Tomorrow, Saturday February 10, marks the start of Lunar New Year. There are many different ways to celebrate as we usher in the Year of the Dragon, but many of the festivities involve food.

As Tony Tan told us in our interview with the legendary chef earlier this week, “Food is the essence of Lunar New Year. It’s a universal language that transcends geographical boundaries, narrating stories of heritage and belonging. Each dish we share is a thread in the fabric of our collective histories, resonating with anyone who cherishes the warmth of tradition and family. And each dish is symbolic and filled with meaning.”

Here are eight dishes and treats – including traditional tteokguk (Korean rice cake soup) and an inventive pineapple tart bingsu – from Asian-owned businesses in Melbourne, to help celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Complete our survey for the chance to win a $1000 Broadsheet Gift Card.


Korinettos, Kori Ice-Cream (Hawthorn, CBD)

This year Kori has made two versions of its Korinetto (the ice-cream shop’s take on a classic
Cornetto). There’s Prosperity – a waffle cone coated with caramelised
Valrhona white chocolate filled with genmaicha semifreddo and pineapple compote, and
topped with an edible yuanbao made from vanilla shortcake. And Fortune – a dark-chocolate-coated waffle cone filled with a Jaffa chocolate semifreddo and mandarin compote, topped with a mini chocolate cake and finished off with edible gold.

Tteokguk (rice cake soup), Moon Mart

Tteokguk is a rice cake soup eaten on Seollal (Korean New Year’s Day), which this year is Saturday, February 10. Chef Eun Hee An, of the sunny yellow Korean- and Japanese-inspired West Melbourne cafe Moon Mart, will be serving her tteokguk, made with tteokgukyong-tteok (disc-shaped rice cakes) and served in anchovy dashi with soy-braised beef and shiitake mushrooms, this Saturday and Sunday at the cafe.

Cookies, Raya

Each of Raya’s Lunar New Year cookies are meant to bring a different kind of luck. The peanut cookies, a classic Chinese New Year snack, are said to bring a long life. Raya’s black sesame mandarin cookies are a less traditional treat, but owner Raymond Tan says the “mandarin is for good luck”, and the sesame is a play on the glutinous rice balls with sesame filling that are often eaten for family togetherness. And the packaging and the fortune cookie fortunes are as joyful and witty as we’ve come to expect from Tan and his team at Raya. Each cookie container is made to look like an instant noodle tub, with “no MSG added”.

Yee Sang, Yan

Yee sang (also known as yusheng, a prosperity toss salad that is particularly popular within Chinese communities in Malaysia and Singapore) will be available from February 9 to 17 (pre-order required). Yee sang is served with raw fish in the centre of the plate surrounded by groups of shredded vegetables, a sweet dressing and other toppings like white pepper and five-spice powder.

A communal dish, everyone gathers around and mixes the salad together by tossing ingredients high in the air. The higher the toss, the more prosperous the new year.

Pineapple bingu and mandarin bingsu, Nimbo

Nimbo, a bingsu (a Korean shaved ice dessert) shop on Hardware Street that also houses Matcha Mate, is making a kue nastar (pineapple tart) bingsu to help celebrate the new year. It’s a play on the traditional pineapple tarts that are typically eaten around Lunar New Year and are said to bring good fortune. Nimbo’s version is made with pineapple jam, milk crumb, salted brown sugar cream and macadamia. They also have a Chinese mandarin bingsu with mandarin curd, chrysanthemum mandarin jelly and milk crumb.

Longevity noodles, Sleepy’s Cafe and Wine Bar

Longevity noodles are meant to symbolise a long life. These noodles aren’t cut by the chef, and it’s considered extra lucky if you can eat them without breaking the noodles. Secure your spot at Sleepy’s Cafe and Wine Bar’s Lunar New Year banquet on February 14 for chef Steve Chan’s take on the dish. Chan will serve up other dishes like dumplings, which are said to bring wealth. The banquet is $55 per person, most dietaries can be accommodated, and bookings are essential.

Dragon fruit sorbet, Kariton Sorbetes

Filipino ice-cream shop Kariton Sorbetes in Glen Waverley, Footscray and Chinatown is churning out a blush pink pomegranate and dragon fruit sorbet. The store is also offering a 10 per cent discount on all online orders over $30 as part of its Lunar New Year celebrations.

Koi fish jelly and mango pudding, Joy Jaune

Pastry chef Joey Leung opened her Preston Market shop two months ago. The baker, who grew up in Hong Kong, will have Hong Kong-style mango pudding available at her new shop every day until Sunday February 18. Leung is also making koi-shaped coconut and mango jellies, made using agar and fresh mangos from the market. These koi fish jellies must be pre-ordered one day in advance by sending a direct message to @joyjaune on Instagram.