Chinese New Year is just around the corner — a time traditionally associated with honouring deities and ancestors, as well as family reunions. The family is the basis of Chinese society, and as such, large significance is placed on the New Year’s eve reunion dinner, or ‘tuan nian fan’. During this time, those who uphold traditional customs will eat certain dishes that are believed to be auspicious.
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Thought of as “lucky food”, the dishes are chosen based on their symbolic meanings and served to bring good luck for the coming year — be it in wealth, health, or love. Whether you personally celebrate Chinese New Year, or simply have your interests piqued, we’ve rounded up a list of the best places in town offering lucky dishes. Read on to know where you’ll be booking tomorrow!
For wealth and longevity: ‘Auspicious Health & Wealth Set Menu’ at Yao Restaurant
To usher in a new year of prosperity, Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse’s Yao Restaurant is offering a delectable ‘Auspicious Health & Wealth Set Menu’ for lunch and dinner. With five courses especially prepared by Chinese chef Bruce Hui, expect a series of auspicious dishes, enjoyed amid classic Chinese decor with that Marriott touch of sophistication.
The course includes succulent steamed snow fish, served with oolong tea soy sauce, as well as a double-boiled black chicken soup with wild shiitake mushrooms and baby abalone. During this time, fish is thought to bring an increase in prosperity, while dumplings are associated with wealth. Also don’t miss the noodles — freshly made and hand-pulled by master chef Wang Wen Bin — as they represent longevity, and when shared, represents the hope that everyone on the table enjoys a long and happy life.
THB3,500++ per person. The ‘Auspicious Health & Wealth Set Menu’ is available from 11:30am – 2:30pm and 6-10:30pm, February 4 – 10. Yao Restaurant, Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse. To reserve your seats or find out more, call 0 2088 5666. marriott.com.
For happiness: Chinese New Year’s Brunch at Up & Above Restaurant
Happiness — easily said, not as easily defined or attained. For those on the pursuit of happiness, now might be a good time to indulge in some duck. In Chinese culture, red dishes are often served during important gatherings as the colour of happiness, and among the most popular is the duck, as it is also a symbol of togetherness and unity.
Of course, when it comes to duck in Chinese cuisine, how could you not go for Peking duck? For some of the very best, book a table at The Okura Prestige Bangkok. The hotel’s Up & Above Restaurant is offering an afternoon brunch, featuring a cornucopia of authentic savoury Chinese delights. Highlights go from Peking duck to crabmeat soup, pan-fried foie gras and even all-you-can-eat dim sum. If you aren’t a duck person, don’t worry — another unmissable highlight of the brunch is the moo yang muang trang, a divine, barbecued suckling pig, prepared with a delicious tenderness coated with crispy skin. Pork in Chinese culture is also a symbol for strength.
THB1,988++ per person (includes soft drinks). Noon-3:30pm, February 5. Up & Above Restaurant, The Okura Prestige Bangkok. To reserve your seats or find out more, call 0 2687 9000. okurabangkok.com.
For abundance and vigor: Lo Hei at Shang Palace Chinese Restaurant
The cantonese lo hei, or yu sheng in Chinese, refers to a Cantonese-style raw fish salad. Strips of raw fish are served with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces, condiments and complementing ingredients. Often enjoyed during Chinese New Year, the lo hei symbolises an increase in abundance throughout the year — both in prosperity and wealth, as well as in physical strength and energy. Celebrating this auspicious time of year, Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok’s Shang Palace Chinese Restaurant is offering authentic delights for lo hei, especially created by chef Chow Wai Man. Guests have the option to choose between lo hei salmon, or both lo hei abalone and salmon. The vibrant plates can be enjoyed with a traditional lion dance performance on February 5.
THB2,888 for the lo hei balone and salmon. THB1,988 for the lo hei salmon. Available from February 4 – 7. Shang Palace Chinese Restaurant, Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok. To reserve your seats or find out more, call 0 2236 7777. shangri-la.com.
For a higher income or higher position: ‘Piggy Nian Gao’ at Pagoda Chinese Restaurant
Over at Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queens Park, Pagoda Chinese Restaurant is readily welcoming the Chinese year of the pig with an endearingly irresistible treat. Dusted in gold and shaped like a pig, the dessert is made entirely out of nian gao, or glutinous rice cake. In Chinese culture, nian gao is associated with gaining a higher income or a higher position. For the career-driven or those readying to climb the corporate ladder, this one’s for you. It also comes in a beautiful blue box, serving as an ideal gift — the cute that comes with it is an added bonus.
THB999 per box. Available until February 8. Pagoda Chinese Restaurant, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queens Park. To place your orders or find out more, call 0 2059 5999. bangkokmarriottmarquisqueenspark.com.
For a “sweeter” year: ‘Chinese-inspired Afternoon Tea’ at Erawan Tea Room
Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok gives its beloved Afternoon Tea a special Chinese flair, bringing in highlights such as deep fried chicken wings drizzled with honey sauce and kanom jeeb Thai sai poo — steamed crab meat dumplings. The savoury bites are a great way to get a taste of Chinese-inspired flavours, but what you really don’t want to miss is the sweet stuff. With delights ranging from deep fried taro coated with almonds to the dried papaya madeleine, and even a Thai tea cranberry financier, there’s a lot to look forward to for the sweet-toothed. In Chinese culture, sweets are a staple during significant gatherings and meals as they symbolise the idea of “sweetening one’s upcoming year”. They also have associations with togetherness, safety and good fortune.
THB800++ per person. The Afternoon Tea set is available from 2:30-6pm, February 1 – 10. Erawan Tea Room, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok. To reserve your seats or find out more, call 0 2254 6250. hyatt.com.