Welcoming the Chinese New Year

While Western celebrations tend to involve lots of noise and partying, the Chinese New Year traditionally focuses on family and food. Ingredients have symbolic meanings, and it’s believed to be very important to eat things that will bring good fortune and harmony in the coming year. Luckily, a few of Victoria’s restaurants in and around Chinatown will be providing special menus to mark the occasion.

Rack of lamb symbolizes peace and harmony

With food that will bring good fortune and harmony

While Western celebrations tend to involve lots of noise and partying, the Chinese New Year traditionally focuses on family and food. Ingredients have symbolic meanings, and it’s believed to be very important to eat things that will bring good fortune and harmony in the coming year. Luckily, a few of Victoria’s restaurants in and around Chinatown will be providing special menus to mark the occasion.

The Pacific Restaurant at the Grand Pacific Hotel is offering a three-course feast between Feb. 3 and 10 that promises to be both delicious and auspicious. Using ingredients such as pomegranates (to bring good fortune and to symbolize a large family), halibut (fish should never be eaten in its entirety, as leaving a bit leftover represents having a surplus of money throughout the coming year), and rack of lamb (to symbolize peace and harmony), executive chef Rick Choy has created a menu that will appeal to the contemporary and traditional alike. For instance, the first course features a pan seared Qualicum Bay scallop served with preserved kumquat, pomegranate syrup, and Lung Ching (green tea) foam, while both the halibut and lamb main course options are served with a sticky rice pavé and seasonal vegetables.

To accompany the evening’s food, tea master Daniela Cubelic of Silk Road has paired rare and exquisite teas to each dish. The first course features Imperial Tea Mandarin, both for its delicate citrus flavour and association with positive male yang energy and prosperity. Similarly, the second course tea choices of Frozen Mountain Peak (goji berries are prominent in this elixir for health, vitality, and immortality) or Waterfall (a semi-green oolong tea ‘overflowing’ with luck, health, and wealth) offer promises of abundance.

The number eight is also symbolic of good luck. In keeping with that theme, the meal is being offered for $38.88 per person, tea pairings are $8.88, and The Pacific’s sommeliers have also made wine pairings available for $28.88. Dinner service is available from 5 pm to 10 pm, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 250-380-4458.

Don Mee Seafood Restaurant, located in the heart of Chinatown, will be also be offering an authentic Chinese menu to welcome the New Year. Available from Jan. 21 until Feb. 20, the eight-course meal will include a number of delicacies and symbolic dishes such as chicken (to ensure a good marriage and family unity) and fish (to help your wishes come true). Price is $19.99 per person, and reservations can be made at 250-383-1032.

Other events to check out:

The annual Lion Dance performance will take place on Sunday, Feb. 6, and will begin beneath the Chinatown Gates at noon. Practiced for thousands of years, the Lion Dance is believed to chase away negative energies, scare off evil spirits, and welcome good fortune. The dance will be performed by the Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club and is sponsored by the Victoria Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

Silk Road is hosting their annual Chinese New Year Tea Party on Feb. 6. Rare teas and fortune cookies will be served at 2 pm and 3 pm, and the whole family is welcome to come over to 1624 Government Street after the Lion Dance for this fun event.

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