Colour, food and tradition are synonymous with Lunar New Year and you're all invited.
A shared celebration for many cultures and communities around the country, Lunar New Year 2019 (LNY) marks the Year of the Pig and falls on Tuesday, Feb 5 with plenty of festivities around town over the coming weeks to enjoy.
From dumplings galore, yum cha record attempts and congee breakfasts to musical performances, dragon boat races, fireworks and plenty of ways to get your market fix, we've picked a few highlights that are set to satisfy your appetites and immerse you in a celebration wrapped in luck, honour and delicious optimism for the year ahead.
On the back of its success last year, the team from New Shanghai are bringing back their dough-y a-game to the skies with their all-you-can-eat dumpling pop-up at Sydney Tower Eye. What's not to love? Sunsets, 360-degree views of the city and all your dumpling desires knocked out of the ballpark. #elasticisedpants
Lunar Lanterns and Zodiac RouletteEvery night from Saturday, Feb 1 to Sunday, Feb 10
Take a stroll around Circular Quay from the Opera House to the Rocks and you'll be greeted by 12 over-sized and vibrant Lunar animal lanterns along the way. With the Pig lantern front and centre, these giant light sculptures come to life from dusk each day. Snap a picture with your birth sign and also jump inside AYAM’s famous Zodiac Roulette Tuk Tuk (locations here), which will combine your Chinese and Western zodiac signs to reveal a dish. Once you've been matched to your dish, the Tuk Tuk will automatically dispense a relevant AYAM product down a chute, which you can use to make that dish with.
It's a Chinese cultural tradition spanning thousands of years and it's also one of the most anticipated events of the Sydney Lunar Festival; dragon boating. Head to Darling Harbour and watch as teams pile into 12-metre dragon-headed vessels and race to the beat of a drum.
Located inside the famous Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour, the Gardens by Lotus is a modern interpretation of a traditional Chinese Teahouse by day with a localised Sichuan Restaurant and events space by night. With a Chinese high tea on offer, there's also a yum cha menu featuring pork xiao long bao, leek pancakes, Hainan chicken, salt and pepper tofu salad and mango pudding. And to celebrate Chinese New Year, the Gardens will be hosting a special dinner banquet running for two weeks, commencing Feb 1.
This free two-day festival celebrates the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. With the unveiling of the world’s longest pork roll, there will be food competitions such as a prawn peel-off and Cabramatta is already home to more than 100 restaurants specialising in a variety of Southeast Asian cuisine, so the food stalls will be ready.
From learning how to cook a lucky Lunar New Year feast with #DestinatonFlavour guide, cookbook author and our very own SBS Food royalty Adam Liaw, to watching traditional cultural performances – lion dances and high pole acrobatics - there’s plenty to direct your eyes and buds at Market City.
At 12 pm this Sunday, Feb 3 Adam Liaw hosts a free, ticketless and exclusive cooking demonstration with the chefs behind Market City’s 1909 Dining Precinct restaurants. With a cook-off spanning Mandarin fish in sweet and sour sauce, seafood and kimchi pancake jeon, Kurobuta pork wontons and wagyu sukiyaki teishoku, get yourself to the demo and you can also win copies of his brand-new cookbook Destination Flavour: People and Places. Find out more about what’s on at Market City’s 1909 Dining Precinct right here.
From 4 pm every Friday Dixon Street comes alive. All the hustle and bustle is part of the charm as the street turns into a vibrant night market selling Asian street foods, sweets and gifts. With rice noodle rolls, hand-rolled roti and cumin lamb skewers steaming up the streets, mango pancakes, dragon beard candy and ice-cream rolls to keep the street sweet as well.
Of course, there will be plenty of LNY-inspired menus to delight in across the country and booking in your banquet is a great way to beat the crowds. For the month of Feb, Harvest Buffet is putting on a wide selection of dishes at The Star, pan-Asia eatery Bodhi is hosting two vegan set menus on Feb 5 while, Spice Temple's feast of auspicious dishes, has created a nine-course Chinese New Year menu that celebrates wealth, prosperity, happiness, money, fortune, longevity, harmony, rejuvenation and love. There's certainly plenty of plates to push through.
For one night only, Sydney Fish Market will turn into a nighttime extravaganza. Traditional lion dancers and laser light show on the water provide the entertainment while a selection of seafood stalls, serving whole fish, crab and oysters, as well as yum cha, burgers and desserts also on offer. Entry and parking are free from 4pm and we've got seafood and sunsets in our sights.
Toss for prosperity
Expect lion dances, hand-pulled noodles, market stalls of the sweet, savoury and everything in between plus Taste of Asia will be running food tours throughout Chatswood’s three-week-long Year of the Pig Festival. The Taste of Asia tours will take visitors on a guided trip to hear stories of food, history and culture around Chatswood's foodie hotspots and also allow its guests to share in their dishes. With local restaurants putting on a feast and the popular Hawker Lane continue to buzz over this time of year, there will be plenty to taste.
And this Saturday, Feb 2 at 2pm at the Centre Court near Din Tai Fung, you can partake in the largest prosperity toss. It is known as one of the most important dishes of the Chinese New Year and consists of raw fish, mixed with salad vegetables, sauces condiments and when these ingredients are all tossed in the air for prosperity. Find out about what’s on during Lunar New Year as part of this year's Chatswood Festival.
Yum Cha records
Taking place at Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour next Tuesday morning, Feb 5 is an attempt to break the Guinness World Records title for the Largest Yum Cha meal – and everyone is welcome! Here’s what you need to know to get involved.
The Art Gallery will both be hosting a free Chinese calligraphy demonstration on Tuesday, Feb 5 from 12pm – 2pm and an experiential tea ceremony performed by Haymarket tea masters from Topotea on Saturday, Feb 9 from 11am to 1pm. And if you’re only available after hours, then pop Wednesday, Feb 6 into your diaries with traditional Chinese lion dances and drumming, live Chinese pop music and a session with Benjamin Law and Adam Liaw on food, travel and art. Find out more about what is up and coming at The Art Gallery.
Art + congee10am – 12:30pm, Saturday, Feb 9. Book your ticket here
The first retrospective piece by leading Chinese artist Xiao Lu at the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 'Impossible Dialogue' spans a period of 30 years and explores Lu’s ongoing connection to Australia. Join curator Mikala Tai and academic Paul Gladston for a tour of this exhibition followed by a congee breakfast in the heart of Haymarket.
DIY DumplingsWednesday, Feb 20 at 6.30pm – 8.30pm. $20 pp Book your tickets here.
As part of the Summer Festival at Green Square, you can join in this hands-on dumpling workshop. Expect to learn where to source the best ingredients, how to prepare your own dough and fillings, and how to roll, wrap, cook and eat your own. Daily dumpling dinner parties just got a whole lot more achievable.
“This Cantonese dish is traditionally served the day before Chinese New Year. Yip Choi Khall has been cooking and perfecting her version of the dish for over 50 years now. Her choice of treasures for the stuffing beautifully complement the succulent duck and addition of fat choy. Browning the duck before steaming seals the bird, ensuring all the flavours remain in the duck during the steaming process″ Adam Liaw, Destination Flavour Singapore