Chinese New Year in Melbourne: What’s on for the Year of the Monkey

On a casual stroll along Southbank Pedestrian Bridge this month you might spot some illuminated pandas playing under a bright rainbow, or a 14-metre-long phoenix at Harbour Esplanade; that’s how you know that Chinese New Year is well and truly here, and Melbourne’s celebrations are just starting to kick off. While the city certainly has lit up for the Year of the Monkey, there are plenty of venues joining in on the celebration, offering everything from lion dances to special banquets. Here are some of our favourite happenings in Melbourne this month for the Year of the Monkey.

The Age Lunar Markets at The Harbour Esplanade

From now until 14th February, Lunar Markets returns to Melbourne, taking over The Harbour Esplanade with lights, food, live entertainment and activities, offering some of the best Asian cuisine in Australia. In a similar fashion to Sydney’s Lunar Markets, this will be a hub for Melbourne’s most popular food vendors as well as art lovers, with the most impressive exhibition being a 14 metre long light-up Phoenix.

Food stalls include a special collaboration between Black Star Pastry and N2 Extreme Gelato, offering “Hipster Fortune Cookies”, the popular Everybody Loves Ramen offering up Japanese fusion like noodle-battered chicken burgers, Hoy Pinoy, Wonderbao, Teppanyaki Noodles, Korean Twist Potato, Bangkok Steet Food, and more. From 5pm Mon-Fri, and from 4pm on Sat and Sun.

More information can be found HERE.

NOTE: The Lunar Markets are easily accessible by the Melbourne visitor shuttle tram, via train to Southern Cross Station by car or even by boat.

Din Tai Fung’s Monkey Buns

Din Tai Fung Melbourne at the Emporium shopping centre is serving up these adorable Monkey Buns for CNY, filled with gooey chocolate and banana. Note that this is the only Din Tai Fung in Melbourne that has these available!

More information can be found HERE

Chinese New Year at Box Hill Central

The vibrant Box Hill Central hub will be hosting an extravagant CNY celebration this year with bright decorations, centered around a giant, authentic Chinese Dragon which will be set up in the North Precinct. From 10am to 5pm on Sat Feb 6th, the centre will be bustling with activities and a parade including community performances and traditional lion dancers.

For an idea on what to eat around Box Hill Central click HERE

Afternoon Tea at Hotel Windsor

Melbourne’s cosy Hotel Windsor will be incorporating classic Asian ingredients into their traditional afternoon tea offering this month, with pastries featuring kumquat, lychee, and peach and dim sum inspired savoury dishes, offered for two weeks from Monday 8th February. A day before, on Sunday 7th Feb, they will be featuring exclusive oriental dishes prepared by Borrowed Space collaborators, chefs Joel Alderson and Adam Liston.

For more information click HERE

Banquet at Neil Perry’s Spice Temple

Neil Perry’s famous Spice Temple in the Crown Complex will task Head Chef Graeme Hunt to create a Chinese New Year menu designed towards inspiring prosperity and health, offering up a banquet for $95pp that is available from now until Feb 13th. Dishes include star-fried spanner crab with mung bean noodles and garlic chives; and pineapple sorbet with soft licorice and raspberry.

More information can be found HERE.

Banquet at Flower Drum

The acclaimed Flower Drum on Market Lane will be offering menus on CNY eve (Feb 7th) and CNY day (Feb 8th), adding such delicious sounding dishes as sashimi ocean trout salad with dried oysters and nian gao; and a suckling pig platter. Traditional lion dancers will be performing during service on each day.

More information can be found at HERE.

Chinese New Year in Chinatown

From 7th to 21st Feb there will be a whole variety of celebrations going down in Chinatown, from lion dance blessings of each shop and roaming performers, to an Outdoor Cinema on 7th Feb (family day).

Chinese New Year at Queen Victoria Market

Melbourne’s famous Queen Victoria Market will be hosting CNY celebrations across three weeks this month, featuring flowing columns of traditional Chinese Opera masks and 70 red lanterns amongst lion and dragon dancing, a hawker-style festival, lantern-making workshops, and live performances. There will also be a guided Lucky Monkey Market Tour that includes stories from local traders and tastings.

For more information click HERE

Hawkers’ Bazaar at Crown Melbourne

From 5th to 7th February, from 11am to 11pm, you can head along the Riverwalk by the Crown Melbourne to check out the Hawkers’ Bazaar, a mix of Asian delicacies, cooking demonstrations, art, craft, and traditional music. There will also be some fireworks at 9:45pm on Saturday 6th February. Entry is free.

For more information plus to see what else Crown has planned this month click HERE.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.