The Year of the Tiger arrives on February 1, which means people across the Bay Area will be celebrating the new year in the weeks to come. Though we’re still feeling the impact of the pandemic and it is putting a slight damper on some festivities, this year marks the return of San Francisco’s world-famous Chinese New Year Festival in Chinatown, and many restaurants, bakeries, and bars around the region will roll out special menus to mark the holiday.
Of course, now is as good a time as any to visit the many wonderful restaurants that call San Francisco’s Chinatown home — and bear in mind that in the East Bay, there are also flaky egg tarts and tender dumplings to be found in Oakland’s Chinatown. But if you’re on the hunt for a special night out or an extravagant takeout spread to celebrate Lunar New Year 2022, here are some of the most intriguing offerings from around the Bay Area.
Things to do around San Francisco
Starting on January 22 and running through February 13, the Ferry Building will host a four-week pop-up featuring “some of Chinatown’s most beloved small businesses,” according to the event page. On Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., booths will be set up at the south end of the marketplace and two shop gates will be decked out with decor provided by Chinatown shops specializing in handmade decorations and lanterns.
Over by the bridge, the Crossing at East Cut will host its first annual Lunar New Year Festival and Marketplace on Sunday, January 30, at the former Temporary Transbay Transit Terminal. The free event will feature lion dancers, a marketplace, and food options from restaurants, including Little Green Cyclo, Fang Restaurant, and House of Nanking. Attendees are asked to register online in advance.
And, of course, the famous San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade will make its triumphant return in 2022 after taking a pandemic hiatus in 2021. The much-anticipated parade will be held on February 19, but the festivities including the Flower Market Fair run from January 26 through March 6.
Make reservations at these restaurants
George Chen’s 30,000-square-foot multi-concept destination China Live will celebrate the holiday with dine-in only offerings including red “shui jiao” water seafood dumplings and crispy fried Sichuan whole fish, which will be available for two weeks starting Friday, January 28. Upstairs at Eight Tables by George Chen, look for special additions to the prix fixe menu, while the exclusive Cold Drinks Bar offers two Chinese New Year cocktails. Reservations available online.
Empress by Boon, the gorgeously reinvented Chinatown banquet hall, will offer a special prix fixe menu for Chinese New Year. Available February 1 to Febaruary 15, the $168 per person menu from chef Ho Chee Boon stars crab roe xiao long bao, abalone fat choy, and red bean soup sticky rice among other dishes. Reservations are expected to go fast and are available online.
For a more casual option, a Lunar New Year menu once again returns to E&O Kitchen & Bar, including a Prosperity toss salad with citrus segments, yuba noodles, and wonton strips in a citrus-ginger vinaigrette and long life noodles in Burmese coconut curry.
Feast at home with these delivery options
From January 29 through February 13, you can order gorgeous Year of the Tiger Sets from Yank Sing, which means enjoying a selection of sweet and savory dim sum along with snap peas, BBQ pork, and long life noodles from the comfort of your own home. The sets come in two sizes — a smaller platter for two people ($98) or a larger one that feeds four ($188) — and there’s even an option to add on a bottle of sparkling wine and/or a box of special Lunar New Year kouign amanns from B. Patisserie. Orders open now on Tock. The dim sum destination will also be open regular hours for dine-in at both locations.
Singapore native chef Emily Lim of Dabao Singapore is rolling out a Lunar New Year menu starring chili crab with butter noodles ($73); braised muscovy duck with shiitake, tofu, and yam rice ($68); and salted egg yolk crab with mini fried mantous ($68). The specials are available for pick-up or delivery between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on January 29, February 5, and February 12. View the full menu and place orders online.
Lazy Susan’s four-course Lunar New Year menu makes for a more affordable feast featuring Fly By Jing Chili Crisp potstickers, honey walnut prawns, Dungeness crab garlic noodles, and Truffled Delight (a fancy mushroom-filled riff on Buddha’s Delight). The menu is available January 29 through February 15. Delivery orders can be placed online — and if you can place it ahead of time, even better.
Make it a sweet celebration with these pastries
B. Patisserie dropped its much-anticipated Lunar New Year menu on Instagram and there’s lots to look forward to including black sesame tarts, egg custard tarts, and taro and red bean cakes. The items debut February 1 and run through February 13 with online pre-orders beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, January 26.
For a full-on pastry extravaganza, Sunday Bakeshop’s Lunar New Year Pastry Box might be the ticket. It’s got a springy and glutenous slice of nian gao, a crumbly matcha citrus tart, pineapple Basque cake, a sticky spekkoek-spiced pull apart, and more. Pre-orders are open online now with $5 from every box ($45) going to Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate.
Star pastry chef Melissa Chou’s Grand Opening is combining forces with Lambert Floral Studios to offer a celebration package that includes a floral arrangement and a whole Eight Treasures cake. Place an order for pick up this weekend, January 28 through January 30 online.