chinese restaurants, our giant feast was finished with a platter of orange wedges and bowls of red bean soup (I ate a lot of the former, and not so much of the latter)


Completely satisfying meal – and best of all, the price came to less than $24 each per person, including our mountain of crab at the beginning. At that price we’ll have to organise some group meals more often 🙂


Tingha Chinese Restaurant Sydney Markets
Tigers Club
Shop 16 Markets Plaza,
Markets, 250 Parramatta Road
Homebush West NSW 2140

ph: 8789 3636 (I recommend booking on weekends as it gets quite packed. And the waiter recommended calling up before you go just to make sure the crab special is still available)

32 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2012 1:02 am

    Melly I’m sad I missed out on this! I am seriously drooling over these photos…yum!

    • August 9, 2012 5:20 pm

      I’m sad you weren’t there too 😦 We’ll have to go again when you come back 🙂

  2. August 9, 2012 3:39 pm

    yeah i dive for the vermicelli under the pippis too! best part of the dish

  3. chocolatesuze permalink
    August 9, 2012 5:35 pm


  4. August 9, 2012 11:19 pm

    Sooo want to go back! I’d be picky with the crabs and request for all female ones. More meaty less sharper shells. :3 At least it looks like they gave us a good mix!

    • August 9, 2012 11:23 pm

      yeah they were pretty generous this time! last time I went my dad requested all females and they said “sorry, not for this price”

  5. August 10, 2012 7:13 pm

    I think I need to hear more about marsupial tennis actually? Are the pippis in XO sauce really $43! I’ve always wanted to try that…but it seems a tad pricey. And yepper, there is a Tingha Palace in Parramatta…in the Parramatta Leagues Club (seems like these guys support two teams – is that cheating)?

    • September 3, 2012 10:11 pm

      They are quite pricey! But such a big portion you’d definitely have to share with a bunch of people. Especially if you order it with the crispy noodles!

    • September 3, 2012 10:12 pm

      OH haha Marsupial Tennis… for a while we played casual tennis games every week… while wearing koala ears. Because… why not.

  6. Tina @ bitemeshowme permalink
    August 13, 2012 1:37 pm

    what a feasttttttt! and only for $24pp in the end. that is ridiculous. I must say that’s why I love asian food 😀

  7. August 19, 2012 9:53 pm

    mmmmm love the look of these dishes 🙂

    • September 3, 2012 10:14 pm

      Looking at the photos again makes me want to go back already haha

  8. August 21, 2012 4:37 am

    I cant believe a restaurant charges less than $20 per kilo for mud crab! Im not too keen on saying hello to the crabs before they get cooked

    • September 3, 2012 10:13 pm

      I know! I duno how they can price it so low. I think being at the market’s doorstep probably helps. I’m sure they get some great deals.

  9. August 27, 2012 11:41 am

    only $24 per person for such a feast – bargain!! I’m a big sucker for salt and pepper anything too – mmmm so good

  10. August 28, 2012 11:04 am

    Whoa! What a feast! Great photos in this post. Now I’m craving chili crab!

    • September 3, 2012 10:13 pm

      I’ve never actually eaten proper chilli crab!! so sad right? I must try it one day.

  11. September 16, 2012 10:54 pm

    ive been here before a long time ago but wasn’t impressed. what you guys got looks so much better than when i went! must go again and what a bargain on the crabs!

  12. Evelyn Zaballero permalink
    December 10, 2012 5:47 pm

    We went to check out the $8.80 per half kilo crab and see how good they cook their crab dishes. The Singapore Chili Crab was delicious but the Crab with vermicelli noodles was a let down. I actually got a stomach upset the next morning because the vermicelli was not cooked well and quite hard, I must say. The worst thing was, for two big crabs (2 cooked in 2 different ways), we got charged $111.60. If $10.00 was extra for cooking, how can 2 crabs be worth $101.60 if it was on special at $8.80 per half kilo? They won’t give give the details of the 2 dishes but assuming that the 2 crabs weighed in at 4 kilos (which I doubt), it was more like $25.40 a kilo or $12.70 per half kilo that we were charged. I must say, WE’VE BEEN HAD! We don’t mind paying more but to overcharge your customer intentionally is definetely a NO-NO! This restaurant would have been better off not advertising that they sell their crab at $8.80 per half kilo if they intend to overcharge their customers anyway. Well, too bad, I will tell my friends not to ever visit this restaurant again and if they do, check how they bill their crab dish.

  13. Kayla Z permalink
    March 6, 2013 11:10 pm

    Me and my family went there deliberately for the special crab promotion! our relatives have tried it and said it was a good bargain! We have 6 people with us and had two big plates of the crab, we chose ginger and shallot and it was deliiicious! I was expecting an expensive bill as we order 4 other dishes includes barramundi and quail but it turns out it only $26 per person which we are very satisfied especially when we had more seafood then meat – I admit our family will come back again, love the atmosphere the lighting and just not as noisy as other Chinese restaurant. Will definitely recommend my friends to come!

    By the way Evelyn Zaballero – the vermicelli noodle that you have mentioned i think is how they normally cook it, they pan fried it hard that’s why you think it’s not cook but chinese way is they pan fried it still they crispy and put under seafood dishes soaked with sauce so they will melt – not sure what happened with your one though =(

  14. Jase permalink
    April 1, 2013 6:40 pm

    Dined at this restaurant tonight and wasn’t impressed with the food, service and the overcharged bill!! Probably my worst Chinese Restaurant experience in Australia.


    1. The crab only had one claw. (The table and the other tables had the same deal – one claw mud crabs)
    2. The steamed chicken was over cooked and tough as a turkey
    3. Service was slow and unhelpful
    4. The man who walks around with a limp seemed like he needed to get out more and develop some customer friendly smile
    5. Checked the bill and overcharged us by $6.00 – charged rice twice.


    Avoiding this restaurant all together.

    Unpleasant experience.

  15. Jase permalink
    April 1, 2013 7:29 pm

    Don’t be sorry. We have choices and there are many other good Chinese Restaurants to choose from in Sydney. I hear the best Chinese Seafood Restaurant in Australia is in Hobart, Tasmania. 🙂

  16. Peter permalink
    May 31, 2013 2:06 pm

    We have been to this place many times. Food always good, very good price. The whold family really enjoy it.
    Good work guys.

  17. December 11, 2013 4:37 pm

    I never thought much of Australia as a foodie paradise, but you make me want to go and eat the entire country whole.

  18. Stephanie permalink
    February 22, 2014 6:16 pm

    I dined there tonight and have to say that was the WORSE experience I’ve had!

    The service was appalling, the man that walks with the limp was rude and obviously racists because he appeared to be nice and civil to all the Chinese diners and not us.

    After an hour into our meal we were asked to leave when we had not finished because the table we were on had a 7pm booking!

    I was embarrassed to say the least as had rounded up some friends to attend this place and talked it up.

    Needless to say, I will NOT be returning to this place and will not recommend anyone here.

    Cost worked out to be $50 per head! So definitely was not value for money.

    • February 23, 2014 5:50 pm

      sorry to hear about that! we had a good experience but this blog post is pretty old now

      On Saturday, 22 February 2014, crunchytiger wrote:


  19. Madelaine permalink
    February 27, 2014 12:00 pm

    Stephanie, it is offensive seeing your post and comments on this column as I believe this is a foodie column where people put down their thoughts on food and taste as well as writing about trying out different cuisine and embracing different food cultures. By mentioning ‘racists’ and targeting a waiter with disabilities define just who you are.I suggested that you should try to be more objective regarding your experiences in writing.

    On the same token, me and my friends went there for dinner the other night and I’m happy with the services they have – maybe it is a quiet night and more staffs.
    (I don’t speak Chinese at all but I don’t feel inferior if waiters are more friendly to the next table who are speaking Chinese).

    The foods was yummy we had crab on noodle which is our favourite, We tried the ‘mango pancake’ and it was the best dessert by far from a chinese restaurant, although the herbal jelly cube was not to my liking. My friend ate it all as she is more into herbs then I am.

    All is all, a great night again. Me and my friends loves the atmosphere there, it spacious and not as noisy as the other restaurant – we will definitely come back for sure.

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