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Collage of various Lunar New Year foods
(Brandon Ly / Los Angeles Times)

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.

Jan. 18, 2023

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.

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Steep L.A.

Chinatown Teahouse Chinese

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.
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Nong La Cafe's Caramel Flan
(Bungalow 95)

Nong La Cafe

Sawtelle Vietnamese

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.
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Chicken jiaozi from Ms Chi Cafe
(Albert Law)

Ms Chi Cafe

Culver City Chinese American $$

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.
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A photo of Yangban Society's Grain bowl.
(Dylan + Jeni/Yangban Society)

Yangban Society

Downtown L.A. Korean $$

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).
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Hop Woo

Chinatown Chinese
Hop Woo is ringing in the Lunar New Year with several special menus to fit any budget, including traditional poon choy — a single-pot feast with a variety of meats and vegetables — for six people available with or without seafood ($168 without, $238 with); a roast suckling pig that feeds 12 to 18 ($268); a roast pig that can feed up to 40 ($318); plus smaller dinners such as braised dried oyster with fat choy ($48), a vegetable whose name is a homonym for part of the new year greeting “gong hei fat choy”; and braised pig feet with fat choy ($38). The restaurant, a beloved fixture in Chinatown’s dining scene for 30 years, faced the unexpected loss in May 2022 of chef Lupe Liang, who joyfully ran Hop Woo alongside his wife, Judy, and dedicated staff. It has remained committed to the late chef’s vision of Cantonese cuisine fused with subtle Baja California flavors. Lunar New Year items, available through Wednesday, Jan. 25, require a 50% in-person deposit and two days’ advance notice.
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Duck Breast with Scallion Salad on Mejorado Tortilla from Open Market
(Sean Park)

Open Market

Koreatown Sandwich Shop Wine Bars
The Koreatown sandwich and wine shop is celebrating the Lunar New Year on Jan. 26 with a menu that remixes holiday favorites to honor the city’s wide-ranging culinary identity. Tuck into the team’s take on Peking duck, including dry-aged and cured duck breast with five-spice duck leg confit, served with duck fat fried rice, duck jus hoisin, fermented salsa, scallion salad, smashed cucumbers and tortillas from Mejorado, the tortilleria behind Burritos La Palma. Finish it off with a tres leches cake that’s layered with forbidden rice horchata and five-spice cake. Whole ducks run $130 each and half-ducks are $90 each with all the fixings, with preorders available on the website.
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Garlic Noodles with edible gold from Crustacean
(Carl Larsen)

Crustacean Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills Vietnamese European $$$
An early pioneer of Asian-European fusion cuisine, this gilded classic in Beverly Hills is celebrating Lunar New Year with an eight-course Heaven & Earth Prosperity Menu ($180 per person), available from Jan. 21 through Jan. 28. Each course honors a different aspect of the upcoming year, beginning with a caviar egg to symbolize unity and togetherness; building with a money bag dumpling that highlights this year’s chosen animal with rabbit, leeks and Dijon cream; and concluding with a rich and gooey butter cake with exotic fruit and coconut consommé. They’re going all out on Saturday, Jan. 21, and offering the eight-course menu with themed entertainment ranging from lion dancers to magicians and candymakers. Select items from the Lunar New Year menu will be available a la carte and red envelopes representing good luck will be given to all diners between Jan. 21 and Jan. 28, with vouchers like complimentary cocktails, an entree of An’s famous garlic-roasted Dungeness crab or a discount on your final check.
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A trio of desserts at Kato restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.
(Betty Hallock)


Downtown L.A. Taiwanese $$$$
Claiming the No. 3 spot on our 101 Best Restaurants list is this Michelin-starred stunner that marries Taiwanese cuisine with L.A.’s seasonality in a spacious and sleek dining room. For the second year in a row, chef Jon Yao is celebrating Lunar New Year by offering a themed nine-course dinner with wine pairings included ($325 per ticket). As with Kato’s regular tasting menu, the exact dishes are under wraps until you arrive, but you can expect a seafood-focused journey that draws inspiration from Asian American and Taiwanese cooking. The dinners will take place from Tuesday, Jan. 24, through Saturday, Jan. 28, with seatings at 5 and 8 p.m.
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West Hollywood Californian International
Wolfgang Puck’s elegant rooftop restaurant at Pendry West Hollywood is celebrating Lunar New Year with a prix fixe menu that showcases the chef’s signature pan-Asian bites and customer favorites like a king crab bao bun and star anise-braised short rib, plus specialty cocktails served alongside live entertainment — just in case 360-degree views of the glittering L.A. skyline aren’t enough of a show. The prix fixe Lunar New Year dinner is $165 per person and available Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28.
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Lunar New Year Dishes from Paradise Dynasty
(Picture provided by Paradise Dynasty)

Paradise Dynasty

Costa Mesa Chinese Singaporean
The spacious Singaporean restaurant in South Coast Plaza’s Collage Culinary Experience Food Hall is well-suited to Lunar New Year celebrations with a year-round menu of dumplings and noodles — including its famed flavored soup dumplings. This year, says Eldwin Chua, Paradise Dynasty CEO and founder, “We wanted to offer a special menu highlighting some of the most popular dishes that are typically eaten during the holiday, but with our own twists.” That means stir-fried lobster in XO sauce ($78.88), poached chicken in black truffle sauce ($38.88 half chicken; $77.76 whole chicken) and fish maw soup with dried scallop and crab meat ($22.88 for two to four and $38.88 for four to six people). The restaurant also plans to hand out about 3,500 lucky red envelopes with $10 vouchers for Paradise Dynasty and $5 vouchers for sister concept Le Shrimp Noodle Bar, through Feb. 12 or while supplies last.
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Golden Dragon Parade

Chinatown Festival
After a two-year hiatus, the popular Golden Dragon Parade is returning to Chinatown on Saturday, Jan. 28, complete with lion dancing, live music and more from 1 to 5 p.m.
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Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival

Alhambra Festival
Alhambra’s Lunar New Year festival returns for its 29th year on Sunday, Jan. 29, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with two entertainment stages and 100 vendor booths offering family-friendly activities and giveaways. Stop by the main stage for cultural performances and demonstrations including lion dancing, a calligraphy workshop and live candy sculpting, plus the return of the Asian Arts Talent Foundation, which will host performances from China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and other regions. This year’s festival will see the debut of a dedicated culinary stage with local chefs preparing their favorite Lunar New Year dishes, in addition to a new wellness pavilion where attendees can take advantage of free testing and health information. You can also pick up some fresh produce or pantry items at the Alhambra Farmers Market that will be happening in conjunction with the festival.
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Santa Monica Place

Santa Monica Shopping Center
Santa Monica Place is bringing back its annual Lunar New Year celebrations on Jan. 28, from 2 to 5 p.m., after a two-year hiatus. Visit the Central Plaza to take in the hanging red and gold lanterns and performances that include traditional lion dancing and balloon artists. Red envelopes with deals from participating on-site restaurants will be given to those in attendance. Don’t forget to visit the cherry blossom Wishing Trees and leave a wish for health and prosperity in the new year. Tie a wish on the trees or pick up a Lunar New Year craft kit for kids anytime between Jan. 21 and Feb. 4.
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Dear Bella Creamery's Lunar New Year Celebration Kit
(Katrina Frederick)

Dear Bella Creamery

Hollywood Ice cream
Taiwanese- and women-owned Dear Bella Creamery is ringing in the Lunar New Year with a special kit filled with everything you’ll need for a memorable at-home celebration. Each package comes with a pint of traditional Taiwanese square biscuit ice cream with crushed biscuits; an inspired rendition of tang yuan with sticky rice ice cream, slivers of black sesame paste and peanut powder; and Taiwanese pineapple cake, with chunks of twice-baked, gluten-free shortcake filled with butter-roasted pineapple jam. In addition to the ice cream, you’ll also get a jar of house-made sweet red bean sauce, seasonal Chinese candies and snacks, red envelopes for gifting family and friends, and an insulated Dear Bella bag. Orders must be placed at least two days in advance and can be picked up from the Hollywood location. The last day to order the Lunar New Year kit is Feb. 11 for pickup on Feb. 13.
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Wanderlust Creamery for Lunar New Year: Oolong Pineapple Cake. Jin xuan milk oolong ice cream, with swirls of housemade pineapple jam & pieces of buttery Taiwanese-style pineapple pastry. Contains: dairy, egg, wheat/gluten
(Max Milla and Adrienne Borlongan)

Wanderlust Creamery

Atwater Village Ice cream
Travel-inspired scoop shop Wanderlust is celebrating Lunar New Year with the release of six bestselling and new ice cream flavors available throughout the month of January. Returning to the menu are seasonal options like white rabbit, which went viral in 2019 for the nostalgic Shanghainese White Rabbit milk candy that features prominently in the recipe; oolong pineapple tart, which combines fragrant Taiwanese milk oolong tea with the pineapple jam-filled butter pastries that are common gifts at Taiwanese Lunar New Year celebrations; Vietnamese rocky road, featuring Vietnamese coffee ice cream swirled with condensed milk marshmallows, caramelized cacao nibs and bits of French roast; and pandan tres leches, a Southeast Asian take on tres leches cake with chunks of house-made pandan sponge cake and stripes of condensed milk. New flavors include lychee and almond cookie, inspired by Chinatowns across the globe, and creamy apricot almond osmanthus, a dairy-free creation with apricot and almond milk that’s infused with sweet osmanthus flowers. Visit one of the six L.A. shops (in Fairfax, Pasadena, Tarzana, Venice and DTLA’s Smorgasburg, in addition to Atwater Village) to get the Lunar New Year flavors by the scoop or place an order for the six-pint pack online.
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Lunar New Year fifteen-piece assortment from Valerie Confections.
(Picture provided by Valerie Confections)

Valerie Confections

Glendale Chocolate shop Bakery
On the heels of opening its massive flagship store in Glendale (with another location in Echo Park at 1665 Echo Park Ave.), Valerie Confections is celebrating Lunar New Year with two special chocolate assortments. One is a nine-piece assortment with gilded bittersweet chocolate truffles and crimson chocolates embossed with the Chinese character for “good luck.” The other features 15 pieces, including the “good luck” chocolates, gilded bittersweet truffles and liquid caramels. Both chocolate sets are available for online and in-store purchase through the first week of February.
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