The best places to celebrate Chinese New Year in London
By Alexandra Davis
Today marks the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, and this year it’s the Year of the Monkey. Celebrations are underway around the world, and festivities in London are set to be the biggest in the world, outside of Asia. As China’s biggest and most ceremonious holiday, thousands are set to head to London’s China Town to celebrate during the week and over the weekend. Whilst across London, the Magical Lantern Festival made its UK debut in Chiswick House Gardens on Wednesday 3rd February but the display, which includes a 66-metre long dragon, will run until the 6th of March.
Personality of the monkey
This year, the monkey marks the ninth animal in the zodiac cycle, and alongside the monkey there is also five vital elements: Gold, Water, Wood, Fire or Earth and this year it’s fire. People born in the year of the monkey are generally characterised as being smart, intelligent, quick-witted and versatile. But it is also believed to be one of the most unlucky years in the Chinese calendar. Their gentleness and honesty is said to bring those with the zodiac sign an everlasting love life but their impetuous temper and tendency to look down upon others make up some of their shortcomings.
Lucky numbers – 1, 8, 7
Lucky colours – White, gold, blue
Love matches – Ox, Rabbit
Things to do in the local area
1 . Rich Mix in Shoreditch
Kick start your Chinese New Year celebrations with a cultural day out at Rich Mix. Enjoy a range of free activities throughout the day organised by the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets. Arts and crafts workshops, charity stalls and performances will start from 12pm on Saturday 13th February.
2 . HKK Restaurant in Moorgate
Michelin-starred restaurant, HKK, is one of the best spots in London for Chinese fine dining and this year the restaurant is serving a special Chinese New Year menu in honour of the lunar year. The menu includes a special dish of two soups and Prosperity Salad, with crispy salmon skin and plum sauce, dry oyster rolls with black moss and barbecue pork belly. The meal will end with a Tray of Togetherness, which is a selection of eight petit fours, as eight is considered the most auspicious number in China. The menu will cost £88 per person and is running until the 20th February.
3 . Chinese Laundry Room in Islington
Opened just last year, this new restaurant employs traditional Chinese catering methods to create lesser-known dishes with exotic ingredients from mainland China. The new restaurant produces an affordable menu celebrating the start of the Chinese New Year, with dishes inspired by 1980s Chinese home life. Find out more at their website http://chineselaundryroom.co.uk/