Lunar New Year is a shared celebration for Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean cultures. Sydney’s official Chinese New Year festival is the largest Lunar New Year celebration outside of Asia with 80 events across arts, culture, food and sport. We’ve picked out our highlights from this year’s festivities, which take place over 17 days from January 27 to February 12.
Chinese New Year events around Sydney
As part of City of Sydney's Chinese New Year festival, Sydneysiders can take a rickshaw tour of Chinatown's favourite sweet stops – from Emperor's Garden's legendary cream puffs to the Thai-fusion desserts at Boon Café. The tour is called Rickshaw Tales, and tickets ($25-$35) include a snack at every stop of the tour. Your vehicle is custom-designed by Sydney artist Louise Zhang – whose aesthetic is appropriately lolly-like; your cyclist is medallist Sam Wormington, who runs regular rickshaw tours via his Sydney Eco Cabs business, and was enlisted by 4A Centre of Contemporary Art to be part of the Rickshaw Tales project.
Every Friday night, Dixon Street in Chinatown is lined with market stalls selling colourful phone covers, Pokémon toys and paw-waving cats. But the best stalls to visit are the ones selling street food from all corners of Asia. You can get octopus balls – yum! – and ten different types of Asian-style liquorice, but there’s also cheap yum cha, teppanyaki, sushi and pho. Go late and finish your night with karaoke at Dynasty (found via an unobtrusive doorway in the middle of Dixon Mall leading to an elevator) or at Golden Century – the late-night food haunt of chefs and hospitality workers.
To welcome the Year of the Rooster, Westpac presents Painting the Town Red – wherein famous Sydney landmarks are lit up in red lights for three nights, January 27-29. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and several other icons will be lit up by red projections from 8pm to midnight, symbolising good fortune and happiness, plus a featured projection of the Festival Rooster on the Australian National Maritime Museum.