The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in the Chinese Lunar calendar. This year it starts on Thursday, February 3. To celebrate, Chinese people often attend festivals and fireworks. But most important, they get together with their families and share traditional feasts.
As you might have already known, you don't have to be Chinese to enjoy Chinese food. Here are five ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year in the Twin Cities.
5. New Year's dim sum at Tea House Plymouth Get together with your family and friends over dumplings and congee at Tea House in Plymouth. The Szechuan restaurant is serving Chinese-style brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The special dim sum runs until February 27 and costs $12.95 per person
Tea House 88 Nathan Lane, Plymouth 763.544.3422; website
4. New Year's specials at Mandarin Kitchen In case you needed a reason to dig your chopsticks into enticing seafood dishes, Chinese people consider opening an oyster or scallop shell to be like the opening of a fresh new year. Dried seafoods in particular are a part of the Chinese custom of stocking up for the New Year. Dried oysters are called "ho see," which sounds like good deeds, good fortune, or prosperity. Head over to the popular Bloomington spot for special dishes like dried oysters with Chinese vegetables. They will not only taste great but will bring you good fortune. New Year's specials are available for a week from February 3 to 10.
Mandarin Kitchen 8766 Lyndale Ave S, Bloomington 952.884.5356; website
3. More seafood at Hong Kong Noodle Because you can never have too much good seafood, or too much good fortune, for that matter, Hong Kong Noodle offers a bountiful seafood feast. On New Year's Eve (February 2) and New Year's Day (February 3), the Dinkytown favorite is offering special dishes with shrimp, crab, and lobster. The Chinese word for shrimp sounds like the one for laughter and is known to bring happiness. Hong Kong Noodle 901 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis 612.379.9472; website
2. New Year's Celebration at Big Bowl It may not always be the most traditional restaurant, but Big Bowl is having the biggest Chinese New Year celebration in town. From February 2 to 6, all three Minnesota locations of the Asian fusion restaurant are offering special dishes for the Year of the Rabbit by actually serving rabbit on the menu. Executive chef Marc Bernard's specials include Long Life Noodles with Sichuan Rabbit and Chive Blossoms, and Crab Wonton with BBQ Rabbit Soup. In addition, Big Bowl is giving away gift cards and offering special discounts throughout the celebration period. And you don't want to miss Make Way for Dumplings, a free cooking class on making dumplings at the Galleria location on Saturday, February 5.
Big Bowl Rosedale, 1705 Hwy. 36 W., Roseville; 651.636.7173 3669 Galleria, Edina; 952-928-7888 Ridgedale, 12649 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.797.9888 website
1. Nian gao at United Noodles If you prefer celebrating at home, stock up on some New Year's treats at United Noodles. With its sweetness and adherence, nian gao, a sticky rice cake, is a must for good luck.
Cut the cake into quarters, and then into thin slices 2 to 3 inches long and 1/4-inch wide. Dip the cake slices in an egg wash. Then, heat a non-stick pan to medium and cook the egg-battered nian gao until both sides brown nicely.
United Noodles 2015 E 24th Street, Minneapolis 612.721.6677; website