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Where to Eat Your Way Through the Lunar New Year

As they say: long noodles, long life—and a delicious one, too.
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Photo by Kathryn Kemp (courtesy of Gung Ho).

On January 25, the Chinese New Year begins. Also known as the Lunar New Year since several different East Asian cultures celebrate the first new moon of the year, this age-old tradition means ringing in another year by eating lots of lucky—and of course tasty—foods. From dumplings that represent prosperity to piles of noodles that signify longevity, these restaurants are hosting fun fetes to kick off 2020…again. 

Now thru Saturday, Feb. 8
Chinese New Year Doughnuts at Fat Straws
The bubble tea shop knowns for its deep menu of customizable drinks and “chewy puff donuts”—that is to say mochi doughnuts made with glutinous rice flour if we want to get semi-technical about it—has crafted a special edition doughnut for the new year. It’s strawberry flavored, coated in a bright red glaze, and crowned with gold dust. Find the Instagram-worthy treat at all four Fat Straw locales Fridays through Sundays at $2.50 a piece or $25 for a preordered dozen. Fat Straws will also pop up at the Asia Times Square festival this weekend (see below) and the Highland Park Village farmers market on February 8.

Thursday, Jan. 23
Chinese New Year Garden to Table Dinner with Imoto
At the Dallas Arboretum, find Imoto chef Kent Rathbun cooking live demonstrations of his farm-fresh meals. Dinner gets going with a variety of dumplings and spring rolls, then moves on to Mongolian barbecue ribs, fried rice, and an avocado-raspberry roulade for dessert. Thirst quenchers come in the form of red and white wines plus Chinese beer. Tickets are $145 ($125 for arboretum members).

Friday, Jan. 24 & Saturday, Jan. 25
Pre-Fixe Dinner at Gung Ho
The Greenville Avenue restaurant, which celebrates its second anniversary in February, will host an inaugural Chinese New Year dinner for two nights. Chef Kevin Wong has created a four-course, family-style menu with dishes rich with symbolism. The meal starts with herby, black vinegar–marinated peanuts, the shape of which resemble hands joined together, representing friendship. The word “fish” in Chinese sounds like “surplus,” so a Hong Kong–style salmon with chili oil nods to your (hopefully) prosperous year. And yep, expect pork and shrimp dumplings here, too. Per Wong, “Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during the new year celebrations, the more money you can make in the new year.” Challenge enthusiastically accepted. Secure your tickets online ($45 per person, plus $15 if you’d like a drink pairing), or try your luck by simply walking in. There will also be a DJ and hourly raffles starting at 7.

Thursday, Feb. 6
Chinese New Year Night Market at Five Sixty
Best wear your stretchiest pants to this all-you-can-eat Chinese barbecue fest, where an abundance of dim sum, noodles, hot pot, and brisket will abound high up inside Reunion Tower. A live DJ will be spinning tunes, lion dancers will be hopping through the restaurant, and an unnamed celebrity candy maker will be doing celebrity candy maker things. Tickets for this skyward party are $95.

Saturday, Feb. 8
Chinese New Year Dinner at Beijing Brothers
Well over a dozen eclectic eateries call Plano’s Legacy Hall home, but for the tail end of the Lunar New Year seek out the Beijing Brothers’ stall. Chef Willy Lu will be making fresh handmade noodles throughout the day; slurp them down alongside dumplings, orange chicken, and live performances (lion dancers, kung fu, a violin trio) from noon until 6.

Other Good, but Not Entirely Food-Focused Lunar New Year Fests

Jan. 17–19, Jan. 25 & 26
Asia Times Square Lunar New Year Festival
Back for its annual shindig, this Grand Prairie shopping center will transform into a verifiable festival with “lucky” foods aplenty, raffles, plus lion dances and performances, which start at 6. The following weekend, find firecrackers popping off at noon.

Saturday, Feb. 1
Texas Cultural Exchange Center’s Chinese New Year Party
Meanwhile in Richardson, ten bucks gets you into a choose-your-adventure lunch—pick from eight main entrees, three soups, and six desserts—and a lineup of performance, a craft fair, and more.

And if all else fails, eating an armful of mandarins to usher in an auspicious Year of the Rat.

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