If you'd like another fresh start at the New Year, you’re in luck. This Friday, Feb. 16, is the beginning of the week-long Chinese New Year celebration, and like the best holidays there are tons of symbolic foods for luck, prosperity, fertility and more good things. Here are some of the must-eat treats and special menus to get a taste of this tradition.
The Theater District’s luxe Cantonese restaurant Hakkasan is serving a special dessert called a Macartune all month. A fusion of a fortune cookie and macaron, each treat (complimentary with every meal) also contains a New York City-themed fortune written by author Jay McInerney like “Your train will arrive on time, and there will be a seat available.” If only! They’ll also have a traditional wishing tree where you can write your hopes for the coming year, plus a Lucky prix-fixe menu of foods that are said to bring good fortune (through March 4). 311 W. 43rd St.
It doesn’t get more comforting (and necessary, in this weather) than a hot pot, which is what you’ll find at NoHo’s Japanese comfort food spot Bessou. They’ve teamed up with Sakeman for a special Lunar New Year Nabe (Hot Pot) Party on Feb. 18 with a three-course, communal-style dinner of otsumami, Papa’s Spicy Yosenabe (seafood hot pot with king crab, shrimp and diver scallops in a spicy miso broth) and a glass of Shiragiku Nigori hot sake for $40pp. 5 Bleecker St.
Chinese celebrity chef Dong Zhenxiang’s DaDong restaurant, which just added a branch in Midtown, is famous for its Peking duck with shattering skin. But for the Chinese New Year, it’s dumplings taking center stage. From Feb. 16-19, watch as they’re filled and folded at dumpling stations throughout the restaurant, with each table receiving a complimentary order. Guests will also take home a red envelope — the color is said to be lucky and ward off bad juju — containing prizes ranging from a bottle of bubbly to dessert to be enjoyed on your next visit. 3 Bryant Park
Complimenting its usual menu, Pinch Chinese will be adding some iconic Chinese New Year dishes (served a la carte) for a karmic prosperity boost we can all use. Enjoy crispy rice cakes, seafood noodle stew, turnip cakes, red bean dumplings and black sesame tang yuan (dessert rice dumplings) with rice wine from Feb. 16-23. 177 Prince St.
You’ll want to make room for a nine-course dim sum brunch at Chinese Tuxedo. On Feb. 17 beginning at noon, they’ll start rolling out dishes like Singaporean curried potato spring roll and shrimp and wood ear mushroom shumai, along with unlimited brunch cocktails for $95 per person. Later that night, the restaurant will host an intimate banquet dinner in its basement dining room with a drinks menu focusing on Chinese spirits. Reserve here. 5 Doyers St.
Little Tong Noodle Shop
The East Village’s Chinese ramen shop Little Tong will pay homage to its Yunnanese roots with a 16-Day Chinese New Year Celebration. Chef Simone Tong will draw on her family’s past celebrations for her daily specials from Feb. 15-March 2 during dinner service (and lunch on weekends). They’re not necessarily the traditional foods associated with the holiday — this is more like a family celebration, which is in keeping with the holiday as a time for unity. Catch goubuli (18-fold dumplings!) on Feb. 17, wagyu mixian (rice noodle soup) on Feb. 20 and the Prosperity Salad on Feb. 22. 177 First Ave.
Chelsea’s palatial Buddakan restaurant is throwing a Dim Sum Brunch on Sunday, Feb. 18, from noon to 2:30 p.m. In addition to the food, there will be a traditional tea service, as well as performances by the Luen Hing Lion Dancers will perform, the music of DJ Timka and red envelopes for all guests. 75 Ninth Ave.
Rice & Gold
Dale Talde’s Rice & Gold serves up his take on the world’s food through an Asian lens. For the holiday weekend (Feb. 16-17), enjoy a special family-style menu of six dishes ($50pp) designed to bring every kind of prosperity your doorstep, like Wealth (pork and truffle dumplings, shrimp har gow, vegetable spring rolls) and Family Harmony (twice-cooked long beans). If you need something stronger to start the year off right, there’s the Year of the Dog cocktail made with Absolut Elyx, honey simple syrup, grapefruit juice, white wine and thyme. 50 Bowery
Beijing street food mini-chain Mr Bing will present a traditional Chinese treat along with a hong bao (red envelope) to every customer from Feb. 16-25. Inside is a coupon for a free order of dumplings with the next purchase of a bing. Note that they just launched breakfast bings for double your dumpling joy. mr-bing.com