By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jan 28, 2022 at 11:01 AM Photography: Lori Fredrich

It's almost time to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which kicks off Feb. 1. 

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, 2022 is predicted to be a year of rapid change. It is the year of the water tiger, and is said to be a year made for risk taking and adventure, but also for setting aside ego, practicing generosity and working for social change.

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 (or grabbing take-out) at any number of the area’s Asian restaurants, here are a number of restaurants offering special menus that fit the occasion!

Jing's
207 E. Buffalo St., (414) 271-7788
Jingsmilwaukee.com

At Jing’s, they will be offering a number of specials for the holiday beginning on Saturday, Jan. 29. Offerings include salt and pepper fish; hot chili chicken; shrimp with garlic sauce; Chinese cabbage with shredded pork or chicken; rice noodles with a choice of beef, chicken or shrimp and a very special preparation of eggplant. 

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

Enjoy a menu of special traditional Chinese dishes from Chef Tony Ho at Momo Mee. Offerings include jiaozi dumpling soup; Beijing spicy noodles with chicken, tofu, chashu pork, vegetables beef or shrimp; Char siu bbq roast pork with savory sweet sauce, bok choy and jasmine rice; pineapple gulaorou (a traditional Hong Kong stir fry with pork, peppers and pineapple); and five spice crispy duck with jasmine rice.  The menu is available Jan. 28 through Feb. 20.

Phobruary 
During the month of February, you can get special pricing on bowls of pho at select restaurants in the Silver City neighborhood [more details here].

RuYi
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
1721 W. Canal St., (414) 847-7335
paysbig.com/dining/ruyi 

Enjoy special dishes Feb. 1-13 including Tiger Chicken, Peking pork spare ribs and the “Money Bags” appetizer featuring shrimp wontons. 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, Feb. 5 guests can view special Lunar New Year performances from Lion Dancers at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.

On Feb. 6, grab dinner at RuYi and then head to the Northern Lights Theater for the Lunar New Year Variety Show featuring performances by Lynda Trang Dai Performances take place on Sunday, Feb. 6 at 3 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $50-$60 and can be purchased online.

2. Indulge in treats

Prosperity cakes
Fa gao (prosperity cakes)
X

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

Lucky Bakery will be offering a variety of special New Year’s cakes including nian gao (sticky rice cakes) and fa gao (prosperity cakes). 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

DumplingsX

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
dumplingbaohouse.com 

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

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

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

Jing's
207 E. Buffalo St., (414) 271-7788
Jingsmilwaukee.com

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

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

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

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

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
emperorofchinarestaurant.com

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

Golden Gate Restaurant
1427 E. Racine Ave., Waukesha
goldengaterestaurant.com

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

 

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.