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  • Writer's pictureFelicia Wenyun Guo

Spicing up the city: Experience Cultural Cuisine during Lunar New Year

By Jennifer Aline Graham / Felicia Wenyun Guo

The Lunar New Year is the most grandiose celebration recognized by most Asian cultures and is a time devoted to honoring ancestors and deities.

This celebration is taking over New York City in a big way – by attacking and attracting the taste buds.

Tao Downtown

With several locations across the country, Tao encompasses Asian culture in a unique way with an exceptional Buddha sculpture overlooking the venue and the restaurant sitting atop a grandiose staircase. The dining atmosphere is an ideal mixture of both the Asian and American-mainstream culture, creating a playful, and professional dining experience.

The world-renown venue will focus on chili-sesame glazed pork pot-stickers, a dish that cannot be overlooked during the Lunar New Year. These handmade dumplings are pan-fried until ideally crisp, served alongside a sweet and savory sauce. The talented and professional Chef Ken will oversee the dim sum menu at every Tao location and is prepared to please. We also recommend Satay of Chilean Sea bass Spicy Tuna Tartare on Crispy rice.

Tao Downtown:92 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011.(212)888-2727

Tao Uptown: 42 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022. (212) 888-2288

Other city: TAO Las Vegas/ TAO Los Angeles/TAO Chicago

Sup Crab

The team at Sup Crab takes pride in the relaxed, nautical environment they have created, as well as the preparation of their authentic Cajun seafood dishes with a unique Szechuan twist. From the “All Day Happy Hour” to the incredible seafood boils, it’s a dining experience their patrons won’t soon forget.

Known for their distinct seafood boils, customers will be excited to try a variety of flavors spices, and heat levels – depending on their preference. Some of the boil flavors offered are Spicy Cajun, Flaming Ghost Street, Chili Oil Braise, and the 13 Herbal Spice Sauce. Their seafood plates such as Sup King Crab steamed with garlic butter and Crawfish Meat Over Noodles, embody their original Szechuan taste to accompany the coastal seafood boil.

Chinatown: 97 Bowery St, New York, NY 10002. (212) 925-8083

China River

The environment, aroma, and vast flavors at China River will transport the customer to Szechuan on a vacation smack in the well-loved Theater District.

China River hopes the atmosphere not only brings forth a relaxed, cultural vibe, but so does the assortment of choices on their menu. From tea-smoked duck and Chongqing spicy chicken to sliced beef with black pepper, customers will be able to taste and appreciate the work and preparation that goes into each and every dish.

The tea-smoked duck is a signature dish that needs two-to-three days to prepare. The duck must be marinated in tea and soy sauce and then dried, steamed, and fried. Originated from Szechuan region, the tea-smoked duck is a historic menu item.

It is also recommended to challenge the Szechuan Flavor Fish fillet with roasted chili – a culinary creation immersed with many unique types of peppers. China River provides private party areas on the second and third floor, which are great for corporate meetings, family gatherings, and birthday celebrations.


258 W. 44th St. New York, NY 10036. (646) 767-0854

Shanghai You Garden

With 40 years of experience, the top Dim Sum Chef beings an authentic taste to You Garden dating back to the 100-year-old original recipe. Well known for their Xiao Long Bao, or soup dumplings, you are sure to fill up with the flavors of old Shanghai.

The soup-filled bun is a popular delicacy originating from the city of Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province, China with more than 100 years of history. The wrapper of the bun is rolled out carefully to ensure that it is thin yet supple, and is filled to the brim with loads of crab meat and pork. The bun is steamed to perfection teeming with flavorful soup waiting to be enjoyed. This treat is meant to be slurped using a straw.

You Garden located in the “always hustling and bustling” downtown Flushing, opens from 8 am till midnight.


Flushing: 135-33 40th Road , Flushing, NY 11355. (718) 886-2286

Bayside: 41-07 Bell Boulevard, Bayside, NY 11361. (718) 229-3388

Cajun Bucket

“With over twenty-five years of experience in culinary arts and a background that consists of Jean Georges and Buddha Bar, Chef Ko devotes his heart in preparing the Cajun and Creole cuisine.” Chef Ko prides himself in his unique ability to blend Creole and Cajun spices into his dishes by using a mix of French preparation techniques and specialty seafood spices.

Whether it be a sampler and seafood basket or a char-grilled salmon and a plate from the raw bar, visitors are sure to be pleased with both the cuisine and atmosphere. We also recommend the special seafood boil sauce is mixture of creamy garlic butter sauce with original Cajun sauce along with special spice mix. Cajun Bucket is a chain-brand located in Long Island under the well-known Fushimi Group. The modern, spacious venue is ideal for parties and events - giving off an energetic vibe perfect for gatherings.

West Hempstead: 472 Hempstead Turnpike, West Hempstead, NY 11552. (518) 990-3099

Oceanside: 2757 Long Beach Rd. Oceanside, NY 11572. (516) 806-2188

Carle Place: 373 Old Country Rd. Carle Place, NY 11514. Coming soon.

Sichuan Hot Pot Cuisine

Focusing on traditional and authentic cuisine, Sichuan Hot Pot is a stop on the Lunar New Year line-up that can’t be overlooked. The use of the six-piece, copper hot pot makes the cuisine not only unique, but cleaner and more naturally flavored.

Sichuan Hot Pot prides itself on the many soup bases available: original, spicy, tomato, spicy peppers, special recipes lamb bones, Hairy Mountain fig chicken, stay beef, herbs, mushrooms, and veggie. “Hot pepper, an important flavoring in Sichuan cuisine, was introduced into China only 200 to 300 years ago,” proving the genuine preparation that goes into the creation of these soup bases. All the soup bases are made in-house and take hours to prepare – making sure no additives are infused into the bases.

Main-course selections for hot pots include beer chicken pot, fresh lamb pot, Szechuan grilled fish pot, and house special spicy lamb chop pot.

Chinatown: 34 Pell St. New York, NY 10013. (212) 267-8886

Flushing: 136-20 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354. (718) 888-7794

Tipsy Shanghai

Tipsy Shanghai’s cuisine was inspired from a “100-year legacy originated from Wuxi, China in 1905.”

The restaurant’s interior replicates a traditional, Chinese setting with original photography from the initial Shen Yu meat shop. Since bringing house recipes to New York four generations before, the original recipes carry on through the variety of menu items.

If the customer prefers classic cuisine, the Wuxi pork ribs are necessary to taste. Being the restaurant takes pride in their longtime legacy, the Wuxi pork ribs are a dish customers cannot leave without trying. Each and every dish is created with precise preparation and specific ingredients; Wuxi ribs are so tender that the meat is almost melting off from the bone.

Other traditional dishes are Dongpo pork, steamed pork rib soup with radish, and stewed sliced fish in wine sauce. Some of those specialty dishes include shredded bamboo shoots, sweet-scented osmathus taro, and Youzhu winter bamboo shoots.

Greenwich Village: 228 Thompson St. New York, NY 10012. (212) 763-0877

Penn Station: 342 7th Ave, New York, NY 10001. (212) 660-9666

Prince Tea House

Delectable desserts and an artistic assortment of tea. Prince Tea House is an exquisite space that will truly open the eyes of the customer to a new world of tastes and flavor. The restaurant atmosphere will immediately draw you through the door, leading you to try the signature rose milk tea or discover different flavors of mille crepes cakes.

The variety of desserts at Prince Tea house is tremendous, with flavors such as the Green Tea, caramel, mix fruit and seasonal flavor, Mille Crepes Cake is a must try super star. Other popular choices also include Coconut Panna Cotta, Tofu Cheesecake and Purple Yam Soufflé, Desserts are house made and served daily to keep the freshness. Drinks are made with premium loose tea base such as: white tea, oolong tea, black tea and fruit tea.

36-39 Prince St, Flushing, NY 11354. (917) 285-2523

6122 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220. (929) 337-7150

8510 21st Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11214. (718) 975-5077

31-47 Steinway St, Long Island City, NY 11103. (929) 208-0072

134 Bowery St, New York, NY 10013. (646) 892-3160

203 N 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107. (215) 351-0888

Coming soon:

15-17 Station Square Forest Hill, NY 11375

204 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003

Kingston Mall 4437, NJ-27, #6 Princeton, NJ 08540

Jisu Vegetarian Restaurant

The origin of the name “Jisu” comes from “Ji,” a Chan Buddhist monk during Song Dynasty. He was known to possess supernatural powers to help the poor and stand up to injustice. Jisu Vegetarian Restaurant carries on this philosophy, incorporating the idea of balance, filial piet, virtue, and wisdom into their menu items by making their meals nutritionally sound.

The Seven Grains Rice Series is a culinary specialty at Jisu. It contains Nishiki brown rice, quinoa, brown sweet rice, black rice, red rice, millet, buckwheat groats to be the base, and you can pick different protein and vegetables. Another specialty are the homemade herbal regimen soups that boost the immune system, a necessity during Lunar Week’s chilly weather. The soup focuses on improving immunity and contains eighteen vegetables, fruits and herbs, such as ginseng, red ginger, Codonopsis pilosula, goji berry, Longan Fruit meat, dates, and homemade brown sugar.

The Vegan Special Hotpot is a recommended dish for bigger parties during the colder season including ingredients such as Taro, hericuim, Shii-take, Yuba, Black Fungus, Corn, and green pepper.

125 Canal St, New York, NY 10002. (212) 470-1064


Lunar Week could not be complete without a creative and culturally relevant way of bringing the community together. LunarNYC is a non-profit organization in the heart of New York City providing activities and programs for youth and young adults in the Asian community.

The ongoing mission of LunarNYC is to promote “diversity, love, unity, peace, and prosperity through leadership programs.” They hope to empower those in the Asian community, as well as others, to embrace their culture and reach out to others. The second annual tournament will be focused on doing just that.

LunarNYC's Asian Heritage Basketball Tournament

Basketball City 299 South St. Pier 36, New York, NY 10002

April 11th – April 12th. Entry deadline: March 17th, 2020

LunarNYC's Second Annual Asian Heritage Basketball Tournament

• Elite Division - $800 Entry, $10,000 Grand Prize

• Friendship Division - $600 Entry, $6,000 Grand Prize

• Recreational Division - $400 Entry, $2,500 Grand Prize

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