Get ready for The Year of the Dragon (Picture: Nic Crilly-Hargrave, Park Chinois, Pan Pacific)
The Year of the Dragon is kicking off with a roar as London celebrates Lunar New Year with sumptuous Chinese feasts and festivals.
London is home to the biggest Lunar New Year celebration in the world outside of Asia and Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and the West End are all expected to attract hundreds of thousands of revellers for the festivities.
This year, Lunar New Year falls on Saturday 10 February, but events to mark the occasion are taking place throughout the month. Here are our picks of the best places to celebrate:
1. Check out Chinatown
London’s Chinatown is the centre of the city’s Lunar New Year celebrations (Picture: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
If you’re going to ring in Lunar New Year properly, head straight to London’s Chinatown.
Resplendent with red lanterns, the buzzy neighbourhood is playing host to the annual Chinese New Year parade that snakes across the West End on Sunday 11 February, complete with food stalls and lion dancing.
Their restaurants are getting in on the act too – Plum Valley’s mouth-watering CNY menu includes their ever popular tangerine-shaped custard buns.
For spice hounds, Indo-Chinese Mecca Fatt Pundit in nearby Covent Garden have rustled up a special Dragon momo – a festive take on the classic steamed dumpling, served in a pool of firey, deep red ‘dragon’ sauce, while Kung Fu Noodle’s hand-pulled noodles (a lucky Lunar New Year staple) come swimming in chilli oil.
Plum Valley’s famous tangerine buns symbolise wealth (and are really yummy) (Picture: Plum Valley)
Kung Fu Noodle is bringing the heat (Picture: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
Bun House is going for a sweet take on the lucky dumplings: a miso brown sugar bun, beautifully crafted into the shape of a traditional red lantern.
2. Have a Chinese-style afternoon tea
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Lucky buns and posh tea at Pan Pacific hotel (Picture: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
Tea rituals are an important traditional part of celebrating Lunar New year, with ceremonies typically practiced with family and friends as a way to symbolise connection or to offer respect and gratitude.
If you want to go all out, Bun House have teamed up with five-star hotel Pan Pacific for an a-bun-dant afternoon tea, combining Cantonese-style delicacies with delicate patisserie. The decadent spread includes Bun House’s signature lamb bun with toasted cumin, chilli and garlic, plus an exclusive bamboo filling; a fragrant white peach and milk Oolong lantern; and a pineapple and Szechuan pepper wonton (£68pp, available until 25 March).
Hong Kong-style cocktail bar Lucy Wong is also hosting a Chinese New Year afternoon tea on Saturday …read more