The Lunar New Year is upon is, and as the Year of the Water Tiger it’s sure to bring much ferocity, courage and strength. Here are 5 fun ways to celebrate the New Year in Melbourne.
1) Take in a Lion Dance Show and Dumplings at Oriental Teahouse — 2nd February (Lt. Collins Street), and 4th February (Chapel Street)
Every year you are basically guaranteed a top notch Lunar New Year experience at Oriental Teahouse. Renowned for their carefully curated collection of teas and mouth-watering dumplings, Oriental Teahouse also pulls out all the stops for the Chinese New Year to ensure that their patrons have an incredible experience.
Book in for the Chinese New Year Banquet on the 2nd of February at Little Collins Street, featuring authentic dumplings, noodles and Chinese dishes, and stay for the Lion Dance at 7.15pm for an ear-deafening auspicious performance.
Otherwise, if you prefer to pick and choose a few smaller dishes, book in at Chapel Street on the 4th of February. There are 3 sessions available across the evening, with a Lion Dance performance at 7.30pm. (They recommend booking the 6.30pm session to witness this spectacle). Oriental Teahouse is also great for vegan and vegetarian options, so this is a great option if you have a variety of dietary requirements.
2) Box Hill Chinese Festival — 5th February, 10am-10pm postponed
As the pre-eminent Chinese precinct in Melbourne, the City of Whitehorse Box Hill Chinese Festival is an annual opportunity for residents to connect with the longstanding tradition. Accented by live performances, including traditional Lion Dance.
The Lion Dance is a true spectacle, and a privilege to be a part of — my own Mother partook in the Dance at the festival when she was a girl. Symbolising prosperity and good luck, the Lion Dance always creates a pervasive air of happiness at any Lunar Celebration. Unfortunately, the physical festival has been postponed due to the current Covid-19 situation, but the Asian Business Association of Whitehorse is working hard to reschedule the festivities at a time that will be safe for all participants.
3) Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Chinese New Year Performance — 5th February, 7.30pm
Featuring a blend of classic operatic overtures, and traditional Chinese masterpieces, the annual MSO Chinese New Year Performance is a true amalgamation of the cultural influences that make Australia so unique. Headlined by some of the top Australian-Chinese musical figures, this is a performance for novices and those well-versed in music.
4) Dragon Boat Festival, Victoria Harbour — 20th February, 9am-4pm
This annual festival is more than simply a boat race, it is steeped in cultural traditions dating back centuries. The idea behind this traditionally Southern Chinese festival is to awaken the dragon, so that it may protect people from death and disease going forth into the New Year, while also guaranteeing prosperity. The race itself features ornate dragon-styled boats powered down the Yarra by squadrons of all ages and sexes — a true spectacle of immense proportions. Additionally, the race is accompanied by food trucks, performances and a traditional Lion Dance, making this a full day out to enjoy with family or friends.
5) Indulge in some of Melbourne’s best dumplings at home — Providoor, 11th & 12th of February only
Price: $139To celebrate the Lunar New Year, boujee food delivery service Providoor has teamed up with some of Melbourne best restaurants to create the ultimate dumpling box experience. The box includes:
Chilli Pork Dumplings from David’s (8 pieces)
Mixed Steam Dumplings from Oriental Teahouse (8 pieces)
Pan Fried Pork & Chive Dumplings from Oriental Teahouse (8 pieces)
Tiger Prawn and Spinach Crystal Skim Dumplings from Lucy Liu (6 pieces)
DIY Pork Belly Bao from Tokyo Tina (4 pieces)
White Chocolate Dumplings with Coconut Praline from Oriental Teahouse (4 pieces)
However, if you want more flexibility in your options Providoor also provides an excellent array of Melbourne’s top Asian restaurants. Supernormal has Lunar New Year Banquets available in a variety of sizes for a variety of budgets, and Oriental Teahouse is also offering a premium dumpling platter from February 4th onwards. Also available from February 4th is David’s new Yum Cha Banquet, featuring a delicious array of savoury dumplings, dessert dumplings, Chinese broccoli, fried rice and pancakes. If you’re after a vego option, there’s also the Vegan Banquet from Hanoi Hannah for 2 people at just $110.
Notably, Providoor is also available in Sydney. Lunar New Year festivities also take place in most other major regional and urban centres around Australia.