Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a great week! I’m especially excited today because it is exactly one week away from Lunar New Year! In my culture, there are a lot of things we do to prep for the big day. We clean our homes, we buy new clothes, we get haircuts, we stuff “lai see” (red envelopes), we buy flowers and fruits and melon seeds, and we eat A LOT! So, for obvious reasons, I love Lunar New Year! :)
However, with all that aside, this holiday holds a special place in my heart because it brings back a lot of childhood memories for me while growing up in Hong Kong. This holiday is always very lively and festive, and it brings so much harmony and good vibes for everyone. It’s a tradition I doubtlessly want to pass onto my girls and I hope they’ll learn to appreciate Lunar New Year beyond just red envelopes and firecrackers.
Luckily, we live in S.F. where we have a big Asian community and Lunar New Year is celebrated with a lot of pride here. I sometimes feel that it has turned into a holiday for everyone whether you’re Asian or not. After all, it is a public school holiday for the SF kiddos! So if you don’t know it already, it’s kind of a big deal here and there are many things you can do to celebrate and be emerged in this great cultural holiday. I’m particularly excited for all the things happening at Westfield San Francisco Shopping Centre, they’re offering something for everyone! Check it out:
IF YOU LOVE TO EAT: M.Y. China is offering a special ‘Grandma Wu’s New Year Dinner’ menu to celebrate The Year of the Ram starting now through March 8th. I just tried this menu with my family and it was delicious and so delightful. See my experience below!
IF YOU LOVE TO SEE & PLAY: Mark your calendar for ‘Westfield’s Lunar New Year Event’ happening on Saturday, Feb 28th. There will be Chinese Zodiac Displays from the Asian Art Museum on Level 2, with entertainment and activities hosted by Martin Yen (James Beard Award winning chef, TV host, and one of the owners of M.Y. China) including live music, traditional lion dance, and a popular noodle pulling demonstration, M.Y. China tasting menu, red envelope giveaways and more. I’m definitely bringing my two daughters to this event! Hope to see you there? For more info, check out their Facebook page.
IF YOU LOVE TO SHOP: One of my favorite style bloggers (and mommy friend), Anh of 9to5 Chic, created a Lucky Gift Guide to share stylish products that are meant to bring you luck based on your zodiac sign. Trust me, I’ll be taking notes from Anh!
IF YOU LOVE TO GET LUCKY: Check out the 2015 Lucky Horoscope where you can enter your date of birth and get your lucky horoscope for the year. It’s a tradition to get your fortune read during the new year and I’ll be doing this for George, Hayden and Hadley haha!
So many fun things happening, right? By the way, there’s no rule that says you can’t do all of the above. :) For me, I’m starting it off with a New Year Dinner at M.Y. China.
One very common way to celebrate the Lunar New Year is by having a reunion dinner. This is usually done on new year’s eve (or a few days before) and it’s a must-do for all families. It’s a way to bring the family together by having a banquet-style meal with lots of traditional recipes and using ingredients that are meant to bring you good fortunes. I’ve been doing this all my life and now that I’m starting my own family, I want to carry on the tradition.
I recently took my family to M.Y. China (part of the delectable restaurant collection Under The Dome of Westfield SF Shopping Centre), to experience their ‘Grandma Wu’s New Year Dinner’. This 8-course menu is inspired by Executive Chef, Tony Wu’s grandmother. It is traditional with lots of classic Chinese ingredients: think lotus roots, seaweed, oysters, rice cakes and more!
I love the ambiance of this restaurant. It embeds Chinese traditions and decor, yet it’s modern and inviting. Not to mention, it’s a great spot for families and all the servers are super polite and friendly.
A nice open bar and open kitchen! You can see Executive Chef Wu and his apprentices making the dishes.
Here’s a delicious display of the ‘Fortune Platter’ with roast duck, squid, jellyfish, cucumber, and barbeque pork. Served next with the ‘Good Luck Soup’ made with organic chicken, pork shoulder, dry seaweed and lotus roots.
Hayden and Hadley both love barbeque pork! It’s their favorite! Also, with so many dishes, this is a great way to get them to experience more food.
This is the ‘Gold & Silver’ Bird’s Nest with scallop, shrimp, celery and mushroom. Love the vibrant colors of the veggies and seafood!
A very flavorful ‘Ocean Treasure’ served in a clay pot with oyster, seaweed and lettuce.
Here’s a ‘Perfect Catch’ with whole fish of the day, minced shrimp, green peppers, pineapple, served with sweet and sour sauce. With ‘Happy Opportunity’, which is an organic fried chicken (not pictured).
This is one of my favorite comfort dishes, ‘Happy Opportunity’. It’s made up of rice cakes, wild boar, sprouts and edamame.
Our little family loves to dine out and this is as real as it gets! :)
Last but not least, the new year meal always end with sweet rice dumplings. This one is called ‘Child’s Delight’ with black sesame rice dumplings in red bean soup. The shape of a circle represents the unity of a family, and the dumplings are usually served in an even number. In this case, we have eight dumplings. Why eight? Because the word “eight” sounds similar to a Chinese word that means “prosper” or “wealth”. See how meaningful these dishes are?
We sure had a lot of food and a lot of leftovers. But guess what? Having leftovers is considered a blessing in this meal and it means you will have lots of good profit and remaining every year. So don’t worry if you think you don’t have enough people to share this meal with, it’s not meant to be finished. It also just means you’ll have a very good lunch the next day. :)
Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! Don’t forget to join me on Saturday, 2/28 for the Westfield Lunar New Year Event or follow along online with #WestfieldLNY! See you there!
Good wishes to you all, Jeanne
Photos by the amazing Ashley Batz.
This post is kindly sponsored by Westfield San Francisco Centre. All opinions shared here are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to share my experience with you!