Crimson lanterns are aglow across North Texas, and the world, in anticipation of Chinese New Year.
Also known as Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, the celebration’s date is not set in stone. Rather, it starts on the first new moon of the lunar calendar. This year, that happens Jan. 25, and the festival continues for 15 days.
A few things to know about the festival are that young people are given red envelopes stuffed with “lucky money” during this time, traditions are upheld, great food is served and each year is represented by one of the 12 animals that appear on the Chinese zodiac.
“This year’s the year of the rat,” says Cosmo’s Restaurant and Bar general manager Jackson Tran, adding that since rats are notoriously cunning and clever, he expects 2020 to be a fruitful year.
Here are a few events to get your own taste of the upcoming Chinese New Year.
Heo QuayCosmo's Restaurant and Lounge, 1212 Skillman St. (East Dallas)
Cosmo’s, a self-described neighborhood dive bar, celebrates Chinese New Year faithfully. Tran says red, paper lanterns are strung, and, heo quay, a traditional Vietnamese dish that he describes as crispy pork belly, will be served through Jan. 25.
Chinese New Year Garden-to-Table DinnerDallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road (White Rock)
Chef Kent Rathbun will present live demonstrations of dishes from a menu for this Chinese New Year-themed dinner. Take in the view of White Rock Lake and the downtown Dallas skyline while savoring assorted dumplings and spring rolls paired with white wine. The main course of Mongolian barbecue ribs, fried rice, Chinese cabbage and salad will be trailed by red wine and avocado-raspberry roulade. Cost is $145 or $125 for nonmembers, and registration is required.
6:30-8:30 p.m. Jan. 23
4-Course Dining Plus a DJGung Ho, 2010 Greenville Ave. (Lowest Greenville)
Gung Ho will also celebrate with a prix fixe, chef-inspired menu of four courses along with diner’s choice of two specialty cocktails from a lineup of four. In addition, a DJ will spin from 7 to 11 p.m., and people will get a chance to win gift cards and swag during an hourly raffle. Tickets cost $45 for the menu and $65 for the menu with cocktails (tax and gratuity included).
5-11 p.m. Jan. 24-25
Crow Museum of Asian Art FestivalNorthPark Center, 8687 North Central Expressway (North Dallas)
The Crow Museum of Asian Art’s Chinese New Year Festival is a free event with dancing lions and dragons, calligraphy and martial arts demonstrations, as well as mask-making, face painting, noodle pulling and more.
“Andrew Chen of Monkey King Noodle Co. has been recruited by the Crow Museum to lead the noodle-pulling demo during the Chinese New Year festivities, which is always a lot fun,” says festival spokesperson Becky Mayad.
11 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 1
Night Market Revelry in the CloudsFive Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, 300 Reunion Blvd. E. (downtown)
Five Sixty's executive chef, Jacob Williamson, will honor the Year of the Rat as the restaurant transforms into an interactive Chinese night market complete with chef stations, including traditional dim sum, noodles, Chinese barbecued brisket, Chinese hot pot and more. There will also be cocktail stations to complement the fare.
Partiers can also hear music from a live DJ and experience lion dances as well as demonstrations by a Chinese calligrapher and a celebrity candy maker. Cost is $95 per person.
6:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Feb. 6
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Carnivorous Plant ExhibitionTexas Triffid Ranch, 405 Business Parkway, Richardson
For those who may want to celebrate the Chinese New Year eating through a different lens, Triffid Ranch will host a Metal White Rat gallery show, with carnivorous plants. The free, open house will debut several new enclosures that focus mostly on Asian pitcher plants, as well as a rare South American pitcher plant bloom and some blooming Mexican butterworts.
While refreshments for the Chinese New Year event will be kept simple, says gallery curator Paul Riddell, decorations “tend to go full bore.”
6 p.m.–midnight Jan. 25