By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jan 20, 2023 at 7:01 PM Photography: Lori Fredrich

It's almost time to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which kicks off Jan. 22. 

The holiday, which is observed by East and Southeast Asian countries including China, Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan and Singapore is also known as Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, Tet Nguyen Dan or Seol-Nal.

It's a holiday which has traditionally marked the end of the coldest part of winter, offering up an opportunity to look forward to warmer months. It's also a time seat aside for making amends, seeking reconciliation and re-establishing old ties. Unsurprisingly, it's also a festival celebrated through family gatherings and the consumption of foods, which are believed to bring good luck in the upcoming year.

According to Chinese tradition, 2023 is predicted to be a year of prosperity, hope and calmness. Unlike 2022, which was a "yang" year (all about action), 2023 is a "yin" year, so it is expected to be more passive. It is the year of the rabbit, which is said to be an ideal year for adopting a more fluid "go with the flow" approach to life and  a good time for strengthening personal relationships.

Whether or not you believe those predictions, the Lunar New Year is a great time to learn more about – and exercise an appreciation for – Asian culture. And here are four (delicious and fun) ways you can do just that.

1.  Plan a special night out

You can celebrate by dining out at any of the area’s Asian restaurants. But here are a number of eateries offering special menus that fit the occasion!

360 E. Erie St., (414) 488-8036
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Dandan will be offering a special menu of themed items meant to bring forth the best new year possible. Specials, which will be available Jan. 20-22 include: Fortune: Duck spring roll with grapefruit sweet and sour sauce; moneybag dumpling with shitaki, sticky rice and cilantro; Longevity: Long-noodle soup, with red seaweed and meatball; Abundance: Salt and pepper fried smelt with green chili and scallion; and Happiness: Kiett mango pudding with white chocolate and basil

Golden Gate Restaurant
1427 E. Racine Ave., Waukesha
Golden Gate will be offering a very special dish of black mushrooms and stir-fried vegetables to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. Guests can customize their dish with a choice of proteins: beef, chicken, shrimp, tofu, or shrimp, chicken and beef.  The dish is available Jan. 20-29. 

Harvey Moy's
N89 W16754 Appleton Ave., Menomonee Falls, (262) 255-3307

Harvey Moy's will be offering special Magical Chef's seven course dinners Sunday Jan. 22 through Feb. 5.  Dinners (available for two or more diners via carry-out or dine-in) include soup, five appetizers, a main course and dessert for $24.95 per person. Reservations are required for dine-in.

207 E. Buffalo St., (414) 271-7788

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Jing's will be offering a number of special dishes to celebrate the year of the rabbit. Offerings include spring rolls; dumplings; Shanghai fried rice; mung bean noodles; fish in fiery sauce (guests can also choose chicken, beef or shrimp in place of chicken); and Napa vegetables. Mung bean noodles and fish in fiery sauce are dine-in only. All specials are available Jan. 20-22.

Momo Mee
110 E. Greenfield Ave., (414) 316-9003

Enjoy a menu of special traditional Chinese dishes from Chef Tony Ho at Momo Mee. Offerings include jiaozi dumpling soup; Clay pot Korean spicy ramen; five spice duck; pineapple gulaorou (a Hong Kong style pork stir fry with a sweet tangy sauce); moo shu pork; and Mongolian beef.  The menu is available Jan. 19 through Feb. 19.

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
1721 W. Canal St., (414) 847-7335 

Enjoy special dishes Jan. 22 through Feb. 5 including pork shumai; volcano chicken; twice cooked pork; ramen and crispy pan-fried noodles. Guests who order from the chef’s special menu will also receive a red envelope containing prizes including Fire Keepers Club rewards to redeem at the casino. 

Looking for some Lunar New Year entertainment? Pair your dinner with a show. On Saturday, Jan. 28 guests can view special Lunar New Year performances from Lion Dancers at 4:30, 5:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. in the Hotel lobby.

2. Indulge in treats

Prosperity cakes
Fa gao (prosperity cakes)

Lucky Bakery & BBQ
11078 W. National Ave.,  West Allis, (414) 329-2688

Lucky Bakery will be offering a variety of special New Year’s cakes including nian gao (sticky rice cakes) and fa gao (prosperity cakes). Pre-ordering is recommended. Of course, you can try any one of their delicious treats, from sweetheart (wife) cakes to sesame balls, lotus paste filled pastries and custard egg tarts. While you’re there, be sure to pick up some of their delicious roast duck, pork belly or honey glazed pork ribs.

3. Eat dumplings for prosperity


According to an ancient legend, the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebration, the more money you’ll make in the coming year. Here are some great spots to get your fill: 

Dumpling Bao House
Inside Tanpopo Ramen & Sushi
5191 S. 108th St., (414) 525-2266 

Choose from chicken, beef, shrimp and pork or vegetable dumplings

Fusion Cafe
1427 S 108th St, West Allis, (414) 257-1199

Try any of their handmade dumplings (including those stuffed with pickled cabbage and pork or egg and chives)

207 E. Buffalo St., (414) 271-7788

Try their steamed dumplings or xiao long bao (soup dumplings)

Momo Mee
110 E. Greenfield Ave., (414) 316-9003

Try their xiao long bao (soup dumplings) or steamed shao mai

Sze Chuan
11102 W National Ave., (414) 885-0856

This is the spot for spicy Szechuan pork dumplings

4. Spring for spring rolls

Spring rollsX

Much like dumplings, spring rolls are said to bring wealth and good fortune. So, eat up! And be sure to order spring rolls; they’re lighter and flakier than egg rolls thanks to their thin rice flour wrappers.

There are many spots to indulge in these delicious fried rolls, but here are a few suggestions.

Emperor of China
1010 E. Brady St., (414) 271-8889

Fortune Chinese Restaurant
2945 S. 108th St., (414) 328-9890

Golden Gate Restaurant
1427 E. Racine Ave., Waukesha

Lucky Liu's
1664 N. Van Buren St., (414) 223-1699

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.