By Catherine Dunwoody
Gung hay fat choy! The Year of the Monkey begins on Monday, February 8, and why not celebrate in Richmond? Considering there are over 400 Asian restaurants in the area, finding the feast that suits you best should be easy.
Traditionally, families gather on Lunar New Year’s Eve (this year on Sunday, February 7) for a reunion dinner to kick things off. Numerous dishes are served, most of them having a symbolic meaning to inspire good luck and prosperity. Fish is served whole with the head and tail attached, marking the end and beginning of a new year. Noodles represent long life. Dumplings and spring rolls resemble ancient Chinese currency and gold bars. To really eat like a local, you simply can’t miss these important delicacies to bring in the New Year:
Chinese New Year Cake or Nian Gao
The literal translation means sticky cake in Chinese. Made from glutinous rice flour and eaten for good luck, and can served sweet or savoury plus hot or cold. Snap some up at Osaka Supermarket in Yaohan Centre, and the savoury versions at The Jade Seafood Restaurant and Su Hang Restaurant.
Glutinous Rice Balls in Soup (Tang Yuan)
Typically eaten with family members, as the round shape togetherness and is meant to bring happiness. Fillings range from sesame to sweet bean paste. Try these at Jade Seafood Restaurant and Su Hang Restaurant as well.
Meant to resemble ancient Chinese currency, this is a must-eat during Lunar New Year celebrations. Bring on that increased wealth, right?
Get a group together and enjoy, as a number of restaurants in Richmond are offering special set menus for 4-10 people. Reservations are highly recommended. Here are a few highlights worth checking out.
Vivacity Restaurant • 8351 Alexandra Road
Located on “Food Street,” Vivacity Restaurant is a southern Chinese restaurant that specializes in seafood, in a cozy environment. Set menus for groups of 4, 6 and 10 with up to 11 courses. Special dishes include the abalone, which symbolizes good fortune for the New Year, and fresh, live lobster. From $188 – $888 for set menus.
The Jade Seafood Restaurant • 8511 Alexandra Road
An award-winning contemporary Chinese restaurant offers set menus for groups of 4, 6 and 10 people. Have an even larger group? Book one of their VIP rooms for large groups of 15+. Set menu prices for 10 people range from $539-$988, with up to 10 courses.
Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant • 101-4600 No. 3 Road
For upscale Cantonese and a modern take on traditional dishes, here is where you want to be. Order the whole cod, and the word fish by the way, in Chinese is, “yu,” which also sounds like the word abundance.
Shiang Garden • 2200-4540 No. 3 Road
Known for their live seafood and excellent service, they are offering a variety of 10-course set meals ranging from $568 to $1288.