7 of the Best Chinese New Year Celebrations in the UAE

7 of the Best Chinese New Year Celebrations in the UAE

17 Feb 2015

Why have one New Year when you can have two? The UAE welcomes more opportunities to celebrate - this time for Chinese New Year...

Lion dances, tea ceremonies, yum cha and more await at the UAE celebrations for Chinese New Year to be hosted across the Emirates this February, heralding in the Year of the Goat. Here’s Ahlan!’s edit on the best and most colourful parties you can shake your chopsticks at…

1. Shang Palace, Shangri-La Dubai

Running from Wednesday 18 to Saturday 21 Feb, celebrations at Shang Palace include a decadent nine-course evening menu, which includes a glass of bubbly and a goat souvenir for Dhs396, and also a traditional Chinese New Year Yum Cha lunch menu on both Friday 20 and Saturday 21 Feb (Dhs188), both of which will feature a ‘Gong Fu’ tea performance with speciality teas poured from long-spouted pots. There will also be a 15-minute lion dance in the hotel’s lobby at the lucky time of 10.18am on Thursday 19 Feb. INFO: Shang Palace, Shangri-La, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 04 405 2928, www.shangri-la.com

2. Bā Restaurant & Lounge, Fairmont The Palm

The exquisitely multi-regional Chinese experience on the Palm is commemorating the event from Wednesday 18 to Saturday 21 Feb, and the local traditions of China will be pushed well to the fore, especially the traditional Lo Hei salad ceremony. As any Sinologist knows, ‘Lo Hei’ (or ‘Yu Sheng’) stems from the Chinese phrase “tossing up good fortune” – and the higher you toss it, the longer your luck will last. The set menu – at Dhs588 per person – opens the gates to a cornucopia of delicacies, including sashimi salmon and dried scallop soup and stir-fried Chinese duck sausage with Asian Greens. Everyone leaves with a gift, and if you were born in the Year of the Goat (1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, etc.) they’ll even make you a complimentary Chinese Mule cocktail. INFO: Bā, Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, 044573338, www.dineatba.com

3. Hakkasan, Emirates Palace & Jumeirah Emirates Towers

The Dubai and Abu Dhabi wings of the first Chinese restaurant in Europe to be awarded a Michelin star are honouring the ancient Hong Kong ‘Wishing Tree’ tradition right the way through to Sunday 1 March. Guests at their nine-course feast will be invited to express their deepest desires on special ribbons, which will be hung around the restaurants. As always, Hakkasan’s modern approach to Cantonese flavour shines through, with the likes spicy prawn, grilled Chilean sea bass in honey, stir-fry lily bulb and garlic shoot and abalone and dry scallop fried rice on the menu, with the kumquat wishing tree – a dessert complete with chocolate, caramelized macadamia and cocoa rocks – to finish. On the actual New Year day – Thursday 19 Feb – lion troupes will make their way through the intimate latticed woodwork cases of the venue. INFO: Dhs388 per person, Hakkasan Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace, Corniche Road, 026907999. Dhs450 per person, Hakkasan Dubai, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road, 043848484, www.hakkasan.com

4. Peppercrab, Grand Hyatt Dubai

Usher in the Year of the Goat at this renowned seafood eatery from Wednesday 18 to Wednesday 25 February, with the symbolic tossing of the Yu Sheng salad – and Chef Yapp Yung’s auspicious à la carte menu – in full effect. On the lucky third evening of the New Year, Saturday 21 February, there will be a lion dance performance and a Chinese calligraphy painting of lucky messages for all in attendance. And if you were born in the Year of the Goat, expect a complimentary Yu Sheng Lobster salad per table reservation. INFO: Peppercrab Restaurant, Grand Hyatt Dubai, Sheikh Rashid Rd, Oud Metha, Dubai, 043172222, www.restaurants.dubai.hyatt.com

5. Li Jiang, Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi

A welter of options await you in this distinctly luxe Modern Southeast Asian venue. If you like your dumplings – and who doesn't? – there's a Dim Sum Happy Hour from 6pm until 8pm right the way through until Saturday 28 February, with five delectable parcels and an Asian-inspired cocktail for Dhs70. But if you want to celebrate a little more, Dhs500 will get you a five-course spectacular right up until Tuesday 24 February. The feast will kick off with the ceremonial tossing of the Yu Cheng salad - a traditional Teochew style raw fish meal, mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments that is considered a symbol of abundance, prosperity and vigour. And when the food-flinging is over, it'll be time to get stuck into succulent BBQ lamb fillet and other Li Jiang classics. INFO: Li Jiang, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, 028188888

6. Al Bahou, Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai

‘The Gate’ is well and truly open for the Year of the Goat - and if you want to meld old-world Cantonese flavours with modern-day DXB culture, Al Bahou’s Friday Brunch on Friday 20 February is the perfect choice. The five signature venues in the Gate – Sicilia, Shanghai Chic, Mistral, Chor Bazaar and Moroc – will be joining forces to put a tantalising Chinese twist on a magnificent culinary showcase, including Chinese crab-meat bisque, baked tuna with spicy orange miso sauce, pomelo and chicken sambal salad and Mongolian beef with Szechuan sauce and chili peppers. There’ll also be live entertainment and a range of interactive activities for the kids. Packages include Dhs295 per person soft, Dhs395 with house beverages, Dhs495 with French bubbly. Dhs145 kids 13-16 years of age, Dhs95 kids 6-12 and kids under 6 eat free. INFO: Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai, 04 444 5613, www.moevenpick-dubai-ibnbattuta.com

7. Trader Vic’s, Souk Madinat Jumeirah

You’ve got until Saturday 21 Febuary to ring in the Chinese New Year at Trader Vic’s. They’ve pulled out all the stops to create a spectrum of fusion flavours for a limited-edition a la carte menu to commemorate the event, laden with Chinese-inspired dishes such as mixed selection of dumpling (comprising vegetable gyoza, chicken siew mai and prawn har-kao) and Peking style lamb chops served with chili, tomato and oyster sauce on a bed of egg noodles. Hedonists will revel in the sweet and spicy pineapple prawns served with jasmine rice and whole steamed red snapper in spicy brown sauce. With delectable dishes and live musical stylings, the restaurant provides a perfect setting to celebrate with friends and welcome in a prosperous New Year. INFO: Trader Vic’s, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, 043665646, www.tradervicsmadinat.com