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Eight Eateries to Celebrate the Lunar New Year in San Francisco

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The Golden Dragon brings up the rear of the 2014 Chinese New Year Parade. (Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED)

Based on the lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year will start on Feb. 16 this year, but celebrations for the Year of the Dog are expected to last for two weeks. On Feb. 24, the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco will start at 5:15 p.m. at Second and Market, and then weave through Chinatown. But the parade isn't the only event that will celebrate the Lunar New Year. There's also the Flower Market Fair on Feb. 10 and a number of other events around the Bay Area, including a Lunar New Year Bazaar in Oakland.

In fact, it's not just the Chinese New Year that's being celebrated. All the calendars that are based off the moon are kicking off their year. In San Jose that will include a three-day Tet Festival from Feb. 16-18.

To get in the mood, here are some restaurants (and one food truck event) celebrating the holiday with specials and events. Eat your way into the new year. You can also check out our guide to popular dim sum spots. Add your own favorites in the comments.

The lobster at China Live.
The lobster at China Live. (Courtesy of China Live)

China Live (Chinatown): China Live opened its 30,000 square foot emporium and market earlier this year (along with its high-end Eight Tables experience on the upper floor), so it's no surprise the whole place is celebrating its first Lunar New Year with a special menu. The market restaurant will have items like red bean soft serve with chocolate mochi and rice porridge with black sesame glutinous rice balls. The bar will also serve specialty cocktails and Eight Tables will incorporate New Year's dishes — lotus leaf wrapped duck and braised Hawaiian awabi abalone with flower mushrooms — into its courses. Available the entire month of February.

M.Y. China (Downtown): M.Y. China is a San Francisco favorite (and a Check, Please! restaurant). This week, the James Beard Award winning chef and TV host Martin Yan announced his special Chinese New Year menu. Called Grandma Wu's New Year Dinner, the $288 meal serves six people and includes a Fortune Platter of roast duck, barbeque pork, calamari, and jellyfish, a Golden Lobster, and a sugar egg puff for dessert. Or you can just go with the classics: watch the noodles being hand-pulled.


Hakkasan (Downtown): From Jan. 29 to Feb. 24, you can try Hakkasan's annual special Chinese New Year menu, with oysters for good fortune, braised beef tongue and caramelized walnuts, and abalone fried rice in bean curd wrap with Chinese sausage. Dinner is $118 per person. You can also leave a wish on the wishing tree or watch the lion dancers at 7 p.m. on the actual New Year Day, Feb. 16.

E&O Kitchen and Bar (Downtown): Just outside the Dragon’s Gate, E&O is known for its modern take on traditional Chinese food. From Feb. 16-24, the restaurant will also have limited time Lunar New Year's specials: pomelo and avocado salad, Jiaozi dumplings, and long life noodles. Plus, watch live lion dancers on the evening of Feb. 24.

Enjoy Restaurant (Chinatown): If you're looking for a vegetarian start to your Year of the Dog, then enjoy Enjoy. This year, the San Francisco Vegetarian Society will also be celebrating its 50th anniversary with an 11-course vegan meal for the Chinese New Year. Tickets are $30 per person and must be bought by Feb. 10. That includes dishes like spinach and pine nuts fried rice, steamed dumplings, and lettuce wrapped with shredded mushroom and soy chicken.

Sweet potato noodles in peanut sauce with Dungeness crab and chrysanthemum at Mister Jiu's.
Sweet potato noodles in peanut sauce with Dungeness crab and chrysanthemum at Mister Jiu's. (Kim Westerman)

Mister Jiu's (Chinatown): Since it opened, Mister Jiu's has been proclaimed one of the best new restaurants in the country. While the menu changes with the season, expect the Chinese and Northern California dishes to have a distinct Lunar New Year's bent to them. Try classics like the BBQ pork buns and the roasted quail. A seven-dish tasting menu costs $69 per person.

Crystal Jade (Downtown): Downtown in the Embarcadero Center, Crystal Jade will host the Taiwanese American Professionals Lunar New Year Soiree on Feb. 24. Tickets for the eight-course banquet meal are $120 and entertainment will include a Taiwanese band and a showing of the 2017's Taiwanese American Film Festival winners.

Dumpling Down! Chinese New Year Festival (SoMa): On Feb. 25, vendors from around the Bay Area will descend on SoMa StrEat Food Park to serve up dim sum, bao buns, goyza, and more dumplings than you can eat. Plus onion pancakes, fried rice, and egg rolls. Which specific food trucks will be there can be found listed on the event's Facebook page. Admission costs $5; $23 for bottomless kumquat mimosas.

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