Welcome to the year of the Ox! On February 12th, we begin to celebrate the second animal in the Chinese zodiac, and (hopefully) usher in a year filled with diligence, kindness, and generosity. And while it’s too early to tell whether that’ll come true, we’ve got this - a guide full of auspicious, delicious dishes prepared by LA restaurants to honor the new year. From traditional rice cakes to deep-fried butterfly cookies, here are 6 Lunar New Year Specials in LA.
Picture yourself under a heat lamp at Chifa in Eagle Rock, surrounded by vermicelli noodles, pickled vegetables, not-pickled vegetables, shrimp, shredded pork, and a mustardy soy sauce. If that sounds pleasing to you, check out this Lunar New Year special created by owner Humberto Leon and his long-time friend and comedian Ali Wong. Since the two talk about food about as much as they talk about their kids, it was a no-brainer for them to do a special collaboration. It brings Ali’s Chinese and Vietnamese roots into one dish - Vietnamese bún gets a Chinese twist with the Lao Gan Ma chili crisp. Bún 2021 x Chifa x Ali Wong launches at the start of Lunar New Year, on February 12th.
Each dish made by this modern Chinatown tea shop is associated with good luck, fortune, wealth, and health. Their Lunar New Year set costs $55 and includes one traditional radish cake filled with Chinese sausage and mushrooms, one brown sugar rice cake made with dried longan fruit a tea ceremony, and their new Steep tote bag. Order through their website for pickup Thursday, February 11th through Saturday, February 13th.
photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto
This legendary Chinatown bakery has everything you need for a Lunar New Year feast, like strawberry cream cakes, deep-fried sugar butterflies, almond cookies, and a limited supply of egg tarts. Plus, when you go to pick up your order, you’ll see a super-cute drawing of an ox adorning their storefront window. They’ll also have a limited supply of egg tarts - call (213) 628-4642 to preorder.
In collaboration with dessert concept, Pique-Nique L.A., Woon is offering a Chinese New Year sweet rice cake special. Nin gou (or nian gao in Mandarin) is a dish signifying progress and growth in the new year. The pancake take-home kit features a golden pumpkin nin gou dough log plus festive accoutrements such as condensed milk, Woon peanuts + sea moss crumble, and salted duck egg yolk. Vegan coconut condensed milk options are also available. This special is running from February 5th through the 7th, and February 12th through the 14th. Visit Woon’s website to place a preorder.
TIATO KITCHEN & VENUE
Tiato Kitchen & Market in Santa Monica has collaborated with WE Drive-Ins to create a special drive-in movie experience. From February 11th through February 25th, they’ll be holding a fusion Lunar New Year/Valentine’s Day event, pairing the Oscar-contending, Korean-American film Minari (starring official Infatuation dreamboat, Steven Yeun) with a fine dining menu including Chef Helene An’s Famous Garlic Noodles, chicken edamame shumai, kimbap rolls, and a sweetheart dessert. Guests can purchase tickets, meals, and car spots by visiting WE Drive-Ins’ website.
While they haven’t announced a formal Lunar New Year special, this iconic dim sum restaurant (with locations in both Beverly Hills and the San Gabriel Valley) serves all sorts of excellent Chinese dishes perfect for ringing in the new year. Must-orders include the particularly meaty shrimp har gow, rice noodles with XO sauce, and fluffy, steamed BBQ pork bao that are sure to bring good luck - at least for the next fifteen seconds. Available for takeout, and call their San Gabriel location at (626) 288-1899 or their one in Beverly Hills at (310) 855-1234 to place an order.