This Friday February 12 marks the first new moon of the lunar calendar and the beginning of Lunar New Year celebrations for 2021. While traditions and festivals differ across the many countries where the Lunar New Year is celebrated, it’s first and foremost about food and family. Here’s where you can get involved in Brisbane’s Lunar New Year celebrations.
Lunar New Year at Bris Asia Festival
One of the key events on the Bris Asia program each year is the Lunar New Year takeover of Fortitude Valley. From 6pm onwards on Saturday, watch comedy sketches, drummers and stilt walkers perform in Chinatown while lion dancers rove throughout the malls, lanes and surrounding streets. Book in a banquet at one of the restaurants in the area and enjoy the show.
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Saturday February 13 from 6pm. Free entry.
Sunnybank Plaza and Sunny Park
Often regarded as Brisbane’s second Chinatown, Sunnybank is hosting its own Lunar New Year celebrations this week. Across five days from Wednesday, Sunnybank Plaza and Sunny Park will host fruit and vegetable carving sessions, feng shui consultations and a Chinese calligraphy master scribing messages for shoppers. Chef Tony Ching is also running extra sessions of his celebrated Food Discovery Tour, which showcases the neighbourhood’s eateries, supermarkets and food stores — a special price of $68 lands you a three-hour tour that ends with a lunch or dinner and a goodie bag.
Wednesday February 10 to Sunday February 14. More information here.
Kitchen Confidence Lunar New Year Cooking Class
Brush up on your Asian cooking skills with a special Lunar New Year class at Kitchen Confidence. As part of Bris Asia Festival, the Fortitude Valley cooking school is demonstrating how to cook six dishes drawn from across Asia, including handmade Chinese pork dumplings and char siu pork, while teaching participants knife skills and how to reduce food waste. A lion dance will swing by on the night to bless participants with good fortune.
Saturday February 13 from 6pm. $45 per person (usually $75). Book online here.
Lunar New Year Film Festival
Hoyts is celebrating the Year of the Ox with special screenings of Chinese films. The cinema chain’s Lunar New Year film festival runs until February 24 and features new releases from China with English subtitles. Hoyts Stafford, Hoyts Redcliffe and Hoyts Sunnybank are all taking part, with Sunnybank Plaza’s theatres hosting pre-film performances from the Ausoriental Orchestra and J Percussion Music School.
Find a film and book your tickets here.
Feast on a modern 12-dish banquet prepared by Donna Chang head chef Lyndon Tyers. Priced at $128 per person, the menu features dishes such as longevity noodles with fried pork hock and XO sauce; kingfish yu sheng with wakame, palm heart and macadamia oil; and crisp-roasted suckling pig with hoisin dipping sauce. A curated wine selection by sommelier Ashley Murray can be added for $50 per person.
Friday February 12 and Saturday February 13. Lion and dragon dances occur at 6.45pm and 8.45pm both nights. Book here.
Kingsfood Sunnybank and Kingsfood Brisbane
If you’re quick you might still be able to book a table at these much-loved Taiwanese restaurants. Both are sticking to their enormous a la carte menus that feature both Taiwanese and mainland Chinese dishes such as three-cup chicken, beef-brisket hot pot, salt-and-pepper white bait, and fragrant green beans with pork mince. Lion dancers will be performing a Chinese New Year ceremony in the Sunnybank restaurant on Thursday at 7pm and in the CBD Brisbane Square restaurant on Friday at 7.45pm.
Call (07) 3344 4620 to book for Sunnybank and (07) 3108 4451 for Brisbane CBD.
One of the star openings of 2020, Southside is using the Lunar New Year to lean into the Chinese influences of its pan-Asian menu. From Wednesday February 10 to Sunday February 14, all guests at the Fish Lane restaurant will dine on an $89 banquet menu that features dishes such as lobster and chive har gow, Beijing-style lamb shoulder with house noodles, and salted duck egg custard buns. A lion-dance performance will come through the striking Fish Lane establishment on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday lunch. Dietaries can be noted upon booking via Opentable.
For more information and to book see here.
Fat Dumpling Bar at Montague Markets
Fat Dumpling’s newly opened West End outpost is celebrating the Lunar New Year this Saturday February 13 with a $79 ($39 for kids) banquet menu. The menu features starters of Chinese broccoli salad, edamame salad and pork spring rolls, and main dishes such as salt-and-pepper squid and twice-cooked pork belly. The main event, though, is of course the all-you-can-eat assorted plates of dumplings. The ticket price includes bottomless premium wines and soft drinks, with $5 beers, $7 spirits and $10 cocktails also available. The dinner runs from 6pm to 8.30pm and includes a lion dance at 6.30pm.
For more information and to book see here.
Stanley head chef Louis Tikaram’s Year of the Ox banquet kicks off this Thursday and will run until the end of February. The Cantonese influenced menu features dishes such as drunken abalone with shiitake mushroom, crushed cucumber with black vinegar and goji berry, and steamed coral trout with chilli and black bean. The banquet price includes a Stanley 75 cocktail upon arrival.
Stanley’s Chinese New Year banquet menu is $88 per person. Traditional entertainment will perform at the restaurant on Saturday February 13 from 6pm. For more information and to book, see here.
Landmark Restaurant Chermside
Landmark Restaurant Chermside is running three banquet options for this Lunar New Year, priced from $488 to $1288 for groups of between four and 12 people. The menus differ depending on your group size but all include steamed live barramundi or whole coral trout; live lobster with ginger, shallots and e-fu noodles; and braised pig’s trotters with dried oysters and hair moss (a dried vegetable likened to black hair). The menus run until Saturday February 13 and are also available at the Sunnybank and Inala Landmark restaurants, if either is more convenient.
For bookings or more information, call (07) 3148 9608.