Looking for somewhere to celebrate Chinese New Year? Here's our list of some of the best options in Sydney and Melbourne.
Kick off the Year of the Monkey in Chinatown, the epicentre of Melbourne's Lunar New Year celebrations, where the Dai Loong Association is hosting a line-up of performances, cultural workshops and hawker stalls from 2-14 February. Federation of Chinese Associations is curating Chinese New Year celebrations at Federation Square, while in Docklands their 100-metre-long dragon is returning to roam the streets at large. Take refuge at the table where the real celebrations begin. Over the cusp of the New Year, Flower Drum (17 Market Ln, Melbourne, 03 9662 3655), one of the greats in Australia's Canto-cooking scene, is hosting lion dancers over a menu of suckling pig, lo hei sashimi and yuen tai, while Ruyi Modern Chinese (16 Liverpool St, Melbourne, 03 9090 7778) dishes up a modern Chinese dégustation and nightly performances to boot. Spice Temple Melbourne at Crown (Riverside at Crown, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank, 03 8679 1888) is hosting a Chinese banquet for lunch and dinner over the full two-week run. Also in the Casino precinct, head to the Riverwalk on the weekend 5-7 February for the Hawkers Bazaar featuring contemporary Asian street food, live entertainment, fireworks and exhibitions. And if you want to take the celebrations sky-high, hit the red carpet at Eureka Skydeck (7 Riverside Quay, Southbank, 03 9693 8888), Southbank's lucky 88th-floor observation deck, for red lanterns and sensational views.
City of Sydney's Lunar Lanterns festival illuminates the city's central business district from 6-14 February in the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside China. Off the back of last year's Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors exhibition, this year's lantern trail symbolises the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, with activities and performances taking place at every lantern site from Chinatown to Circular Quay. The sails of the Opera House are shining red to mark the changing year from 7-9 February, and inside at Bennelong(Bennelong Point, Sydney, 02 9240 8000), chef Peter Gilmore is merging East and West in a grilled lobster bun with pickled cucumber and fermented chilli, cleverly matched with a Monkey See, Monkey Do cocktail of spiced rum and Thai chilli syrup. For more buns, baos and mainland treats, all five Phoenix Restaurants are serving traditional plates along with lion dancing, while Master (368 Crown St, Surry Hills, 02 8065 0838), Billy Kwong (1/28 Macleay St, Elizabeth Bay, 02 9332 3300) and Mr Wong (3 Bridge Ln, Sydney, 02 9240 3000) will be dishing up celebratory New Year specials.