Chinese New Year falls on Sunday February 10th this year. As we Londoners have clawed our way through Dry January, what better way to celebrate than to drink a toast to the start of Spring. Chinese traditions around this time include a family reunion meal beneath a sky alight with fireworks and a big spring clean. Homes across Asia will be adorned with red and gold messages of luck and good will for the coming year. Most importantly there will be food.
It is the Year of the Snake, characterised as being wise and forward thinking. In keeping with this, why not plan to mark the occasion yourself? Below is a list of a few Chinese restaurants in London for your inspiration.
Best for Take-away:
Good Earth (www.goodearthgroup.co.uk)
With locations across the Capital, the Good Earth is renowned for it's top quality cuisine, built on a reputation spanning over 25 years. Alongside staples like prawn toast and peking duck (setting you back £19.00 for half), Good Earth offers Monk fish with Black beans (£11.90), and the scarily hot Shanghai Chilli Chicken (£7.90). Great grub to impress if you are staying in with a loved one on Valentine's Day.
Best for Blow out:
This Mayfair institution needs no introduction. Less classic egg fried rice, more haute cuisine, Hakkasan is for true connoisseurs with a bank balance to match their passion. For Chinese New Year, they are serving a special menu, including Szechuan style 'Yu Sheng' salad of wild seabass with pomelo, vermicelli and peanuts. Finish the evening with dessert of Tong sui (a warm custard), Gui ling gao (a dark coloured jelly which in ancient China was historically made using ground turtle shell) and water chestnut cake.
Best for Budget:
Mama Lan (www.mamalan.co.uk)
Ning Ma set up shop in Brixton market, serving dumplings and street food inspired by Beijing cuisine. Ning Ma named the place after her mother, whose recipes helped to turn her successful supper club fare into a restaurant of her own. Pork and chinese leaf dumplings are a mere £4.50 a portion. The refurbished market has been the subject of controversy in the press recently, with stall holders who have been there for decades suddenly finding themselves over run with trendy pop ups. Why not go make your mind up for yourself. If you are looking for a quick, cheap bite to eat, this is it.
I've not included any restaurants in China Town itself here as traditionally, I've found the quality and price to be questionable. There's no doubt though that this will be the place best for it's wonderful New Years Parade which starts in Trafalgar Square and finishes in China Town itself. (www.chinatownlondon.org/page/chinese-new-year-2013/378)
Happy New Year!