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8 Chinese New Year specials for a delicious lunar celebration

WP24 Chinese New Year night market Lunar New Year
Photograph: Courtesy Wp24 by Wolfgang Puck

We hope 2020 will be full of good luck and fortune, and as we celebrate Lunar New Year, we also hope it’ll be full of fantastic food.

L.A. is home to dozens of Chinese New Year parades, parties and festivals, but some of our favorite ways to ring in the Year of the Rat involve noodles, dumplings and red beans galore. Whether you’re looking for a tea ceremony, a cake or a feast, here’s where to find enough food to keep even Nián happy.

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Dà Lat Rose

In 2020, ring in Lunar New Year at one of the best new restaurants in L.A. Crustacean and Dà Lat Rose’s chef-founder normally leans toward Vietnamese cuisine, but for the holiday, Helene An and her executive chef Tony Nguyen are cooking up a special two-night Chinese feast. On January 25 and 26, head to Dà Lat Rose in Beverly Hills for an eight-course procession incorporating themes of prosperity, longevity, good luck and more: lemongrass satay with garlic butter and bird’s eye chili salt (prosperity); truffled Impossible dumplings with truffle caviar and wild black trumpet mushrooms (good fortune); salt-and-pepper crispy quail (representing the sky); wagyu money pot (for abundance) and beyond—and yes, you can bet that An’s famed garlic noodles are on the menu (longevity), here served with uni and 24-karat gold. Entertainment includes lion dancers, plate spinners and periodic red-envelopes for good luck and more. Tickets run $258 per person, and can be reserved online.

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Lady M Confections

Lady M is famous for its crêpe cakes, so you’d better believe it has a Chinese New Year edition up its sleeves for the occasion. Ken Romaniszyn’s artful bakeries—with locations along West Third and in Arcadia and Irvine—are offering a nine-inch red bean mille crêpe, made with adzuki beans sourced from Hokkaido that get layered with Lady M’s signature pastry cream. You can find these available whole and for $90 apiece now through January 31.

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Ms. Chi Cafe

Top Chef’s Shirley Chung weaves modern takes on Chinese cuisine in and out of her Culver City dumpling shop, but to celebrate the Year of the Rat, she’s giving us a full menu of it. Because the Lunar New Year coincides with dineL.A., the citywide prix-fixe menu blitz, Chung is offering a special $39 dinner where you can feast on a Chinese New Year-inspired, family-style meal that even includes a glass of sparkling wine. Expect dishes like shrimp dumplings, roasted sea bass, Hainan chicken, sautéed pea shoots, and regional specials like the Lo Shen hamachi salad, a Singaporean Chinese New Year treat where mixing the fish, noodles and plum sauce symbolizes abundance, prosperity and vigor. The menu runs now through January 31.

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Shiok!

Torrance’s new Pan-Asian street-food spot is ringing in the Lunar New Year with a few special menu items that launch on January 25, then an afternoon party a week later. Starting this weekend, catch new-to-Shiok—but traditional-to-the-holiday—dishes such as firecracker prawns and long-life garlic noodles, plus pomegranate-and-sriracha prawns and firecracker bao, and to drink, Dragon Cooler. Then, on February 8, stop by for fun all day long, and lion dancers at 11:30am and 12:30pm.

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Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

Dive into the Chinese New Year—and some liquid comfort—with a so-fancy tea ceremony at the so-elegant Waldorf Astoria. Pastry chef Deden Putra is whipping up sweet teatime bites with the likes of red bean and mandarin orange, while executive chef Steve Benjamin will provide a dim-sum–inspired spread to pair with special TEALEAVES blends. Sip artisan tea while noshing on festive foods, all while taking in live Chinese zither music from Annie Zhou. Prices for the tea ceremony start at $76 per guest—with champagne add-ons at $95 and $145—and are available January 25 and 26 from 1 to 5pm.

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WP24 by Wolfgang Puck

One of our favorite Lunar New Year events is back with all the unlimited dumplings and roast duck your heart could desire. Wolfgang Puck’s dim sum emporium, sitting high on the 24th floor of Downtown’s Ritz Carlton, annually opens its doors and its kitchen for a night-market–inspired party in honor of Chinese New Year, and it’s stocked with squid-ink shrimp dumplings, sesame bao buns, Peking duck, mochi waffles, a special themed cocktail, and, of course, traditional lion dancers. This year there’ll even be new interactive stations, where you can take part in a Chinese tea ceremony, Chinese calligraphy and a red-envelope giveaway. WP24’s night market takes place February 7 from 6:30 to 9:30pm; high-top–table tickets run $89, while booth seating with a welcome cocktail and giveaway runs $119 per guest—both options can be reserved online.

And if you’re heading to a theme park...

Photograph: Courtesy Disneyland Resort/David Nguyen

Disneyland

Disneyland’s California Adventure is throwing a weeks-long Lunar New Year party complete with craft stations and redecorated shops, plazas and restaurants, and, of course, it’ll be packed with special dishes and treats. Now through February 9, while you’re taking in the live performances, the musical acts, the Chinese New Year nighttime water show and the Mulan-themed parade, you can nosh on special dishes like lychee grapefruit spritzers; firecracker three-cup chicken wings; seafood dumplings; colorful almond milk tea; matcha–and–red-bean cheesecake; Mickey-shaped citrus tarts; Chinese hot dog buns and more. 

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Universal Studios

Be on the lookout for Kung Fu Panda and his friends and family, who’ll be welcoming you—and Chinese New Year—at Universal Studios through February 9. This park always goes big for the holiday, decking out its central plaza with red lanterns and plum blossom wishing trees, and character visits by Po, Tigress, Mr. Ping and even Hello Kitty—and this year, Mr. Ping’s noodle shop returns with even more dumplings, bao, egg rolls and pan-fried noodles to celebrate. Just stop by the fast-casual stand, and be sure to say hello to Mr. Ping while you’re there. This also means the return of the Mandarin-fluent Megatron, who’s been reprogrammed for the festivities—in case you want to hear cosmic threats and evil plans in another language. (We certainly do.)

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