With so many events in Sydney during the Chinese New Year period, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So, we’ve put together a list of the best things to eat, see and do during the three-week celebration. What better way to ring in the Year of the Rooster?
EAT: Carriageworks Night Market Feast your way into the New Year at Carriageworks’ Night Market. Curated by Kylie Kwong, expect more than 50 stalls including Kwong’s own restaurant, Good Luck Pinbone and Long Chim. Dishes designed specifically for the New Year celebration will also be available, including sourdough prawn toast created by No. 1 Bent Street. Tyson Koh, DJ and founder of Keep Sydney Open, will be on the decks.
Friday January 28, 5pm. $10 entry.
Chinese New Year at Lotus The Galeries This Chinese New Year, the Lotus The Galeries will host a slew of dinners offering three modern-Chinese banquet menus. Choose from the Mandarin Feast, the Bamboo Banquet or the Luxury Peach, each menu including Lotus favourites such wok-fried prawns with XO sauce, crispy skin duck pancakes, and their signature dumplings. Twelve cocktails crafted by Kate McGraw will be on offer, each inspired by a different zodiac animal. Bookings are essential.
Wednesday January 25–Sunday February 5.
Lunar Markets Feast at twilight by the water at the Lunar Markets in Pyrmont Bay Park. Running over 11 nights, the park will be transformed into a lantern-lit food haven. There’ll be 20 different stalls serving Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese and Thai cuisines. Expect dishes such as barbeque skewers from Hoy Pinoy, as well kimchi quesadillas, Singaporean soft shell crab and Hainanese chicken burritos from Yang & Co.
Hours: Mon–Wed 5–9pm Thu–Fri 5–10pm Sat 4–10pm Sun 4–9pm
Happy Chinese New Year at Spice Temple Neil Perry, head chef Andy Evans and the team at Spice Temple have created a banquet-style menu that incorporates ingredients promoting health, wealth and prosperity. Wallet feeling light? Try the “wealth” dish with pickled baby Roma tomatoes, chilli oil and dark soy, or the “prosperity” dish with raw tuna, spicy orange and iceberg lettuce.
Tickets are $95pp and can be booked at rockpool.com
Live Music: Sunday Session with Marcus Whale
Chinese-Australian musician Marcus Whale will be performing new solo work from his album Inland Sea at the Art Gallery of NSW. Known for his work with pop duo Collarbones and electronic group Black Vanilla, Whale has created intimate arrangements for this special Lunar New Year performance, accompanied by a small string section.
The performance starts at 2pm.
Lunar Lantern Community Performances As part of the Lunar festivities, more than 1000 performers will bring public spaces to life with traditional and contemporary dancing. More than 40 local Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese and Thai community groups will be dancing at Martin Place and Circular Quay over three weekends.
Animals of the Chinese Zodiac
In celebration of Chinese New Year, a group of zodiac experts will host a talk explaining the significance, history and meaning behind each of the 12 Chinese signs. The hour-long discussion will be held in the Centenary Auditorium. There are no bookings so get in early.
Saturday January 28, 10.30am. Doors open at 10am
Kensington Street: The Light of the Dawn
Chippendale’s tucked-away avenue will be jam-packed with festivities in celebration of the New Year. Catch hip-hop, pop and K-Pop at a silent disco. Zen out and practice the art of mindfulness at a fast-tracked Mah-jong lesson. Find out what the Year of the Rooster holds for you, from fortune-teller Ms Miao Hui. And most importantly, feast at the restaurants that line the street; each one is offering a special Chinese New Year menu.
Papercutting Workshop Try your hand at traditional Chinese papercutting with multimedia artist Tianli Zu. Guiding you through how to fold, cut and create, Zu will explain the symbolic meaning behind the patterns and the complex way negative space works within Chinese art. No previous experience is necessary. It is recommended that you arrive 15 minutes before the session starts.
At the Art Gallery of NSW on Sunday February 5 from 11am–12pm and 12–1pm. All ages welcome.
Chinatown Markets: Chinese New Year Edition Dixon Street will come to life with fireworks, fairy lights and street vendors. Pedestrians can sample dishes from the bays of Hong Kong to the streets of Hanoi and everything in between. Chow down on yum cha, teppanyaki, sushi, Szechuan, pho, roti, bibimbap and a whole lot more.
Every Friday between January 27–February 10, 4–11pm.