How are you celebrating the Year of the Dragon? The Chinese New Year starts on January 23, 2012, and we’ve been getting a few ideas:
- Sunda New Asian, in Chicago, will offer a family-style menu along with a Dragon Dance performance and firecracker display. Activities start at 7 p.m. on January 23.
- Day-Lee Foods, a producer of frozen Asian cuisine items, is featuring some interesting Chinese menu choices, from Potstickers to Mandarin Orange Chicken to Teriyaki and General Tso’s Chicken.
- Koi, in Evanston, IL, will have a traditional Chinese Lion Dancer performance on Saturday, January 21, along with a special “Good Luck” menu that will be available through January 26. Dishes include Seafood Pan Fried Noodles (noodles reportedly bring long life in the New Year) and Lychee Chicken (for prosperity).
- The Annual China New Year Benefit for the China Institute will happen at Cipriani in New York on January 27. Keep in mind, though, that it’s $4,500 for a reserved table of twelve. For something a little more family style, the Institute will hold a dumpling making workshop on February 5.
And, if you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of some of the menu items you are offered in commemoration of this holiday, The Peninsula in Chicago, a member of the Asia-based Peninsula Hotels, offers the explanations below. The Peninsula, by the way, will offer an authentic Chinese New Year, in its Shanghai Terrace. Chef de Cuisine Ivan Yuen will feature an authentic six-course dinner menu from Friday, January 20 through Friday, January 27, 2012. The dinner pays homage to a Chinese poem about new beginnings, with each course corresponding to a line in the verse. Menu items include the following:
“Perfect beginning” – oyster fritters
“Delightful dance of dragon” – sea scallop, red abalone, turbot, XO sauce
“Sauntering among the golden leaves” – tea-smoked poussin, crispy pork, roasted duck
“Wishing prosperity, healthy, wealthy” – bi feng tang-style lobster
“Sensuous comfort, the life!” – billionaire’s fried rice
“Sweetest, the year!” – specialty dessert
The restaurant and hotel will also feature the traditional Chinese Lion Dance on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at the front entrance of the hotel. The performance will continue in The Lobby at 3:30 pm with the lion and musicians weaving their way around tables of guests attending Afternoon Tea. Children are invited to ‘feed’ heads of lettuce to the lion to ensure good luck for the coming year.
The Chinese New Year is considered the most important event on the Chinese calendar—and, thankfully for those of us ready to leave a dragging economy behind—the Year of the Dragon is supposed to be the luckiest and most prosperous!
Chinese New Year starts on the first day of the new moon and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the New Year is called Lantern Festival, and it culminates at night with a children’s parade of lanterns.
For more information about traditional Chinese New Year foods, click here.
Also see our article and photos of Japanese New Year foods by clicking here.