The Year of the Rat begins on Saturday, January 25, launching opportunities for new beginnings and hope for prosperity in the year ahead. Our favorite way to celebrate the holiday (well, any holiday) is with food, of course, and Chinese New Year makes for especially good eating.
Different countries in Asia have varying customs for this occasion, but there are myriad delicious dishes that you can consume for good luck. In some parts of China, dumplings represent the transition between the old and new year; noodles—the lengthier, the better—promote a long life; fish and greens bring wealth; and whole chicken and duck symbolize togetherness. Feast your way into the Year of the Rat on that and more at these six restaurants, each offering special menus and events for the Lunar New Year:
Hop Alley owner Tommy Lee will host Caroline Glover of Annette on February 1 for a very special six-course Chinese New Year dinner. The menu isn’t finalized just yet, but Lee says they’ll be taking some of Annette’s signature ingredients and dishes and integrating them into Hop Alley’s menu. Think: Annette’s yeasted waffle batter turned into a Hong Kong egg waffle for dessert. $90 (or $125 with beverage pairings); 3500 Larimer St.
On January 24, executive chef Thach Tran is whipping up some extraordinary menu items in honor of the holiday. Think: wok-tossed tempura king crab legs; brown butter lobster siu mai; and pork belly noodles, which add up to a mighty-tasty way to observe the holiday. Menu prices vary; 501 E. 17th Ave.
Savor dishes such as bone-in whole duck, dan dan mian, and steamed striped bass while you watch live Lunar New Year performances on January 25 at this 43-year-old Englewood restaurant. Menu prices vary; 3021 S. Broadway, Englewood
Not only will there be an exclusive dinner menu for groups of four or more on January 25, featuring Chinese seafood bird nest, salmon salad, pork belly, and Cornish hen, but Imperial will also showcase lion dance performers from 5:15–6:30 p.m. $33.88 for the special menu; 431 S. Broadway
Peace-promoting nonprofit Denver Sister Cities International will host a banquet and celebration at Empress on February 1, including a cash bar and silent auction starting at 5:30 p.m.; a 10-course dinner that begins at 6:30 p.m.; and a lion dance finale at 8:30 p.m. $28–$55; 2825 W. Alameda Ave. #2901
From February 1–8, the Avanti food stall will add one limited-time Chinese New Year dish to their regular menu each evening. Specialties include Peking duck breast bao; pork and chile wontons; or a salt-and-pepper pork chop. Menu prices vary; 3200 N. Pecos St.