The Lunar New Year begins on Friday, February 12, kicking off just over two weeks of celebrations. Friday also ushers in the Year of the Ox — the second animal in the Chinese zodiac associated with honesty, reliability, and hard work. 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 most of this year’s public celebrations at restaurants and community centers have been toned down or canceled due to the pandemic, much more subdued affairs with family and friends are taking place at homes across Atlanta. Here are just a few Lunar New Year food specials, pop-ups, and related events to consider.
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One of Atlanta’s biggest and most beloved Chinese New Year celebrations typically takes place at Atlanta Chinatown Mall in Chamblee. While canceled this year because of the health crisis, people can still compile a feast to celebrate at home. Stalls at the mall’s food court offer everything from dumplings and noodles to streamed fish dishes and succulent roast ducks. Many stalls at Atlanta Chinatown’s food court also feature the option to order online for takeout. Pop by Family Baking to pick up some sweet treats, too. Outdoor seating. Limited indoor seating. Masks required.
This month-long outdoor Chinese New Year celebration takes place on Atlantic Green at the complex and includes a 90-foot dragon with over 25,000 lights and lantern shows nightly starting at 6 p.m. Free. Masks required.
The Eastside Beltline restaurant offers a Lunar New Year Ox Box for takeout now through February 26. Boxes include: Singapore mei fun; chicken lo mein; chicken dumplings; spring rolls; Hawker’s Delight; and orange glazed doughnuts. Boxes also come with confetti poppers, online access to a tapped lion dance performance, and hóngbāo envelopes. Order online for takeout. Masks required.
This from-scratch dumpling service is all about comfort food rooted in family traditions. Launched last summer, Kat’s Dumps features dumplings on its menu like the OG filled with pork, Napa cabbage, scallions, and mushrooms and a seasonal offering such as a dumpling stuffed with chorizo, pumpkin, and onions served with a side of whipped honey ricotta. For Lunar New Year, Kat’s Dumps pops up at Wild Heaven Beer in Avondale Estates on Friday, February 12, starting at 5 p.m. and Eventide Brewing on Saturday, February 13, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Check out the menu here. Masks required. Order online for pick-up. Follow on Instagram for menus and updates.
Lan Zhou Ramen is the spot if seeking seriously long (and delicious) hand-pulled noodle dishes. This Buford Highway staple in the Pinetree Shopping Plaza offers heaping plates of hand-pulled noodles and noodle soups on its menu. Try the pork or oxtail stir-fried noodles or order the beef or roast duck hand-pulled noodle soup. Watch the chefs through the kitchen window roll, twist, pull, and whip noodles into shape. LanZhou also offers a variety of dumplings on its menu, including soup dumplings and pork buns. Open for limited dine-in service. Order online for takeout. Masks required. A second location is now open in Kennesaw.
The Buckhead restaurant celebrates the Lunar New Year on Saturday, February 13, with help from the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company. The troupe performs the lion dance from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. with traditional dragon dancers while blessings and red envelopes are gifted to guests. Expect menu specials, too. Reservations highly encouraged. Dress code. Masks required.
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. On Friday, February 12, the restaurant offers a family-style Chinese feast filled with its popular dumplings, griddled fish platters, and Shanxi noodles. Northern China also sells bags of 60 frozen dumplings to continue the New Year celebrations at home. Seating is limited in the small dining room. Masks required. Order online for takeout.
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. However, the pandemic shifted those plans this year. Instead, the siblings, along with their father, George Hsu, plan to offer a Zoom Chinese New Year cooking class on Tuesday, February 23, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Learn to cook Chinese pan-fried noodles with chicken and vegetable and Mandarin pork ribs with pineapple guided by the Hsu family. Recipes and ingredients are available for pick-up at Sweet Auburn BBQ in Poncey-Highland on February 22 or February 23. Register for the class online. Masks required for pick-up.
Summerhill Thai restaurant Talat Market opened last April inside an old neighborhood market on Ormond Street. While the pandemic may have altered their initial plans, chefs Parnass Lim Savang and Rod Lassiter have mastered the takeout game here. With the Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day, and Mardi Gras coinciding this year, Talat Market plans to celebrate all three holidays with takeout specials on February 12 and February 13. Order online for curbside pick-up. Masks required. Patio seating.