Chinese New Year is right around the corner and restaurants worldwide are prepping for the annual traditional holiday in their own style.
2018 is the Year of the Dog, one of 12 Chinese zodiac animals based on the lunar calendar, beginning on 16 February 2018 and ending on 4 February 2019.
Outside of mainland China, restaurants in London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and of course Hong Kong, are celebrating with limited edition menus, new openings, banquets and more.
From Michelin-starred fine dining at Hakkasan, through dim sum with a side of art at Yauatcha to Daddy Bao — a new opening in Tooting, London has it covered.
Hakkasan chefs from around the world collaborate to create an exclusive menu
Michelin-starred restaurant Hakkasan will welcome guests with a limited edition signature menu created by Hakkasan chefs from London, the US, the Middle East and Asia. Priced at £88 per person, guests opting for the menu will enjoy dishes using ingredients believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. A special cocktail has also been created to mark the festival—the Happy Daisy, complete with a fortune cookie garnish.
During the celebrations, Hakkasan will honour traditions to see in the Year of the Dog. Authentic Chinese lion dancers will perform at Hakkasan Hanway Place on 18 February and Hakkasan Mayfair on 25th February. As part of the festivities, Hakkasan will continue its annual wishing tree tradition by inviting guests to write their wishes on red ribbons that will be hung around the dining areas. The exclusive menu is now available at Hakkasan Hanway Place and Hakkasan Mayfair until 4 March 2018.
Yauatcha commissions two leading London artists to create Chinese lantern installations
Dim sum teahouse Yauatcha is celebrating Chinese New Year by commissioning two leading London artists to create innovative Chinese lantern art installations for its restaurants in Soho and Broadgate Circle. Each artist is interpreting and celebrating the Chinese paper lantern—an iconic emblem of Chinese New Year—in a modern way.
The two artists, Lydia Kasumi Shireff and Jamie Julien Brown, were selected on the merit of their existing works which caught the eye of the Yauatcha team. Lydia’s artwork at Yauatcha City comprises 48 cut-paper style lanterns made from brushed gold and red card hung in the outer windows for a stunning display. Jamie Julien Brown’s work was spotted in the Met Museum NYC, where his piece ‘Mini Totem Lights’ shows its similarities with the traditional Chinese lantern shape in form and vibrancy of colours. For his display at Yauatcha Soho, he has evolved his totem into hanging lanterns.
The installations will be in place from 5 February to the end of the month, while both Yauatcha London locations will serve a celebratory Chinese New Year menu with dishes inspired by the annual celebration and featuring ingredients which are traditionally believed to bring good fortune.
Celebrate Chinese New Year 2018 at the official opening of Daddy Bao
Forget the classic Cantonese set menu, don’t bother with the dim sum—the place to be for Chinese New Year 2018 is Daddy Bao. Opening its doors in Tooting on 16 February, Daddy Bao will be serving up its signature pillowy bao buns (pictured right), crunchy fried chicken and Taiwanese snacks a plenty. You’ll find Mr Bao—slow braised Flock and Herd pork, pickles and peanut powder packed into a milky white bun, and the Drunken Prawn Bao—a classic bun stuffed with beer-marinated prawns, pickled mooli and spiced spring onion. Daddy Bao is the second site from the team who brought you Mr Bao in Peckham. For a true taste of Taiwan in Tooting, look no further than Daddy Bao.
Tradition with a twist is the theme at New York City’s Little Tong Noodle Shop this Chinese New Year while at E&O Kitchen and Bar in San Francisco, just reading the specials they have on offer will fill you up.
Little Tong Noodle Shop is keen to share its own spin on tradition with New Yorkers
Little Tong Noodle Shop will be starting its own tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year 2018 in ‘authentically, undeniably Little Tong’ fashion, with two weeks of specials inspired by owner and chef Simone Tong.
A new dish will be served for dinner every weekday from 15 February to 2 March. Traditional dishes that Tong grew up eating mixed with local New York City ingredients will feature on the menu and will also be available during lunch and dinner on weekends. These include 18-fold dumplings (goubuli) on day three, ‘wagyu mixian’ (pictured right), consisting of tender Miyazaki wagyu beef, a rich broth and rice noodles on day six and sweet sticky rice ball soup (yuan xiao) for day 16.
Dumplings are usually eaten on the fifth day of the New Year, however Little Tong will serve them on the ‘day of the dog’, 17 February, to mark its year offering diners the opportunity to unite over traditions, opulent meals and culture.
A spokesperson for Little Tong’s said: “We just love that New Yorkers and Americans are increasingly interested in not only learning about our heritage, but also partaking in the celebrations that surround it as well.
“It is never difficult to get behind events like Chinese New Year. The industry is honouring Chinese New Year more than ever, and recognition of our holiday and traditions is only growing.”
Eat to your heart’s content at E & O
At Union Square’s Asian restaurant and lounge, E&O Kitchen and Bar welcomes hungry and happy bellies to indulge in the Year of the Dog menu with ‘lucky’ dishes and drinks meant to bring one good fortune in the New Year from 16 February to 24 February.
Check out the sumptuous specials on offer; handcrafted jiaozi dumplings, an E&O Kitchen and Bar staple, filled with minced chicken, cabbage, soy, chilies and sesame as well as pomelo and avocado salad with market citrus, watercress, fresh herbs, chillies, and lime vinaigrette. You’ll also find Beijing-inspired mian with braised short rib (pictured left), chillies and cucumbers; whole steamed fish with ginger, scallions, sesame, and cilantro (coriander) and dog-themed beers—Rogue Brewery ‘Yellow Snow’ Pilsner, Abita ‘Turbodog’ Brown Ale, and Flying Dog ‘Gonzo’ Imperial Porter.
E&O Kitchen and Bar will host live lion dancers in the restaurant to add to the joyous celebrations taking place in neighbouring Chinatown.
Luxurious, pricey menus are at the heart of Hong Kong restaurants’ celebrations this year, with fine dining dishes at T’ang Court and platters priced at over HK$300 at Ho Lee Fook.
Fine dining with star-studded cuisine at T’ang Court in Langham
As one of only four Cantonese restaurants worldwide honoured with three Michelin Stars, diners can expect the finest of flavours at T’ang Court as its chefs bring its menu to majestic new heights. Chef Kwong Wai Keung and his team will provide a luxury spin to the festive menu with top quality seasonal ingredients.
Available during the first to the seventh day of the lunar calendar (16 to 22 February), the Chinese name of each dish will refer to a Chinese New Year blessing, spreading good fortune to all. Stir-fried fresh lobster with mixed mushrooms and deep-fried conpoy (dried scallop) shreds symbolises good health with a hint of extravagance, while if you desire blessings of both health and wealth, you cannot miss the braised bird’s nest with crab roe and Alaskan crab meat.
Prosperity toss platter at Ho Lee Fook
This February, Ho Lee Fook’s version of the beloved Chinese New Year speciality, the yee sang platter, also known as prosperity toss (pictured left), returns. Made with a sweet and sour yuzu and plum dressing drizzled on top of Hamachi sashimi and a confetti of green daikon, beetroot, carrot, cucumber, green shallots, coriander, sesame seeds, peanuts and crispy wonton skins. This colourful and interactive dish is mixed by diners at the table, who partake by belting out blessings and well-wishes for the New Year while tossing the ingredient to mix. The higher you toss, the greater your luck. The Yee Sang platter serves 4-6 people and is priced at HK$338.
Whilst this tradition is personal and family oriented for many residents, Ho Lee Fook co-founder, Christopher Mark notes that many Hong Kong homes are not big enough to accommodate the whole family, so large family meals tend to take place in restaurants like theirs.
“There’s no consistent standard for how this [celebrating Chinese New Year] is done.”
Hacienda in Sydney, Australia will be honouring the lunar year for the very first time and is eager to do this tradition justice.
Hacienda officially launches its first menu to celebrate the Year of the Dog
Hacienda will be putting on a stunning show and ‘iconic’ menu to mark its first ever celebration of Chinese New Year on 16 February.
The restaurant will transform into a Chinese sanctuary with lanterns hanging from the ceiling, red lighting and meal selections served in bamboo dumpling steamers.
Marketing manager at Hacienda, Vanessa Wilson said: “It’s a very exciting opportunity for us to switch things up a bit and pay homage to an iconic tradition. As we are situated right in the heart of Circular Quay, guests will be able to eat, drink and enjoy unrivalled views of the Chinese New Year fireworks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 16 February.
“Our executive chef Josh Davidson has created a menu that was inspired by iconic Chinese yum cha style food options such as prawn har gow, barbecue pork buns and roast duck spring rolls. Collaborating with our team members who are of Chinese descent or who originated from China, we wanted to ensure that our menu options and décor were authentic.”
The Chinese New Year newbies believe more restaurants should get involved with celebrations as they aim to be respectful and pay homage to as many unique cultural traditions as possible.