February 12, 2021 marks the arrival of the new moon and the Year of the Ox. Lunar New Year is typically celebrated in countries who honour the lunar calendar including China, Vietnam, North Korea, South Korea, Indonesia, and many more. Different countries may have their own unique customs and traditions, however food that symbolizes prosperity, health, and luck is a consistent characteristic of Lunar New Year festivities across the board.
In Alberta, many independent food and drink busiesses are featuring dishes and treats to celebrate the new year. Here are a few to check out.
Chocorrant Patisserie and Café (Edmonton)
Lunar New Year features at Chocorrant Patisserie and Café include creaetive salted egg yolk gift boxes and cream puff boxes. Salted egg yolk treats have been popularized over the past few years and those who love the flavour will delight in receiving a box of umami rich sweet croissants. The Lunar New Year Cream Puff Box includes nine cream puffs in two flavours: honey mandarin and brown sugar milk tea with toasted sesame.
Nongbu Korean Eatery (Edmonton)
On New Year’s Day, Korean households enjoy ddukguk, a light beef broth with rice cakes then adorned with aromatic toppings. The rice cakes symbolize gold coins to bring good fortune. On February 11 and 12, Nongbu Korean Eatery is offering ddukguk kits which come with broth, rice cakes, beef, all the essential toppings, and banchan or Korean side dishes.
Yelo’d Ice Cream and Bake Shoppe (Edmonton)
The milky strawberry flavour of the red envelope shaped Lucky Candy is familiar to many of Chinese descent and myself included.
Yelo’d Ice Cream and Bake Shoppe is swirling this distinct flavour for the next couple of weeks. Also available for your ice cream are their in-house made fortune cookies for extra luck~
JINBAR is featuring a three course Lunar New Year feast on February 11 and 12. The delectable menu includes Ahi tuna, papaya slaw, and a Korean-style whole fried chicken served with Chinese crepes. For dessert, customers will get JINBAR’s signature condensed milk soft serve with brown sugar tapioca pearls.
Pick up a special dessert box from Kan.U.Cake to celebrate Lunar New Year this week. The bakery has created five unique desserts including a pear tart, mixed fruit tart, passion fruit crème brulee tart and tiramisu. Pre-order on their website for pick-up on February 11-12.
Lotus Deli (Calgary)
Lotus Deli is sharing their own family new year customs with customers, which are a blend of Chinese and Vietnamese food traditions. A number of dishes are available for takeout including new year cakes, pastries, and a Vietnamese style pork hock platter.
By pre-order only, Lotus Deli is also featuring the traditional Banh Tet, sticky rice stuffed with mung bean wrapped in banana leaves.
Pure Modern Asian Kitchen (Calgary)
Chef Lam Pham has made it a tradition to offer a feature to celebrate Tết, Vietnamese New Year. This year, Pure Modern Asian Kitchen guests can order the traditional savoury and sweet dish Thit Kho. Luscious pieces of pork belly are caramelized and braised in young coconut with hard boiled eggs.
Eat this comforting and flavourful dish with rice.
Roy’s Korean Kitchen (Calgary)
Taste of Asia Restaurants (Calgary)
Chinese New Year is often celebrated with large family feasts with multi-course dinners. “Poon Choi” has also become a popular Chinese New Year dish as this large pot is layered with lavish ingredients to signify abundance and prosperity for the new year.
While safety restrictions from COVID-19 may hinder the number of people at gatherings, the restaurant group Taste of Asia has set menus and Abalone Poon Choi available for home celebrations of all sizes. They also have new year cakes available for sale at all of their locations.