Celebrate Lunar New Year deliciously: 16 dinner and dessert specials in L.A.
Marked by the cycles of the new moon, the Lunar New Year is celebrated across China, Tibet, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and other parts of Asia, and with plenty of fanfare right here in Los Angeles. This year’s festivities will begin on Sunday, Jan. 22, and can last up to two weeks, with celebrations that include gift-giving, parades and, of course, plenty of food.
“It’s a wonderful and joyous way to celebrate and remember my heritage,” says Alice Cherng, co-owner of L.A.-based Dear Bella Creamery. “I was born and raised in Taiwan until I immigrated to L.A. when I was 8 years old, so Chinese New Year was very much part of my childhood. On the other hand, my 3-year-old daughter is half Chinese and was born and raised in L.A. She has no idea that pineapple means luck and fortune and tang yuan means togetherness.” Cherng says her hope is to start conversations about the symbolism, history and culture of Lunar New Year as a way to continue tradition.
Kick off the Year of the Rabbit with rabbit-themed gift ideas you may want to get for yourself, including chocolates, clothing, candles, lipstick and more.
For the record:
12:37 p.m. Jan. 19, 2023A previous version of this article referred to chef Shirley Chung as the winner of “Top Chef.” In fact, she is a two-time finalist. The story has been updated to reflect this change.
For chef Andrew Marco of Koreatown’s Open Market, the Lunar New Year is also an opportunity to create new traditions, ones that can only exist here in L.A. The neighborhood market is hosting its annual Lunar New Year dinner, which Marco describes as “an ode to two big immigrant populations in this city, Chinese and Mexican, and finding the intersections between the two.”
The Lunar New Year is a time to call in prosperity, health and good luck. Centered around family, food and celebration, here are the best festivals, limited dinner engagements and dessert specials across L.A. to help you ring in the Year of the Rabbit, a universal symbol of hope and renewal.
Chinatown teahouse and garden Steep is kicking off Lunar New Year with its first Steep After Dark pop-up of 2023. From Thursday to Saturday, the tea room and outdoor patio will be open from 4 to 10 p.m., for first-come, first-served tea-based cocktails and mocktails alongside modern Taiwanese cuisine from chef Jonathen Liu of Tiger & the Horse.
Nong La Cafe
Start the Year of the Rabbit on a sweet note at Nong La Cafe, a family-run Vietnamese restaurant with locations on Sawtelle and La Brea (in the Fairfax District at 145 N. La Brea Ave., #B). Through Sunday, the restaurant is bringing back its noteworthy caramel flan, molded into a circular shape to represent unity and togetherness. Pair it with staple dishes such as creamy and hearty bun rieu tomato soup, another recent re-addition to the menu.
Ms. Chi Cafe
This Culver City spot from “Top Chef” finalist Shirley Chung is offering a set family-style menu for two ($128) that includes highlights such as lo shen salad with beet-cured salmon over glass noodles, chicken jiaozi in golden turmeric wrappers, Singapore chile noodles with red king crab and tea-smoked duck, with two grapefruit mochi doughnuts for dessert. The Lunar New Year menu is available for dine-in only from Wednesday to Sunday.
Korean American deli Yangban Society is offering a decadent, multicultural take on a classic Jewish comfort food for Lunar New Year. Stop by between Friday and Sunday to sample Korean latkes made with Girl & Dug squashini, Yukon potato, onion and matzoh meal, griddled in clarified butter, and topped with whipped crème fraîche and house trout roe ($38) or caviar ($78).
Crustacean Beverly Hills
Golden Dragon Parade
Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival
Santa Monica Place
Dear Bella Creamery
It's a date
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