Food is a central part of Lunar New Year celebrations around the world, and as many communities welcome the Year of the Dragon, in Vancouver there are several restaurants dishing up festive feasts inspired by tradition and designed to delight.
In the Chinese zodiac, the Dragon is the only mythical animal represented, symbolizing power, nobility, honour, luck, and success. Any Lunar New Year feast, however, will be full of auspicious foods said to bring forth all the blessings of the fresh new year.
Mott 32 restaurant is tapping into the rich tapestry of culinary tradition tied to ushering in a new year with dishes created in collaboration between Mott 32 Group Executive Chef Lee Man Sing and Head Chef He Hong Wei of the Vancouver location. Offered February 9 through 24, the menu taps into the very best of what the award-winning restaurant does so well, in particular modern Chinese seafood dishes that dazzle in flavour and presentation.
Case in point, Mott 32 Vancouver's Lunar New Year dishes include a Flaming Garoupa, which is a whole fish, beautifully presented and set ablaze at the table, punctuated with pickled ginger, fermented chili bean paste, and fiery chilis. Other Lunar New Year offerings are must-haves, like a While Lobster and Abalone Salad, or a supple and gently creamy dish of thick slices of radish and scallop tossed in egg white.
Each of the eight dishes on Mott 32's special Year of the Dragon menu represents aspects of good fortune, good health, luck, and prosperity for the year ahead. Options include ordering the complete meal or dishes a la carte and the menu can also be paired with featured cocktails and wines.
One way to also experience Mott 32's delectable dim sum dishes is to visit the Lobby Lounge and Raw Bar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, which is hosting a Lunar New Year pop-up now through February 25. The exclusive menu, crafted by Mott 32, is available daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and features a selection of steamed and baked dim sum, including traditional and signature creations like dumplings and crispy spring rolls, alongside a showstopping Signature Applewood Peking Duck with all the trimmings.
Lunar New Year meals and treats in Vancouver
Several Vancouver restaurants and cafés are also presenting their takes on Lunar New Year eats and treats.
Whether you are looking for a sumptuous afternoon tea at a posh downtown location like Notch 8 or the cafe at Holt Renfrew, or are simply keen to try a sweet treat, here are a few worthy considerations for good eats to a great start to the Year of the Dragon:
A Lunar New Year meal for four, available now through Friday, February 23. The set includes items like Salt-baked chicken with ginger scallion sauce, Truffle Siu Mai, and Roast Pork (a LNY special dish).
The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver's themed Afternoon Tea offers a Lunar New Year experience, complete with red lanterns and envelopes, and special tea savouries and sweets, elegantly presented.
From Feb. 10-24, enjoy Bel Café's take on a traditional Pineapple Bun. Although it contains no pineapple, the bun is named for its characteristic golden topping that resembles the look of a pineapple. Bel Café’s delectable Pineapple Buns are made with sweetened milk bread and topped with a buttery crispy crust.
Now through March 3, the cafe at Vancouver's Holt Renfrew store has an upscale Year of the Dragon tea available.
Dicky’s Dumps and Rosie’s BBQ are coming together for their first-ever collaboration with special dishes pairing Chinese dumplings and Texas BBQ together to welcome and celebrate the Year of the Dragon. The Crispy Dumplings & Brisket, Brisket & Dumplings Ramen, and Brisket & Dumplings Noodle Plate combine Dicky’s Dumps handmade dumplings with Rosie’s slow-smoked, grass-fed 63 Acres premium B.C. beef brisket for a celebration-worthy feast. Available February 10-11 at Dalina on Main and February 17 at Parkside Brewery in Port Moody.
From Feb. 9-11, enjoy a special Year of the Dragon dish of Cracked and Fried Whole Dungeness Crab Served with Chef Tommy's XO-chili sauce, scallion-cilantro, and stir-fried vegetables. They're also pouring a special LNY cocktail called The Dragon Hart.
Courtesy of Ladurée’s state-of-the-art Canadian pastry laboratories, its limited edition Evidence cake for Lunar New Year is available at its Vancouver Robson Street bakery cafe. The French treat shop also has a special LNY macaron box available which you can customize with eight macarons and the option to add on gold leaf on the pieces.
Enjoy a special cocktail in February to celebrate Lunar New Year: The Glowbal Dragon (Red Star Er Guo Tou Baijiu, dragon fruit infusion, Junmai Taru Sake, yuzu, lychee liquor chilled with Jetchill dry ice system).
As part of the Lunar New Year festivities in Vancouver's vibrant Chinatown, food lovers will find an array of deals and specials from vendors in the neighbourhood from February 9 to 11, including some exciting limited-edition collaborations to tempt tastebuds.
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