Lunar New Year is right around the corner, ushering in the Year of the Dog with the traditional festivities which always inspire a general celebration of Chinese culture, good fortune, longevity, wealth and happiness. As always, there will be a bunch of celebrations from some of the city’s best restaurants and precincts and to make the most of it you’re going to want to keep this guide handy. To help you eat your way through the celebrations with generous, shared family-style feasts we’ve put together a small list of some of the best ways to celebrate Lunar New Year in Sydney.
Neil Perry’s popular Spice Temple has put together a family banquet menu that’ll be offered from Friday 16th February to Sunday 4th March. Working with Head Chef Andy Evans, Perry has helped curate what is undoubtedly one of the best options around Sydney for those who really want to get stuck into some delicious Chinese food to welcome the Year of the Dog.
Playing off the traditional themes of the season, the menu starts with small dishes like pickled roma cherry tomatoes with dark soy, and Sichuan style pickled cucumbers and shiitake, before moving up to the likes of raw tuna “yu sheng” with spicy orange oil and iceberg, Shanghai style chicken salad with salted olive and black bean dressing, spanner crab with mung beans noodles and leeks, and an incredible – trust us, we’ve tried it – pips with pork and Shaoxing wine. Then you’ve got two equally delicious mains with the crispy duck and black cardamom sauce, and the roast pork belly with hot, sweet and sour sauce. Don’t forget the stir fried baby bok choy with ham and wild bamboo pitch, or the light dessert of strawberry sorbet with candied walnuts.
Price: $99 per person ($55 more for matching wines)
Dates: Friday 16th February to Sunday 4th March
Address: 10 Bligh Street Sydney
Contact: 02 8078 1888
Kensington Street Precinct
Head along to Chippendale’s lively Kensington Street precinct as the whole strip celebrates the Year of the Dog on Saturday 17th February with a highly-decorated, highly-themed party. Plenty of immersive experiences are being planned, including a special partnership with Sydney Dogs and Cats Home which will see adoption ambassadors, dog caricaturists and pet photographers in attendance, as well as “Pooches & Pinot” in House 48.
Chinese opera singers and DJs will keep the night flowing in between calligraphy workshops, fortune tellers, lantern making classes, Kung Fu workshops, and dance performances from the Chinese Youth League.
Of course they’re going to need a lot of food to tempt people along and luckily a lot of the residents are designing their own exclusive offerings for the night. Old Jim Kee will be doing a pop-up in House 28 for the entire Lunar New Year Period; KOI Dessert Bar will showcase exclusive Lunar New Year desserts; Handpicked Cellar Door will offer free Downward Dog Yoga classes (with wine we presume), and they’ll be special cocktails at Gin Lane and Viet.
And while you’re there you should probably head on into Central Park because Din Tai Fung have introduced some limited-edition dog-shaped buns with molten dark chocolate and banana filling that’ll be served up until 8th March. They will also be available at all Din Tai Fung stores (click HERE for a list of locations.
Dates: Saturday 17th February
Address: Kensington Street, Chippendale
For full details on the one-night-only party head to the official Kensington Street website HERE.
From the 15th until the 28th February head along to The Galeries in the heart of Sydney because the precinct will be hosting plenty of immersive art displays, eating competitions and exclusive food experiences for Lunar New Year. Comedian Matt Okine will be helping kick it all off on the 15th with “The Galeries’ Taste Tournament” where each participating resident restaurant – Grill’d, Jimmy’s Recipe, Lotus Dining and Chat Thai – will offer a one-of-a-kind fish with their take on “the flavour of good fortune”. They will all be offered for free and voted upon, with anyone who votes going into the run to win a $100 from each participating restaurants. $400 for eating free food ain’t a bad deal.
Other happenings throughout the aforementioned dates include a Kusuku pop-up handing out free desserts for anyone who spends $25 or more at The Galeries’ numerous dining options; a Lunar Lanterns workshop from Kinokuniya; and a Ramen Eating Challenge between SBS Pop Asia’s Andy Trieu and The Chef Line’s Melissa Long, with the challenge of eating the “spiciest bowl of ramen ever created” by Ichiban Boshi – though you can’t participate, you can bet on the winner and go in the running to win a $250 voucher for ramen.
Dates: Thursday 15th to Wednesday 28th February
Address: 500 George Street, Sydney