Feature photo: Bang Bang Oriental Chinese New Year Market
One of the most popular districts in London is the world-famous China Town in Soho, a bustling area full of restaurants, Chinese supermarkets, herbal doctors and cafes.
There’s no shortage of eye-catching spots, and there’s no doubt that China Town is one of London’s busiest areas because of the capital’s love for the cuisine.
But no longer are the Chinese restaurants only opening on Gerrard Street, and Londoners everywhere can get a fix of Chinese whether in North, East, West or South London.
Friday 16 February 2018 marks Chinese New Year, and the start of the Year of the Dog. Representing loyalty and nobility, this year will be an ‘Earth Dog’, which is particularly representative of honour and morality. 2018 will be the year that is defined by your relationship with family, your brotherhood and sisterhood, but overall one where spiritual wealth comes first.
If you’re new to London or looking to celebrate the Year of the Dog, here’s the lowdown on where to be in London during Chinese New Year.
What you’ll see…
- An abundance of the colour red. It is a purely celebratory colour and symbolises good luck. Even better if you see red decorations in groups of 8 – a lucky number in Chinese folklore.
- Firecrackers will be out on the town to scare bad spirits away.
- Red and gold ‘Lei See’. These envelopes normally have money or surprises inside, for prosperity and good luck.
What you should be eating…
- Noodles on noodles on noodles. They represent happiness and longevity of life!
- Dumplings to signify wealth;
- Lots of fish which will bring prosperity;
- Oranges for fullness.
Most importantly, where to eat…
Royal China Restaurants, Across London
To celebrate the arrival of the New Year, the Royal China restaurants across London will be gifting a red Lei See to each table, with some of the envelopes containing special gifts, including a £100 meal voucher, a bottle of Champagne, a complimentary glass of wine and £20 vouchers to spend at Bang Bang Oriental, London’s largest Asian foodhall.
The restaurants will also offer a special Chinese New Year menu with different dishes bringing well-wishes for the new year. Seafood Dumplings in a Lobster Broth will bring good energy; Fried Spring Rolls with Dried Oysters represent wealth and business success and the star of luck will shine on guests enjoying the Pan-Fried Coconut Gluttonous Rice Cakes. There will also be Lion Dance performances to celebrate.
Hutong, The Shard
Hutong is a pretty well-known name in London. Located on the 33rd floor of The Shard, the menu is as impressive as the views.
On Friday 16 February, dine from the special CNY menu: including King Prawn Dumplings with Hot & Sour Soup and Wok-Fried Choy Sum to bring diners luck and success for the year ahead.
And in true Chinese style, there will of course be a traditional lion dance 33 levels up in the air.
Bang Bang Oriental Foodhall, Edgware
If you haven’t yet visited London’s largest Asian foodhall, Chinese New Year will be the time to make the trip. An evening of celebrations has been organised for Friday 16 February, completely free to attend with performances from 7-8.30pm.
There will be a traditional lion dance, followed by a Wing Chun performance and Biàn Liǎn act – an ancient Chinese dramatic art which originates from the 1700s. The celebrations will conclude with a musical finale.
As if that’s not enough, there’s also going to be a Chinese New Year Market until Sunday 18 February where you can buy souvenirs, lucky charms, handmade jewellery and more to commemorate the start of the Year of the Dog.
Ping Pong, Across London
Escape the traditional and get your hands dirty this Chinese New Year with a dim sum masterclass at your nearest Ping Pong. The restaurants are schooling Londoners on how to create dim sum, where you’ll receive a signature welcome cocktail, a 45-minute demo on making the dim sum and round the experience off with a few of Ping Pong’s favourite plates.
Lei see will also be gifted to all diners in the restaurants for two weeks from Friday 16 February, containing gifts from desserts, Tsingtao beers or a basket of dumplings!
What’s your favourite Chinese restaurant in London?
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