Food & Drinks

Where in the World to Feast for Chinese New Year

The Year of the Rooster will be celebrated by Chinese communities around the world from Jan. 27—and it's not all about noisy spectacles with firecrackers and lion-dancing.

It's an opportunity for feasting with family and friends. Food is central to Chinese culture and the holiday is a time for sharing traditional delicacies representing good fortune. But where to go? Here are some great restaurants to welcome the new year.

Asia

Lai Wah, Singapore
Lai Wah is reputed to be the home of yu sheng, a Chinese New Year dish across Southeast Asia, of raw fish and vegetables that are tossed in the air by diners as they recite sayings to bring good fortune. First served at Lai Wah in 1964, the dish is auspicious, as the word fish sounds like abundance in Chinese. Go for the heritage, not the dated decor. 44 Bendemeer Road, #01-1436, Singapore 330044. +65 6294 9922

Blue Lotus, Singapore

Blue Lotus's own unique and healthy version of the yu sheng.

Photographer: Edmond Ho for Blue Lotus

For a more refined yu sheng experience, complete with tea-smoked Norwegian salmon, head to Blue Lotus, whose tables sit under a canopy of colorful lanterns overlooking the marina. The restaurant is at the forefront of modernizing traditional Chinese cuisine, and three new year set menus on offer represent harmony,  prosperity and longevity. 31 Ocean Way, #01-13 Quayside Isle, Quayside Isle, Singapore 098375. +65 6339 0880

Fu 1088, Shanghai
For a less traditional new year setting and a touch of privacy, this beautiful Spanish-style 1920s townhouse features 16 rooms, each housing just one table, where you'll be served modern versions of classic Shanghai dishes. There's no website, and reserving your spot in advance is highly recommended. 375 Zhenning Rd, Changning Qu, China, 200040. +86 21 5239 7878

Lung King Heen, Hong Kong

EDITOR'S NOTE: NO SALES. EDITORIAL USE ONLY: Dishes of steamed assorted mushroom dumplings with celery, left, and steamed lobster and scallop dumpling served at the Lung King Heen restaurant inside Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong are arranged for a photograph in this handout photograph taken in Hong Kong, China, on July 20, 2012, provided to the media on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. Source: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong via Bloomberg

Steamed assorted mushroom dumplings with celery and steamed lobster and scallop dumpling.

Source: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

Welcome the Year of the Rooster at Lung King Heen, the world's first Chinese restaurant to hold three Michelin stars. Chef Chan Yan Tak's recommendations from his predominantly Cantonese menu include steamed lobster and scallop dumpling and baked whole abalone puff with diced chicken. Diners overlooking Hong Kong harbor can take home a box of limited edition chrysanthemum and honey lunar new year puddings. Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance St, Central. +852 3196 8888

Spice Temple, Sydney

EDITOR'S NOTE: NO SALES. EDITORIAL USE ONLY: Sweet and sour sauce is poured onto a dish of Roast pork belly in this handout photograph taken at the Spice Temple restaurant in Sydney, Australia, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, provided to the media on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. Photographer: Ted Sealy/Rockpool Group via Bloomberg

Spice Temple's roast pork belly with sweet and sour sauce.

Photographer: Ted Sealy/Rockpool Group

With a deliberate avoidance of Cantonese food, Spice Temple, as the name suggests, embraces the chili and all things hot. Its Chinese New Year menu draws inspiration from the heat of Sichuan and Hunan cuisine, while a cocktail list based on the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac and exactly 100 wines will cool things down. 10 Bligh St, Sydney, NSW 2000. + 61 2 8078 1888

Europe

Bright Courtyard Club, London
This Marylebone restaurant is a favorite with staff from the Chinese embassy and the TV chef Ching He-huang. The banquet menus are particularly popular, with dishes such as steamed sea bass. Bright Courtyard belongs to the Shanghai Life Fashion Group. 43-45 Baker Street, London, W1U 8EW. +44-20-7486-6998

A Wong, London

EDITOR'S NOTE: NO SALES. EDITORIAL USE ONLY: A dish of gong bao chicken sits surrounded by liquid nitrogen at A. Wong restaurant in London, U.K., in this undated handout image released to the media on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. Source: Lotus

A dish of gong bao chicken is surrounded by liquid nitrogen at A Wong restaurant in London.

Source: Lotus


This low-profile restaurant in Victoria serves some of the most innovative Chinese food in the U.K. Chef Andrew Wong was born in London to a Cantonese family and learned to cook in cities across China. His lunchtime dim sum is as fine as any in London, while it is worth going back to try his 10-course Taste of China dinner menu. 70 Wilton Rd, Victoria, London, SW1V 1DE. +44-20-7828-8931

Reindeer Cafe, London
This restaurant in the Wing Yip store in suburban Cricklewood is a favorite with Chinese families. They are drawn by dishes such as roast pork belly and won ton noodles. It's worth the journey for the authentic flavors of Hong Kong, served in a large and busy room. Unit 3, Wing Yip Centre, 395 Edgware Road, London, NW2 6LN. +44-20-8450-3330 (no website)

New Fortune Cookie, London
This Bayswater restaurant looks like a tourist joint and, indeed, you could fill up on sweet & sour pork followed by banana fritters. But aficionados go for dishes such as steamed scallop and for the roast meats. On a street boasting several Cantonese restaurants, this is a favorite with Chinese diners. 1 Queensway, London, W2 4QJ. +44-20-7727-7260 (no website)

La Bijouterie, Lyon, France
This small restaurant in the center of Lyon is an unusual choice: The chefs are French and it's not even Chinese. But the cooking is inventive and La Bijouterie is known for the fusion dim sum it serves at lunchtime. Fans include New York chef Daniel Boulud, who likes to visit when he returns to his hometown. 16 Rue Hippolyte Flandrin, 69001 Lyon. +33-4-78-08-14-03 (no website)

Mandarin Oriental, Milan

Cocktails and Asian tapas at the Mandarin Oriental in Milan


The Hong Kong hotel group is celebrating in Milan with a range of promotions until Feb. 5.  There are three special cocktails served with Asian tapas at Mandarin Bar & Bistrot. At the Spa, therapies will be offered at a special price, with Chinese Medicine expert Peiquin Zhao on hand to help guests discover their main element and find a new balance. Via Andegari 9, 20121 Milan. +39-02-8731-8888

Americas

Fung Tu, New York

FUNG TU spring 2015 braised char siu beef cheeks

At Fung Tu in New York, beef short ribs get the Chinese barbecue treatment.

Photographer: Paul Wagtouicz

The cooking at Fung Tu is as cool as its Lower East Side Manhattan location. Chef Jonathan Wu fries duck-stuffed smoked dates as a snack and uses sumptuous crêpes rather than standard wrappers for his egg rolls stuffed with chunks of pork belly; instead of spare ribs he cooks succulent beef short ribs char siu, or Chinese barbecue style, so they’re charred and falling apart. To celebrate Chinese New Year, there are three special menus, from a $68 prix fixe of favorites (including those egg rolls and ribs), plus ambitious $88 and $111 tastings (think fried oyster lettuce cups with black truffles). 22 Orchard Street, New York; 212-219-8785

China Blue, New York

Among the elegant dishes at the Shanghai-styled China Blue is a five spice pig's foot terrine.

Photographer: Sicheng Chen

From the owners of the excellent China Café, this elegant Shanghai restaurant evinces a sultry 1930s vibe in Tribeca. The vast, sweetly illustrated menu has appetizers like braised tofu with king crab; a selection of the greatest hits of dim sum, like potstickers, soup buns and crystal shrimp dumplings; and, for an entree, richly flavored, fist-sized “lion’s head” pork meatballs cooked in a clay pot. 135 Watts Street, New York; 212-431-0111

Hakkasan, New York

A Chinese New Year tradition at Hakkasan: Tossing the Fortune Tale salad high to bring good luck.

Source: Hakkasan

Like the London original, Hakkasan New York is the epitome of swanky Chinese dining, with fancy touches like a roasted cod whose Chinese honey sauce is spiked with Champagne. Executive chef Tong Chee Hwee is preparing a limited-edition Year of the Rooster menu to be served at all global locations until Feb. 11. The $128 prix fixe is designed to celebrate joy and prosperity with dishes like Fortune Tale salad, made with jellyfish and roast chicken; it’s tossed tableside, and the higher it’s tossed the more good luck will purportedly come to the guest. There will also be wishing trees where guests can share their hopes for the coming year. 311 West 43rd Street, New York; 212-776-1818 

Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco

Besides its inspired Chinese cooking, Mister Jiu's has a serious cocktail program.

Photographer: Kassie Borreson

At this upscale new restaurant with an expansive view of Chinatown and downtown San Francisco, chef Brandon Jew specializes in unconventional versions of classics. He serves a tea-smoked duck with pancakes and peanut hoisin that goes for $110 and cheong fun, the silky roll made from long strips of rice noodles, with caviar. There’s also a stellar wine list and cocktail selection, named for different types of luck: Wealth is composed of scotch, rye, Lapsang Souchong tea, and apple. 28 Waverly Place, San Francisco; 415-857 9688

Z & Y, San Francisco

Z & Y in San Francisco specializes in Sichuan dishes with tingling chile oil like couple's delight with beef tendon.

Source: Z & Y Restaurant

Most of the city’s best, most authentic Chinese restaurants are in the Richmond District which can be a trek. Z & Y is more conveniently located for visitors, set in Chinatown near the Financial District. The Sichuan menu features dishes from chef Li Jun Han, who has cooked for Chinese presidents and foreign ministers. On the menu: translucent slices of beef tendon with mouth-numbing Sichuan pepper oil in the dish couples delight; kung pao scallops; and fried chunks of chicken, nestled among a mountain of red chiles. 655 Jackson Street, San Francisco; 415-981-8988 

Din Tai Fung, Glendale, Calif.
 

Soup dumplings (xiao long bao) are the specialty at Din Tai Fung.

Source: Din Tai Fung

This worldwide chain, famed for their soup dumplings (xiao long bao), started in Taiwan and now extends from Japan to Hong Kong to the U.S. west coast. They’ve expanded out of the San Gabriel Valley (America’s epicenter of Asian cooking) to an upscale pedestrian mall in Glendale, serving up exceedingly delicate, juicy dumplings from plain pork to pork and truffle, plus noodle dishes like Shanghai rice cakes with shrimp. And they’re opening another outpost soon, in Century City, near the future L.A. Eataly. 177 Caruso Avenue, Glendale, CA; 818-551-5561

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant, Vancouver 

At Dynasty Seafood restaurant, the view, like the vast Chinese menu, is notable.

Source: Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

In a city with some of the best Chinese cuisine in North America, Dynasty still stands out; the black granite and gold dining room boasts views of Vancouver's dramatic skyline and snow-capped mountains. Here, chef Sam Leung reinterprets high-end Cantonese cuisine with of the Pacific Northwest touches, with specialties like sweet crab meat in egg white. Leung’s 10-course New Year’s menu, from CAD $952 ($715) per table, also features seafood. "The menu is designed to evoke prosperity," notes Manager Victor Loo. Case in point: Sauteed scallops in crab cream and braised Australian abalone symbolize fancy gold medallions. 777 West Broadway, Vancouver; 604-876-8388

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