Lunar New Year—this year the Year of the Rabbit—is one of the biggest holidays in the world, and food plays an important part in the celebration.
Many dishes are thought to have a symbolic meaning such as bringing wealth, good luck or long life.
According to Epicurious.com, traditional Lunar New Year foods include longevity noodles, a whole steamed fish for abundance, and sticky rice balls for togetherness.
In that spirit, South Coast Plaza’s restaurants offer diners a variety of special dishes to honor the holiday.
Knife Pleat: Chef Tony Esnault of Knife Pleat, the Business Journal Chef of the Year for 2022, has created a three-course lunch menu honoring Year of the Rabbit that begins Jan. 24 and is available Tuesday-Friday.
The three dishes may be ordered à la carte as well.
A Lunar New Year cocktail has also been created, the Lucky Rabbit, with exotic touches of vodka, Szechwan, ambrosia tea, mandarin, and star anise. Knife Pleat will feature a Lunar New Year afternoon tea on Saturday, Jan. 28.
Specially designed dishes include mini mooncake, black sesame ball with mandarin filling, and chocolate gold coins. Pastry Chef Germain Biotteau’s collection of six signature macarons with Asian-forward flavors such as mandarin, passion fruit, mango and black sesame is available in a decorative box.
Water Grill: Water Grill honors Lunar New Year with an à la carte menu of four symbolic dishes available through Feb. 7 at lunch and dinner.
They include shrimp shumai, garlic noodles with jumbo lump crab, whole crispy black sea bass, and wok-fried local spiny lobster.
Din Tai Fung: For a limited time, red envelopes will be distributed to guests, while supplies last.
No word on if there is money in the envelopes. Expect even longer waits than usual for a table at the always-busy restaurant; check out the extensive Lunar New Year displays throughout the shopping center while waiting.
Paradise Dynasty: Located at Collage Culinary Experience, Paradise Dynasty will offer nine Chef’s Lunar New Year dishes available through Feb. 12.
Stir-fried Boston lobster with XO sauce, poached chicken tossed with black truffle sauce and braised pork shank with dried scallop and spinach are among the creations. Paradise Dynasty will also distribute red envelopes, while supplies last, to guests with dine-in offers to redeem on future visits through April 30.
Quattro Café: Special Lunar New Year dishes will interpret the prized wild abalone in a variety of ways, prepared with Asian flavors. Available for lunch and dinner.
AnQi, Mian, Läderach Chocolatier Suisse, Sugarfina and See’s Candies also have Lunar New Year specials.
Visit southcoastplaza.com/dining for more information on these and other restaurants.