With the Chinese New Year just a few hours away, prepare to say goodbye to the fire rooster and hello to the earth dog.
Seriousness and responsibility are just some of the characteristics associated with the earth dog, but Friday’s festivities will be anything but. There will be an abundance of China-themed cocktails in New York and singing and dancing on the streets of London.
Timeline for Events
Here are some of the ways that you can welcome in the New Year (again) around the world:
Where to eat –
Bubbledogs is best known for pairing hotdogs with champagne. This week they will throw Lu Rou, a Chinese-inspired topping consisting of Taiwanese pork belly mince, shiitake mushrooms, Japanese pickled daikon and coriander, into the mix. The celebrations will reach a peak on Tuesday, 20 February, when Michelin-starred chef James Knappett enters the Bubbledogs kitchen to cook up a menu of Taiwanese spiced fried rabbit, satay roasted cauliflower and 3 cup English clams.
New York City –
Nom Wah Tu, the younger sibling of Chinatown’s Nom Wah Tea Parlour, will be putting a western twist on traditional Chinese dishes. Innovative chef Jonathan Wu will be adding seafood bacon sauce to turnip cakes, smoked sausage to rice cakes and adding chocolate to sesame balls for a limited time to welcome in the Year of the Dog.
Los Angeles –
Multiple Michelin Star chef Wolfgang Puck will be ditching sit-down fine-dining in favour of a Chinese-style food market at his 24th floor WP24 venue. With a complimentary cocktail in hand, diners will make their way between six cooking stations serving up everything from peking duck to mocha waffles. Towering over LA at The Ritz-Carlton hotel, diners will have an incredible view of the city, but only if they can take their eyes off of the traditional-style dragon dancers set to perform throughout the night.
Thirty minutes to eat as many freshly made dumplings as you can handle – what more do we need to say? You will undoubtedly need some time to rest after filling your belly, so sit back and relax with one of the best views that the city has to offer. Modern Chinese restaurant New Shanghai will be serving up their doughy delights at the top of Sydney’s tallest structure, the Sydney Tower. Three all-you-can-eat Dumplings in the Sky sessions will be head daily between 12-24 February, with tickets costing 40 AUD.
You will need either a lot of friends or a big appetite for this one. However, Hong Shing’s Chinese New Year feast shouldn’t be missed. This family-ran restaurant is a staple of Toronto’s Chinatown, having been serving the city since 1995. Up until 28 February, Hong Shing will be offering a Chinese New Year set menu, designed to provide authentic, traditional flavours, that feeds approximately 8-10 people at a cost of $288, or $36 per person.
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Where to drink –
The Cocktail Lounge @ The Century Club will be mixing Chinese culture and cocktails to welcome in the Chinese New Year. Enjoy a drink while listening to the sweet sounds of skilled flautist Dr. Lin Lin and the award-winning pianist Li Gen. If you’re the wild night type, the party will then move upstairs to the roof garden, where you can dance the night away with Chinese dragon dancers.
New York City –
Welcome in the Year of the Fat Dog at Fat Buddha, a laidback New York bar that aims to “show people how to reach enlightenment through great food, drinks, company and music”. Honestly, this is more generic club night than a Chinese New Year party. However, it at least sounds like a good one. Fat Buddha will be selling Chinese themed cocktails to mark the special occasion. They will also be serving up dumplings and buns all night to soak up the drink.
Sydney’s nightlife doesn’t have much to offer on Chinese New Year. However, with temperatures averaging between 19 and 26 degrees Celsius in February, the open air provides the perfect setting to celebrate the turn of the lunisolar calendar. Grab something to drink and settle around Sydney Harbour for the start of CNY opening night on Friday, 16 February. Fireworks will be launched from Sydney Harbour Bridge starting at 9:15am London time (8:15pm AEST). Performances will take place on the surrounding streets throughout.
The Royal Ontario Museum will be celebrating the moon’s cycle at their regular ROM Friday Night Live event. These adult-only social events see the museum transformed into one big exhibition of fashion, art, music and dance. Chinese culture will take centre stage this month. Kung Fu, dragon dance and lion dance performances from local Toronto dance troupes will be on hand to provide the entertainment.
Where to celebrate –
The United Kingdom’s capital will welcome in the Lunar New Year in a big way. Kicking off with traditional dragon and lion dances in Charing Cross at 10am London time, London’s Chinese New Year celebrations, organised by the London Chinatown Chinese Association, will make its way to the iconic East Asian-inspired street, before heading to Leicester Square. Throughout the day there will be local music, acrobatic and dance acts and activities for those young and old. Saving the best until last, London’s Chinese New Year celebrations will finish with a bang in Trafalgar Square on Friday evening.
New York City –
The Big Apple will host the usual Chinese New Year parades and displays again this year. However, most people in China will observe the holiday in its many temples. To do Chinese New Year the local way, head to Flushing Town Hall, which will be hosting its annual Temple Bazaar. Enjoy traditional Chinese music and dance the day away alongside various performers, before tucking in to dishes Chinese cuisine from Shandong and Taiwan.
Los Angeles –
Starting at 6am London time (10pm Pacific), Los Angeles’ Thien Hau Temple will open its doors to those wishing to make offerings to Mazu, the Chinese sea goddess, awaken the spirits and burn incense to bring about good fortune. The temple’s monks will be joined by a troupe of lion dancers to get the festivities underway, with the main ceremony set to begin at midnight.
Ahead of the Chinese New Year, the city of Sydney commissioned a number of Australian artists to design 12 animal sculptures to mark each of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. A flying pig is joined by a 23-metre long golden snake, which tower above visitors at the Circular Quay harbour. Having blended traditional Chinese lantern design with modern technology, these sculptures are truly a sight to behold. The best part? It’s free.