As Lunar New Year approaches, Chinese culture is set to be celebrated around the world. Parades, lantern festivals, firework displays –all kinds of festivities take place across Asia and throughout the world. But what is perhaps the most important aspect of the two-week-long celebration is Chinese cuisine.
Although the street food of Shanghai and Beijing is – and will always be – adored, Chinese cuisine has carved a permanent place in the fine dining industry. From Las Vegas to London and Dubai to Sydney, this guide covers all four corners of the world to underline just how far China’s culinary influence has spread.
Imperial Treasure, Shanghai
Where better to start than arguably the finest Cantonese restaurant in China? Only eight restaurants in the whole of Shanghai have been awarded two Michelin stars, and Imperial Treasure is one of few to have done so with a menu full of traditional dishes.
Among an array of fantastic offerings includes the longstanding favorite, sautéed yellow cream crab with glutinous rice and the slow-cooked pork belly in brown sauce served with steam buns. Sounds simple? Imperial Treasure specializes in turning common Chinese dishes into something special by using only the finest ingredients.
Kai Mayfair, London
Malaysian-born Bernard Yeoh and his team of culinary experts have been bringing their self-proclaimed “liberated Chinese cooking” to the heart of London’s up-market Mayfair for 26 years. First opened in 1993, it took until 2009 to win its first Michelin star, but it has held onto it ever since.
Menu highlights include the Nanyang chilli lobster, which is a mixture of lobster, king prawns, scallops & crab meat served with crispy bao, and the black pepper beef, which can be made with a Scottish fillet or Kagoshima wagyu. The Lunar New Year special menu also offers a special “Return of the Dragon” cocktail made with 18-year Chivas and egg whites, and mains such as tiger prawns with garlic scapes or broccolini with umami greens.
Buddakan, New York
The incredible eastern flavors of Buddakan are blended with a grand and old-fashioned setting, but somehow it just works. Oversized chandeliers and long tables shout 16th-century Paris, but the food on offer is a wonderful example of traditional Cantonese cuisine.
A luxury 14-course tasting menu will take you on a full sensory tour of Chinese culture with highlights including the edamame dumplings, tuna tartare spring roll and Kung Pao monkfish.
Shanghai Terrace, Chicago
Located in The Peninsula in Chicago, Shanghai Terrace offers some of the best Cantonese cuisine in the city as well as spectacular views over its skyline.
To celebrate the Year of the Dragon, Shanghai Terrace is offering a special six-course menu created by experienced chef Elmo Han. The prix fixe dinner offers modern twists on traditional dishes such as steamed Chilean seabass, traditional lemon chicken or XO beef tenderloin, and is available from January 26 through February 11.
Mr. Wong, Sydney
An intimate setting this is not. Situated over two floors with 240 covers, Mr. Wong promises to deliver traditional Cantonese food in a larger-than-life style.
Executive chef Dan Hong has created a menu for Lunar New Year which includes abalone, pak choy and prawn dumplings with truffle and claypot rice with pork belly. The special king crab puff with caviar is also recommended, and all dishes have optional wine and spirits pairings.
The Lunar New Year menu is available February 9 through February 25.
Hakkasan, Las Vegas
With its two locations in London (Mayfair and Hanway Place), Hakkasan proved it can do world-class dining. However, neither of those manage to combine a fine Cantonese dining experience alongside a super-club.
If you are looking for a hedonistic Chinese New Year, Hakkasan Las Vegas is the place to be. The restaurant is situated on the first level of the main dining area known as the “Cage” and is headed by chef Pinyo Sae Wu.
The New Year menu, available from January 30 to February 24, offers contemporary classics such as wagyu beef cucumber salad, smoked eight treasure duck and black truffle dumplings. Plus, after your meal, you can take a trip to the dance floor to shake off those excesses with the likes of Tyga and Travis Scott performing in February.
The Buddha-Bar Dubai has become a must-do experience for culinary-conscious tourists with its striking two-storied venue. The twinkling lights of the Dubai Marina flood in through the large bay windows while opulent chandeliers hang overhead.
But Buddha-Bar Dubai is not just a treat for the eyes. Their innovative menu blends the best of China, Japan and Thailand with signature dishes including bluefin tuna tataki and yellowtail sashimi.
On February 10, they will host a Red Party night to celebrate the New Year, featuring shows and performances on the restaurant’s stage. The Red Party also boasts a specially-created menu that includes dishes such as Aburi seabass sushi and Shanghai lobster.
Min Jiang, London
Situated on the 10th floor of the Royal Garden Hotel and overlooking Hyde Park, Min Jiang offers the most authentic Chinese culinary experience in London.
To celebrate the Year of the Dragon, they have crafted a special A La Carte menu. This includes dishes such as braised pork knuckle with shiitake mushroom and crispy golden lobster in yuzu salted egg yolk sauce.
However, you can always opt for the restaurant’s signature dish. Their legendary wood-fried Beijing Duck will be carved in front of you by an expert and served in two different dishes. Guests can choose to have their duck served in soup, with rice, noodles or lettuce – with different cuts and flavors for each option.