The Lunar New Year is fast approaching and we are already making plans to celebrate with friends and family. The Year of the Dragon is considered one of the most popular. It’s considered the most auspicious sign and a powerful one. Dragon years tend to be abundant in many ways including in prosperity and strength. It also happens to be in the element of wood which is said to symbolize nourishment — so you can also consider this a year of growth, opportunity, and evolution!
If you were born in the Year of the Dragon you’re probably someone who is a natural leader. You have confidence in what you do and full of energy. No surprise that many will pay attention to what you say and do. People gravitate to you because of your charm.
There are all different ways to celebrate in, and around, Toronto this Lunar New Year. From traditional offerings in our city’s Chinatown to malls including Yorkdale Shopping Centre — you won’t want to miss the incredible 40 ft Majestic Golden Dragon to Asian Marketplaces at Scarborough Town Centre shining spotlights on local arts and culture.
Of course food is an integral part of ushering in the new year and held over the 15 days of celebrations. Dim Sum? Yes, always. Check out restaurants including the new Pearl in Yorkville (on Yonge just south of Bloor). Head uptown to places like Lobster Port and New Century where you may even get lucky and catch a lion dance on the weekend.
Here are a few places in the city we recommend to eat that are offering something special this festive season!
Lunar New Year Three Dragon’s Dinner: February 22 at 6 pm. Location: Hong Shing Restaurant. Two of Toronto’s beloved chefs, Chef Eva Chin and Chef Wallace Wong, have collaborated with Restaurateur Colin Li of Hong Shing to create an exquisite 6-course Cantonese-inspired menu, exclusively available for one night only. This year, you can witness the collaborative synergy of Eva, Wallace, and Colin, with an evening filled with story-telling of the flavours and traditions they love as they extend heartfelt wishes for a year brimming with wealth and prosperity. Menu items include Treasure Crab Claw, Prosperity Lobster Tower, Black Bean Spareribs, and other celebratory delicacies. Baiju pairing available. Only 45 seats available. $218 per person. Link here.
Dine-in Chef’s Lunar New Year Tasting Menu at Hong Shing: a special 8-course Chef’s tasting menu available for dine-in only featuring elevated Chinese dishes including Gold Treasure Soup, Lobster Chee Cheong Fun, Ginger Onion Lobster Arancini, and more.$128 per person family style sharing). Available until February 15. Reservations are available through Hong Shing’s reservation platform here and require a minimum of 4 people.
Lunar New Year Afternoon Tea at Holt’s Cafe Bloor Street: Celebrating the Year of the Dragon, Chef Malcolm Webster works with local artisans to create this year’s exquisite Afternoon Tea offerings. The menu will highlight a beautiful array of savoury items, sweet treats and fresh baked goods including crystal shrimp dumpling, crab wonton, five-spice roasted pork bao, matcha scone, mandarin orange choux and more. It also includes the tea selection of your choice from the menu. The Afternoon Tea will be available at the Bloor location every Thursday to Sunday for all operating hours from January 27 to March 3. Reservations required.
Year of the Dragon Feast at Kiss My Pans: January 31 and February 7 only. Join in this celebration dinner that owners and chefs, Jeanne and David, would serve while they lived in Singapore for their Reunion Dinner on the eve of the Lunar New Year. Dishes include Yusheng Prosperity Slaw (aka Singapore Slaw), Emperor Tonic Chicken, Cereal Prawn, Seasonal Greens and Deep Fried Ice Cream. With the Prosperity Slaw, guests will join in the experience of tossing the ingredients tradition. The higher you toss, the more prosperous, good luck and fortune will rain down on you. Reservations required. While you’re there, be sure to pick up some extra Lunar New Year treats by local shops. Check their Instagram for updates.
Lunar New Year Celebration at LOUIX LOUIS: St. Regis Hotel. Guests can celebrate the Year of the Dragon from February 8 to 11 with a special prix fixe menu. Inspired by French and Asian flavours this curated menu will feature dishes like abalone & chicken consommé, fois gras & pork dumplings, red snapper with Lo Wei slaw, and red bean pudding.
Lunar New Year Afternoon Tea at Astor Lounge: St. Regis Hotel. Features Asian-inspired flavours offered throughout February. Enjoy sweet and savoury offerings such as kalamansi posset, matcha profiteroles, pulled BBQ mushroom buns, five-spic crab sandwiches and more.
SMALL BITES & COOL SIPS:
Hong Shing x June Plum (by Patois)- General Tao Chicken Patty: Chinese food and Jamaican food have always been staples of Toronto food culture. For Lunar New Year, Hong Shing is excited to partner with June Plum on a limited release of a General Tao Chicken Patty. The General Tao Chicken at Hong Shing has been a staple item on the menu since 1997. The balance of sweet, savoury, and spicy is the perfect filling that Chef Craig Wong mastered into a patty for this collaboration. Available only at June Plum (limited quantities).
Looking for somewhere to enjoy Dim Sum? You’ll definitely want to make reservations during this busy time of the year (and yes, if you’ve ever experienced the reservation system at a Chinese restaurant you might still expect to wait a bit when you get there).
Chatime’s Lucky Pockets return for the Lunar New Year. This year’s design features the vibrant dragon illustrations by Vancouver-based artist Carolyn Wong. Try their vast collection of hot and cold milk and fruit teas made from tea leaves directly from Taiwan. Bubbles (boba) and grass jelly toppings are made in-house. When customers purchase 2 large drinks they will receive a Lucky Pocket “lei see”. Inside the pockets are opportunities to win vouchers, coupons, and prizes. But for us bubble tea fans, we know these are collectables too!
Rather Stay Home?
Make this easy recipe for Longevity Noodles right at home and avoid the crowds. Noodles are a must-have dish during the Lunar New Year. By enjoying them offers wishes for a long and prosperous life. Just don’t cut them before eating! Here’s a great recipe for Longevity Noodles to try using Blue Dragon Egg Noodles and their line of sauces. We made the recipe and adapted it to add in BBQ pork and carrots.