The Lunar New Year begins on Tuesday, February 1, kicking off just over two weeks of celebrations. It also ushers in the Year of the Tiger — the third animal in the Chinese zodiac associated with bravery, competitiveness, confidence, and even unpredictability.
Food is always a big part of the Lunar New Year celebrations, with dumplings, spring rolls, longevity noodles, steamed fish, and sweets like nian gao or year cake (glutinous rice cake) playing vital roles at the table.
While many Lunar New Year celebrations are returning to restaurants and community centers across Atlanta after festivities were canceled in 2021 due to the pandemic, most affairs this year are likely to be more subdued than in years past. From food specials and chef pop-ups at restaurants to catching performances of traditional lion and dragon dances and reserving festive family feasts, here’s where to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Atlanta.
Know of a Lunar New Year food special, pop-up, or food event Eater missed? Send the details to email@example.com. Check back for updates.
Filipino food pop-up Adobo ATL, Sweet Auburn BBQ, Japanese restaurant Salaryman, and the Real Deal Bakery are all taking part in the city of Decatur’s first Lunar New Year festival at Legacy Park on Saturday, January 29. The day includes a traditional lion dance and New Year history lesson, craft booths representing Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, and Filipino cultures, and food from the aforementioned restaurants and pop-ups.
One of Atlanta’s biggest and most beloved Chinese New Year celebrations typically takes place at Atlanta Chinatown Mall in Chamblee. While it’s unclear whether festivities will return in 2022, stalls at the food court offer everything from dumplings and noodles to streamed fish dishes and succulent roast ducks. Pop by Family Baking to pick up some sweet treats for the home festivities, too. Eater reached out to representatives for Atlanta Chinatown to inquire about the status of the celebration this year.
Fans attending the game against the Toronto Raptors at State Farm Arena on January 31 are in for an evening of Lunar New Year giveaways, food specials, and live music and a lion dance performance during halftime. Giveaways include traditional red envelopes and special ticket packages, too.
Asian Square (Doraville) and Orient Center (Chamblee)
On February 6, the Chien Hong School of Kung Fu plans to perform the traditional dragon dance and offer kung fu demonstrations at both Asian Square and Orient Center on Buford Highway. Be sure to check out the restaurants at both complexes, including spots like La Mei Zi, Mings BBQ, Mamak, and treats from Sweet Hut Bakery at Asian Square and Vietnamese restaurant Phở Bắc and Mist Snack Bar for dessert at Orient Center.
On February 1, the Midtown Atlanta development kicks off Lunar New Year celebrations with an eight-day virtual scavenger hunt. Starting at 10 a.m. daily, people should check Atlantic Station’s Instagram stories for clues to the whereabouts of a “Red Treat Bag” located somewhere on the property. The first person to guess correctly wins the contents of that day’s bag and a gift card. From now until February 28, look for performances of the traditional lion and dragon dances on the green at Atlantic Station.
The Inman Quarter Korean restaurant and bar plans to celebrate the Lunar New Year on Friday, February 4, with a celebratory blowout starting at 7 p.m.
The Cabbagetown restaurant celebrates the Lunar New Year with an evening of Chinese horoscopes and a special dinner on February 1 to include lychee martinis, wealthy dumplings, whole steamed branzino, longevity noodles, and good fortune orange custard tart for dessert. Reserve here.
Owned by chefs Ron Hsu and Aaron Philips, the new Vietnamese restaurant and bakery off of Marietta Boulevard, plans to celebrate Têt or Vietnamese New Year on Sunday, January 30. Dinner features dragon dance performances, live music, party favors, and a special family-style Lunar New Year meal. Tickets are $40 per person, $20 per child 12 and under.
This Taiwanese food pop-up, currently stationed at Gato in Candler Park on Saturdays, plans to serve up batches of “lucky dumplings” or jiaozi on January 29. Some dumplings will even contain a hidden “lucky red date” inside, symbolizing wealth and prosperity. Follow Mighty Hans on Instagram for more Lunar New Year food specials this month.
The dumpling-heavy menu at Northern China Eatery is where to find everything from baskets full of warm and savory soup dumplings to pork and fennel-filled fried dumplings. And, on Monday, January 31, the Buford Highway restaurant plans to serve its full menu of dumplings for wealth, along with handmade noodles for longevity and spicy griddled fish for prosperity. Northern China also sells bags of frozen dumplings to continue the New Year celebrations at home. Closed February 1.
After announcing the closures of We Suki Suki and neighboring food stall market the Global Grub Collective in East Atlanta Village, restaurateur Quynh “Q” Trinh transformed the space into a weekly pop-up incubator called Qommunity. The food hub is home base for Poke Burri and Lifting Noodles Ramen now, and includes a coffee, boba tea, and noodle bar serving cocktails in the evenings. Qommunity will host a dual grand opening and Lunar New Year celebration on February 2 to include music, a special three-course dinner, and festive food specials. Celebration kicks off at 6 p.m. Preorder food here.
The Lao food pop-up will be at The Bookhouse Pub on Ponce February 1 serving a special Cantonese-inspired Lunar New Year menu from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Takeout also available.
Owners Anita Hsu and Howard Hsu and chef Ron Hsu (Lazy Betty) typically host an annual Chinese New Year blowout at the Poncey-Highland restaurant. The pandemic continues to thwart those plans again this year. Instead, the restaurant has a few Lunar New Year events and festive food specials planned throughout February. This includes a Chinese New Year cooking class on February 7 where folks will learn to make classic dishes, like char siu pork and Asian pickles, and create their own char siu pork bao. Tickets are $50 per person. Keep an eye on Sweet Auburn BBQ’s Instagram for other Lunar New Year events and specials in February.
Summerhill Thai restaurant Talat Market is planning to serve a special Lunar New Year menu January 28 through January 30. Owners Parnass Savang and Rod Lassiter even commissioned a special Talat Market t-shirt to commemorate the Year of the Tiger.