Experience the vibrant festivities of Chinese New Year: A two-week extravaganza

Asian countries lead the celebrations of the Year of the Dragon 2024



Feb 14, 2024 - 7 min read

Experience the vibrant festivities of Chinese New Year: A two-week extravaganza

For many countries across Asia, the real New Year is the Lunar New Year and not the 1st of January. Celebrated in the first quarter, Lunar or Chinese New Year is an extravaganza extending over weeks with each country and even region within them, adding their unique touch. The revelry during this auspicious day is unmatched by any other festival. It is also a time to enjoy food for tourists and locals alike. Tourists and locals can dive into local spots for authentic eats, discover inventive takes on classics, or step into experimental kitchens pushing boundaries.

The Year of the Wood Dragon 2024

We're saying goodbye to the Year of the Rabbit and welcoming the Year of the Wood Dragon in 2024. According to CNN, 2024 is the year that combines "Jia" (stem) from the heavens and "Chen" which symbolizes the Dragon. The Dragon is highly esteemed In the Chinese zodiac as it represents strength, nobility, and good luck. Heartwarming traditions like exchanging red envelopes with money will continue to be observed by families this new year. There will be lots of opportunities for family bonding in the form of reunion dinners, attending firework festivals, lion dances, temple visits, and more!

Moreover, with the Dragon taking center stage in the Chinese horoscope, this year's celebrations hold particular significance, making it a perfect time to elevate the dining experience while reconnecting with loved ones, family, and friends.

Below are some of the different Lunar New Year customs observed in various Asian countries including the best restaurants for people to have a hearty meal with friends and family. 

1. Taiwan: A culinary gem with enchanting flavors

Taiwan's Chinese New Year unites families in spirited Mahjong sessions while Taipei's Dihua Street transforms into a bustling New Year Market. Firecrackers illuminate the sky to drive away the mythical demon "Nian” while at home, adults and children gracefully exchange hands with red envelopes, usually full of money which symbolizes good luck and prosperity. Homes undergo meticulous cleaning, adorned with new scrolls replacing old red couplets, however, caution reigns as breaking items is believed to bring bad luck. The first few days unfold with temple visits and morning prayers, and a sea of red-clad locals gather at temples. Incense fragrance wafts through the temple premises, infusing the air with positivity. New Year's Eve culminates in a lavish dinner, featuring symbolic dishes.

Here’s a look at some of the Taipei restaurants that are perfect for a meal with loved ones during the Chinese New Year.

Shin Yeh Taiwanese Signature: A star restaurant from the 1970s 

Shin Yeah at Taipei Marriott Hotel
Courtesy: Shin Yeh Taiwanese Signature

At this restaurant branch in the Taipei Marriott Hotel, guests can gorge on the iconic fish-shaped minced prawn toast as well as new and innovative dishes. Both the restaurant's long legacy and its Michelin star distinction guarantee that diners will have a meal to remember. 

Address: No. 199 Lequn 2nd Road, Taipei (Taipei Marriott Hotel, Midtown)​
Website: Shin Yeh Taiwanese Signature
Reservations: TableCheck

Royal Chiaohsi – Zen Graden: A garden set in stone

Royal Chiaohsi -Zen Graden
Courtesy: Royal Chiaohsi -Zen Graden

The Zen Garden restaurant, unique for its stone pathways, derives its name from a poem by Chen Tzu-Ang, a poet from the Tang Dynasty. While the brunch and dinner menus are absolute crowd-pleasers it is the lush surroundings that truly set this restaurant apart from the rest. 

Address: No.69, Wufeng Rd., Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County 262, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Website: Zen Garden
Reservations: TableCheck

Renaissance Taipei Shihlin Hotel - Wan Li Restaurant: A melting pot for traditional and modern Cantonese cuisine

Wan Lin Restaurant at Taipei Shihlin
Courtesy: Renaissance Taipei Shihlin Hotel

Wan Li Restaurant serves traditional Cantonese and Asian fusion cuisine in a gorgeous, trendy setting at the Renaissance Taipei Shihlin Hotel. Patrons are known to keep coming back for the Cantonese-style roasted duck and the garlic goodness of deep-fried crispy chicken. 

Address: No. 8, Ln. 470, Section 5, Zhongshan North Road, Shilin District, Taipei City 111005, Taiwan
Website: Wan Li Restaurant 
Reservations: Tablecheck

Marriott Taipei – The Dining Place: A luxe date destination

Dining Place at Marriott Taipei
Courtesy of Mariott Taipei

The Dining place is the for a grandiose dinner night with tureens of delicious Cantonese and Sichuan dishes keeping the diners blissfully happy. The decor exudes quiet luxury. For those seeking more intimate dining options, private dining rooms are available for reservation, adding an extra layer of exclusivity to the whole experience. 

Address: 3F, No. 199 Lequn 2nd Road (intersection with Jinye 4th Road), ZhongShan District, Taipei, Taiwan
Website: The Dining Place
Reservations: TableCheck

2. China: Wok this way!

In diverse corners of China, the Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, unfolds in a wave of diverse celebrations and unique traditions. Amidst this cultural mosaic, there are some common traditions to be witnessed across the length and breadth of the country. Before the New Year's grand arrival, households go on an intense cleaning spree, decorating them with red couplets. Elders pass envelopes filled with money to wide-eyed excited children as the sky erupts in dazzling firecrackers. The streets are full of mesmerizing lion and dragon dances with people of all ages watching in awe. Families unite for a reunion dinner on New Year's Eve, sharing love and ancestral tributes, an extra table setting honors those who came before. For tourists, the Chinese New Year period emerges as one of the best times to visit China. The country radiates a festive energy characterized by mammoth celebrations that fill the air with an overwhelming sense of goodwill and love.

Here are some stellar restaurants that diners can book for a long leisurely meal catering to different palettes. 

Lawry's Shanghai: Best Prime Ribs in town

An offshoot of the iconic Beverly Hills Lawry's restaurant, which first opened its doors in 1938, is the newly opened Lawry's in Shanghai. Enjoy the most succulent prime ribs while taking in breathtaking city views from this restaurant's minutely detailed elegant ambiance.

Address: B101-B104, No. 168 WuYi Road, Shanghai, P.R.C
Website: Lawry's
Reservations: Lawry's

Lazhu: An ambassador of contemporary Jiangxi cuisine

Lazhu's menu adds a modern touch to traditional Jiangxi dishes. Located at Amanyangyun, the food at Lazhu is served in a dining room overlooking an earthy bamboo grove. Patrons love to savor specialties like Honey Roasted Pork and Braised Abalone. Additionally, the garden-view private rooms are perfect for lively family get-togethers during the Chinese New Year. 

Address: 6161 Yuanjiang Road, Minhang Qu 201111 Shanghai Shi China
Website: Lazhu at Amanyangyun

Nuits: An embodiment of French elegance and culinary mastery 

Nuits, in Shanghai, emanates an earthy allure with its minimalistic outdoor decor and understated elegance. This fine-dining gem serves French contemporary cuisine, expertly paired with sommelier-recommended wines. A meal at Nuits is not just about exquisite flavors; it's the perfect venue for a merry gathering of all the gourmands in the family. 

Address: 68 Tongren Road, Jingan, Shanghai, China Mainland

3. Singapore: An urban oasis rooted in tradition

In the lion-hearted city-state of Singapore, the Chinese New Year celebrates tradition and family ties. On the 24th day of the 12th lunar month, the enchanting Xiaoguonian, or 'little new year,' unfolds. Like China and Taiwan,  the days leading up to the New Year are dedicated to spring cleaning with people using bamboo leaves to clean their homes. Doorways are decorated with scarlet scrolls and spring couplets setting the stage for familial reunions during the iconic Tuan’nianfan, a feast that brings family members together. Needless to say, children have the most fun as they are encouraged to stay up past midnight to bid adieu to the past year and welcome the new year. In Singapore, every tradition tells a tale!

Here are some of the best restaurants to visit in Singapore during this celebratory time of the year, some have the best view, and others offer mind-blowing inventive cuisine:

Imperial Treasure: Serving Chinese culinary gems

Imperial Treasure is known worldwide for its many accolades, making it to prestigious lists and earning honors from The Michelin Guide and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Renowned for its traditional Teochew fare, the Imperial Treasure is the perfect venue to savor exceptional food and welcome the new year with a feast of gastronomic delights.

Address: ION Orchard, #03-05, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801
Website: Imperial Treasure
Reservations: TableCheck

5 on 25: Bedazzling guests on the 25th floor

The 25th story of Andaz is home to 5 ON 25, an upscale eatery serving exquisite Cantonese cuisine. Wallpapers combining modern splashes of color with those evoking old British grandeur create a refined atmosphere, lit up by exquisite chandeliers. The restaurant boasts two private suites for intimate dining, ideal for boisterous family gatherings.

Address: 5 Fraser Street, Singapore, 189354, Singapore 
Website: 5 on 25 at Andaz Singapore 
Reservations: TableCheck

Blossoms: Best place for decadent dim sums

Enjoy a leisurely meal in Marina Bay Sand’s Blossom while being wowed by creative takes on traditional Cantonese and Sichuan dishes and irresistible dim sums. The ambiance is sleek and luxe and perfect for special occasions. Additionally, private rooms make it the ideal place to celebrate the Lunar New Year with friends and family.

Address: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
Website: Blossom
Reservations: TableCheck

Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant: Revel in Sichuan and Cantonese Legends, one dish at a time

Located on the 60th floor of the majestic UOB Plaza, this dining establishment specializes in traditional Sichuan food. A highlight for the kids will be the acrobatic performance of the Tea Master deftly pouring hot tea into the guest's teacup from a long-spout kettle.

Address: 80 Raffles Place, #60-01 UOB Plaza 1, Singapore 048624
Website: Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant 
Reservations: TableCheck

4. Vietnam: Celebrating the timeless charm of time-honored traditions

The Lunar New Year, known as Tết Nguyên Đán, holds immense significance in the hearts of Vietnamese people. Although the public holiday lasts only a week, the festivities begin weeks in advance. Homes are meticulously cleaned and wardrobes are refreshed with new clothes to welcome the festivities in style. The streets come alive with vibrant colors as flowers are purchased and vehicles, including the beloved xe máy, are given a thorough wash. One cannot also forget the beautiful Kumquat trees, a symbol of good luck and prosperity, proudly displayed in homes and offices as a heartfelt wish for a prosperous year ahead. A sense of jubilation fills the streets as locals eagerly buy vibrant red and opulent gold decorations and put them up everywhere. Traditionally, children are bestowed with monetary gifts from their elders. Locals indulge in their favorite culinary delight, especially the Tết cake, a staple New Year dish. Experience the joy of a family feast, where loved ones gather to celebrate in unison!

Pizza 4Ps: Pizza served the luxe way

Everybody will agree, especially children, that the perfect holiday mashup is mixing timeless traditions with delicious slices of pizza. The pizza chain called 4 Ps Pizza does not have average pizza parlors, but each spot is a masterpiece of architectural elegance and amazing food. So, prepare for a holiday blast with a side of pizza perfection. 

Address: Several locations

Beauty in the Pot: Healthy broths for a healthy you

Beauty in The Pot, a concept by Singapore's Paradise Group, is the go-to spot for health-conscious families. With peppy interiors and welcoming service, the restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City serves nourishing broths made using fresh ingredients. This family-friendly restaurant offers private rooms for intimate gatherings.

Address: 5th Floor, Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Website: Beauty in the Pot
Reservations: TableCheck

5. Japan: The destination for Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year is not a holiday in Japan. However, Japan hosts Chinese tourists every year during the festive period plus Chinese immigrants over the years have settled in pockets all over Japan in cities like Yokohama, Chinatown, Nagasaki, and more. The touristy areas of Japan and the ones where the Chinese descendants live see beautiful celebrations in the form of lion dances, celebration parades, and thousands of lanterns lighting up streets adding a bit of magic to the celebrations. 

Here are some of the best restaurants to have a Chinese celebratory meal when in Japan during the Lunar New Year:

Chugoku Hanten Fureika: Elegance, flavors, and dim sums!

Featuring the finest of both Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisine, the Michelin-starred Chugoku Hanten Fureika has customers coming back for more. The refined and understated decor is the icing on the cake. A word of advice – order the authentic Gyoza dumplings to satisfy cravings.

Address: 3-7-5 Higashiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0044, Japan
Website: Chugoku Hanten Fureika
Reservations: TableCheck

Series: An alchemy of spices

The usage of spices from different Asian countries is a remarkable creative aspect of this Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant. Grilled chicken wings filled with foie gras, the chef’s signature dish, is a prime example of his creativity. Series is highly recommended for those gourmands seeking a mixture of tradition and creativity.  

Address: 3-4-11 Azabudai, Azabu S Bldg. 1F, Minato, Tokyo 
Website: Series
Reservations: Tablecheck

Kamigatachuka Shintani

Discover the sensational fusion of Chinese and Kansai cuisine at Osaka's culinary gem helmed by Owner-Chef Akihito Shintani. Here, ‘'Kamigata Chinese' dishes are served in a beautifully illuminated dining space. Using premium Japanese ingredients like kombu dashi, light soy sauce, and white miso, each dish is transformed into a culinary masterpiece. Visit them for stellar flavors and an unforgettable ambiance! 

Address: 1-4-21 Nakazaki, Kita-ku, Osaka, 530-0016, Japan
Website: Kamigatachuka Shintani
Reservations: TableCheck

Koshikiryori Koki: Relish the best of Kamigata Chinese

Chef Tommy’s "Hong Kong Style Cuisine” has been a big hit with patrons. Whether it’s the spiny lobster or the chef’s favorite “fried pasted chicken teste”, every dish wows the customer. Guests looking for a special meal during The Lunar New Year must try the chef's omakase course.  

Address: 2-13-6 Nishishimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-0003, Japan
Website: Koshikiryori Koki 
Reservations: TableCheck

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