How to celebrate Chinese New Year in Sydney and Melbourne this year

Determined, passionate and diligent: three traits attributed to the red fire rooster, the tenth sign of the Chinese Zodiac and the symbol for 2017’s Chinese New Year celebrations. A wealth of Chinese culture and tradition surrounds each city around the world from now until early February, bringing with it a huge amount of things to do, see, and most importantly, eat. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite CNY happenings across Sydney and Melbourne to help you plan the festive days ahead.

Of course these are all smaller celebrations compared to the massive annual festivals being planned in each city. If you want more information on Melbourne’s official CNY festival click HERE and if you want more info on Sydney’s click HERE.

Spice Temple (Sydney + Melbourne)


As always, Neil Perry’s famous Spice Temple in both Sydney and Melbourne will be putting on a special menu from now until 5th February, paying homage to ingredients that promote health, wealth and prosperity during these New Year festivities.

If you’re heading along to the Sydney restaurant, expect the likes of Pickled Roma Cherry Tomatoes with chilli oil and dark soy; Raw Tuna with spicy orange and iceberg; Hunan style Soy Beef with beetroot salad and crispy noodles; stir-fried Spanner Crab with mung bean noodles, salted red and pickled green chilli; stir-fried Wagyu Brisket with lucky money dumplings and baby eggplant; and Caramel Ice Cream with praline. The set is being offered at $95pp for either lunch or dinner (wine matching for each dish is available for an extra $55pp).

Those in Melbourne will be able to chow down on a set that includes Lobster and Pomelo Salad with plum dressing; cold cut Pork Belly with chilli cucumber and peanut; fried salt and pepper Moreton Bay Bug; chargrilled Wagyu Scotch Fillet with black bean and chilli; and Caramel Chocolate with peanut parfait. This menu is priced at $120pp for either lunch or dinner (wine matching is an extra $55pp). As an added treat, the restaurant will also be hosting lion dancing and a fireworks display on CNY (Saturday 28th January).

For more information and full details head to

Chinese New Year Night Market (Sydney)

This will be huge! Kylie Kwong has been given the reigns to curate her very own CNY night market as part of an ongoing series at Carriageworks, and it’s safe to say she’s put together an almost overwhelming program. Films by SBS Viceland will be projected all night, cult bookstore Kinokuniya will be showcasing their huge range of cookbooks, oh and they’ll be more than 50 of Australia’s leading chefs, restaurateurs and providores (from Moon Park and Good Luck Pinbone to Rockpool and Icebergs) on hand to make sure this goes is as epic as it sounds. It all goes down on Saturday 28th January from 5pm to 10pm.

For more information head on over to our full news piece HERE.

Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne)

Melbourne’s iconic marketplace will be alive with Chinese culture from 27th Jan to 12th Feb, where visitors will witness traditional performances from local and international acts, authentic Chinese food, free cooking demos and a chance to win a hot air balloon flight over the city.

The main celebration will, of course, take place on Saturday 28th January from 10am-2pm with lion dances, mythical creature lighting, martial arts displays and instrumental acts. Celebrity chef Elizabeth Chong will be on hand for free cooking shows.

Some of the market’s individual tenants will also be celebrating in their own way, a good example being the popular Pickett’s Deli and Rotisserie, where guests will find a three-course banquet on Saturday night from 7pm-10pm. The menu will feature tea-smoked Ocean Trout with tamarind and plums, Suckling Pig, and a Custard & Kumquat Tart with homemade five spiced ice-cream. The banquet will be set at $80pp and includes a complimentary lychee cocktail to start.

A full schedule of what’s going on at QVM for CNY can be found HERE.

Sydney Lunar Markets (Sydney)

Pyrmont will once again be the scene of an extravagant 10-day market as SMH’s Lunar Markets makes it’s big return. The pop up food festival will run from 27th Jan to 5th Feb, celebrating it’s third year with an Asian hawker-style set up that will be accented by live performances, outdoor bars, seating areas, lantern installations, giant outdoor games and endless food offerings from some of the city’s finest.

Chur Burger will be joining the markets for the first time this year, bringing with them their signatures but also an specially made burger going by the name of Hoisin Goin Bro? – grilled beef, hoisin bbq sauce, cheese, five-spiced glazed bacon and spicy pickles. They’ll be one of over 15 stallholders offering a range of Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai and fusion dishes.

Teage Ezard will be bringing his current pop-up (at The Star) down to the space, a street food concept called Gingergirl which is a collaboration with Melbourne’s popular Gingerboy. Joining them will be Luke Nguyen Street Food; the always popular Black Star Pastry and N2 Extreme Gelato collaboration (which this time will be touting a Strawberry Watermelon Smashcake Gelato with firecracker feuilletines, a rooster macaron and Chinese herbal syrup syringe); POLLOL, where you’ll find fusion Korean BBQ tacos; Bao Stop; the playful One Tea Lounge; the great Mamasan; and Happy as Larry, who we expect to turn up with some Asian-style pizza.

Full details can be found HERE.

Luna Park (Sydney)

Sydney’s longest standing amusement park will be ringing in the year of the Rooster over the weekend of 27th to 29th January, hanging over 200 traditional Chinese lanterns through the unique property. There’ll also be lion dancing shows, CNY inspired menus with food like good fortune burgers and lucky duck wraps, and a special offer giving customers 20% off Yellow Unlimited Ride Passes throughout the weekend (when purchased online only). To top it all off, Luna Park will even be changing the colour of the entrance’s iconic teeth, which will glow bright red along with a host of other renowned Sydney landmarks.

For more information click HERE.

Lunar New Year KitKat (Melbourne)

Have a break, have a $68 box of KitKats. Supplied.

KitKat are celebrating Lunar New Year with probably their most high-end gift sets to date, creating 500 special editions with pay homage to traditional Asian flavours. The result: Red Bean & Toasted Coconut; and Citrus Crème Brulee. Gift sets, priced at $68 each, will contain eight individually wrapped single pieces in a bespoke bamboo box, and they’ll only be available from KitKat’s special chocolatory store in Melbourne Central from now.

$68 sound rather steep? You can also get the flavours for $6 as part of the special edition range.

For more information click HERE.

Lotus Galeries (Sydney)

Last year Lotus at The Galeries in Sydney CBD put on one of our favourite CNY menus, and what they’ve got planned should be more than enough to meet those high expectations. This week is a busy one for the kitchen as they offer three different modern Chinese banquet menus, ranging from $68pp (The Mandarin Feast) to $98pp (Bamboo Banquet) all the way to $128pp (The Luxury Peach), all from now until 5th Feb. Tiffany Jones, their resident dessert maestro, will finish each set with a complex Asian dessert, but before you get to that sweet ending, expect the likes of Wok-Fried Prawns with XO sauce; crispy skin Duck Pancakes with sweet miso and cucumber; slow cooked Beef Short Ribs and various Dumplings.

The restaurant’s bar will also be pumping out a total of 12 specially made “Zodiac Animal Cocktails”, including the Rooster with Ketel One, orgeat syrup, lemon and grapefruit juice.

For more information click HERE.

Kensington Street (Sydney)

Head along Chippendale favourites Kensington Street Social or Old Clare Hotel on 4th Feb and you can grab The Rooster, a one-off cocktail being offered for $22, made with Tanqueray Gin, lychee liquor, kings ginger, and fresh lemon juice. But that’s far from all that’s happening on that particular date; the entire Kensington Street precinct will be celebrating on the Saturday from 3pm to 8pm, opening up their historic terraces to help with a CNY block party.

There will be plenty of lights (the official name for the street-wide party is “The Light of Dawn”) as the public gain access to cooking demos from Chef’s Gallery, showcases from the likes of Holy Duck! and Automata, stalls full of fortune telling, caricaturists, and silent Chinese film, and a whole heap of live music (think C-Pop and K-Pop).

For full details click HERE.

Huxtaburger (Melbourne)

While Daniel Wilson’s famous burger chain won’t be going all out for CNY they’ll be adding a little detail to their regular menu to nod to the city-wide celebrations. It sounds too good not to include here. From Jan 27th, burger fiends will be able to grab a basket of special Salt & Pepper Chicken Tenders with crispy chilli mayo dipping sauce.

For more information click HERE.

Feature Image: The Rooster cocktail at Kensington Street Social and The Old Clare Hotel, Sydney available on 4th February.


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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.