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bryonyjien
13th February 2024

A foodie’s guide to celebrating Chinese New Year in Manchester

2024, the Year of the Dragon – here are all of our recommendations for where to celebrate in style in Manchester
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A foodie’s guide to celebrating Chinese New Year in Manchester
Credit: Nam Lee @Pexels

With Lunar New Year – the year of the Dragon – upon us, we’ve rounded up the best places around Manchester to grab an authentic Chinese bite. From high-end artisan kitchens to classic street eats, the city boasts an array of cuisines to suit all tastes.

But first, you might be wondering: What is it we’re actually celebrating? Chinese New Year is an annual festival that Chinese communities around the world celebrate to welcome the New Year on the lunisolar calendar. People celebrate by exchanging red envelopes called ‘hóngbāo’, attending lantern festivals, parades, dragon dancing performances and, of course, devouring mountains of delicious dishes.

The origins of the holiday stem from various legends, such as the tale of an evil spirit named Nian (‘year’), who attacked villagers at the beginning of each new year. The villagers responded by using fireworks, red clothes, and decorations to scare away the beast, which are all now symbolic of ushering out the old year and bringing luck and prosperity to the new one.

While there might not be any monsters roaming down Piccadilly Gardens, there is no reason why a Mancunian can’t also indulge in the celebrations. Here are a few of my recommendations for a taste of China in Manchester:

One Plus

One Plus offers unique dining experiences across three floors, each serving different foods, including a rice and noodle bar, a Chinese BBQ/seafood restaurant, and a Chinese hotpot where you cook the meal yourself in an individual broth with food delivered from a sushi-style conveyor belt. With so many flavours under one roof, you’re sure to find something for everyone.

Happy Seasons

If you’re looking to get a bang for your buck, Happy Seasons is the place to go. They offer large portions from an even larger menu. They’ve got everything from dim sum to seafood and specialise in Hong Kong-style roast meats such as roast duck, char siu, and crispy pork belly. If you want to really get into the spirit of Chinese New Year, eating fish is said to increase prosperity and luck in the coming year.

Tattu

For those feeling fancy (or those who have somehow coerced their parents into taking them out for dinner), Tattu has curated a creative menu of Chinese-inspired dishes, cocktails, and teas to be enjoyed under the setting of a pink blossom tree. They offer traditional food alongside reinvented classics, such as chicken truffle shumai, and have even redecorated the space with lanterns for Chinese New Year.

Wong Wong Bakery

Lastly, you can’t forget about dessert! This family-run spot is one of my favourites, with its assortment of freshly baked buns, pastries, and cakes. I would definitely recommend the coconut cream bun and red bean bun for that authentic sweet, soft, and fluffy taste. Remember to have cash on hand, as they don’t take card.

However, we understand that, on a student’s budget, eating out isn’t always possible. But there’s no need to miss out when you can try your hand at whipping up a few Chinese-style dishes and have your own DIY Lunar New Year meal. If you are looking for some inspiration, here are a couple of easy dishes to have a go at:

Pork and Chinese leaf dumplings

Bryony Jien @The Mancunion

Teriyaki Salmon

Bryony Jien @The Mancunion

Chicken Ramen

Credit: Bryony Jien @The Mancunion

Fried Shrimp Noodles

Credit: Byrony Jien @The Mancunion

Crispy Chilli Beef

Credit: Bryony Jien @The Mancunion

If you’re feeling a little far from home or just want to join in on the Chinese New Year celebrations, plenty is going on in Manchester to get you involved. Expect to see red lanterns, martial arts performances, stalls, a funfair, and a dragon parade dancing through the streets of Chinatown. Everyone is welcome to take part and say goodbye to the old while welcoming in the new and good…and don’t forget to wish your friends and family ‘Xīnnián kuàilè’ (新年快乐/ New Year happiness!).


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