Chinese New Year is unfortunately the greatest overlooked holiday in American food. Partially because it often lands (like this year) close to both the Super Bowl and Valentine’s day. For a foodie with a love of Asian cuisine it is often better than either.
The holiday celebrates the turn of the Chinese Lunisolar calendar and depending on when a new moon occurs, falls between January 21 and February 20th. This year it is today.
According to mythology the Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the Nian. Nian would eat villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year (via wikipedia). At some point a villager decided to set off firecrackers instead to scare the Nian, and it was eventually defeated.
With a holiday so old and so rich in food tradition, you know there is the potential for great food here. We checked in with two of our favorite Chinese stops to see what they had for the day.
AW Lin’s is continuing their Chinese New Year tradition of serving free hand made dumplings with every entree all day. According to manager Jenny Liu, the dumpling signifies good luck and brings wealth and treasure. Keeping with the theme each dumpling includes the chance to win a lucky prize.
Three Fold marks their one year anniversary on Chinese New Year, so it is a very special time for them. This year they will serve a special bowl of pork wontons in a spicy sauce along with a new steamed bun and choice of slaw. The special runs from February 8th to the 11th. Full detail and story.There are also a ton of other great Chinese options in the city that may not be running specials, but will help you celebrate the New Year in a very tasty way. Check out Fantastic China, Chi’s, Mr. Chen’s, Mr. Cheng’s, Fu Lin, Lilly’s Dim Sum, and others.So get out today, or sometime this week and eat some local Chinese food. It might bring you good luck, it might keep the Nian from eating you, but mostly it is simply great food.