Where to celebrate Chinese New Year in South Africa

Posted by Rachel Robinson on 5 February 2013

Chinese New Year starts on Sunday, 10 February 2013 and if you were in China, you’d have a full-on party for ten days with street parades, firecrackers (of course) and dragons, along with loads of eating and drinking and general merry-making. But don’t despair if you are in South Africa instead. Put some chopsticks in your hair and join the party at one of these venues.

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Cape Town

Chinese New Year Summer Garden Party
Vineyard Hotel, Newlands
Sunday, 10 February

A red ticket (R295) gets you a bowl, chopsticks, a wine glass and a welcome Bisquit Cognac cocktail. Enjoy a traditional Chinese eight-course tasting menu, prepared by Haiku, South China Dim Sum Bar and the Vineyard in the lush hotel gardens. There’ll also be entertainment, musicians and perhaps even a festival dragon. Pair and taste the food together with wines from Anthonij Rupert, Durbanville Hills, KWV, Leopard’s Leap, Nederburg, Plaisir de Merle, Vrede en Lust and Warwick.

A gold ticket (R595) has you in the VIP garden overlooking the Liesbeck River and being served fine Chinese fare while being attended to by a sommelier service, who will offer imported wines in addition to the ones mentioned above.

Finish off the evening with a glass of Bisquit Cognac and a fat cigar.

Celebrations start at 16h00 and concludes at 20h00. Book your tickets online at www.quicket.co.za. Tel 021-657-4100.

Chinese New Year Party
Cape Town Club
Friday, 8 February

You don’t need any reason for a party at the Cape Town Club, but join them to celebrate the Chinese New Year on Friday from 19h00. There’ll be Chinese street food served upstairs in the Rhodes Bar & Lounge while DJ Clive plays music to get the party started. R200 per person, which includes entertainment and food during the evening.

Book directly with the club by emailing [email protected] or tel 021-424-5586.

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Johannesburg

Sun City
Sunday and Monday, 10 and 11 February

For two days the entire complex of Sun City will celebrating the Year of the Snake with a sea of red and gold and all things oriental.  There’ll be Chinese lanterns and spectacular fireworks displays along with with traditional lion dancers snaking their way through the crowd. Tel 014-557-1103.

If you can’t make the party (or find one), why not get a group of friends together and have your own at one of these Chinese restaurants.

Chinese restaurants in Cape Town

Beijing Restaurant
Oxford Street, Durbanville

Step through this eatery’s  old Victorian facade and you’ll feel like you are in a warm and welcoming Chinese home from the minute you step through the door. Your host (who is also the chef) will go out of her way to ensure you have a pleasant evening. Try the Cherry Chicken or order the set menu where they bring you between 8 and 12 different dishes to share at the table. Tel 021-975-1024.

Jewel Tavern
Kloof Street, Gardens

While it may lack in ambiance (according to some), the Jewel Tavern is well-known for its delicious and authentic fare. The dim-sum is probably the best in the city and their shredded pork with garlic and chili or chicken in black bean sauce are worth trying too. They also have a popular take-away section, called Monk’s, who serve the same food at a fraction of the price and deliver within the city bowl. Tel 021-422-4041 / Monk’s 021-424-9162.

Mr Chan
Main Road, Sea Point

You’ll find plenty of Asian locals and tourists alike at this eatery, which is a good reflection of the authenticity of their dishes. The whole crispy duck served with pancakes comes out tops here. Best to book in advance as it fills up quickly, especially on weekends. Tel 021-439-2239.

Tai Ping Restaurant and Take-aways
Dean Street, Newlands

A direct translation of this restaurant’s name is “Peace and tranquility”, which is exactly what this eatery offers – a relaxed and calming atmosphere, complete with light Chinese music. The food is delicious too, with favourites being the honey and garlic ribs and Fong Li Pork. Tel 021-686-6312.

Chinese restaurants in Durban

China Plate
Brownsdrift Road, Umgeni Riverside Park

A casual, friendly eatery with indoor and outdoor seating. Sit under bobbing Chinese lanterns and tuck into salty duck, brinjal casserole, or the barbeque pork belly served on steaming, garlicky bok choi. Finish off your feast with fried ice-cream! Tel 031-564-6437.

The Mayflower
Musgrave Road, Musgrave

Run by a charming husband and wife team, this little hole in the wall is known amongst the locals for it’s authentic Chinese dishes. Those in the know love the dumplings, fried calamari, crispy duck and the steamed fish. They also have traditional Cantonese deep-fried milk if you fancy experiencing a different taste of milk. Tel 031-201-5433.

Heritage Market, Hillcrest

A cosy restaurant perched on the top of the Hillcrest Heritage Market. Ma-Po’s Bean Curd with hot sauce, or the steamed dumplings come highly recommended. If you have a good appetite, this is the place to go – apparently their portions are huge. Tel 031-765-5114

Chinese restaurants in Johannesburg

Lucky Moo
Rivonia Village Shopping Centre (and various other outlets)

The Lucky Moo may be a franchise, but they serve great tasting fusion food that is fun and vibrant. The open-plan kitchen allows you to see the meals being prepared and your dinner comes served in a cute little wok box. Tel 011-027-7570 or 011-234-7358.

The Good Luck Club
Corlett Drive, Illovo

If you like cats (not to eat!), you’ll love the wallpaper at this restaurant – hundreds of little felines in bow-ties will watch you gobble down your noodles in this fairly new and hip eatery. Aside from the funky wallpaper and minimalist décor, the food is delicious and you have to try the Banana and Nutella Spring Rolls with chocolate dipping sauce! Craft beers are also served. Tel 011-447-3816.

The Red Chamber
Jan Smuts Avenue, Hyde Park

The owner of this well-loved red and gold restaurant is known for her speciality nights, so it’s advised make a booking for the Chinese New Year. Mandarin meals are on the menu , with the Peking duck, spicy pork mince and the kingklip being firm favourites. Keep an eye out for the life-sized terracotta warrior. Tel 011-325-6048.

Zen Garden
Rivonia Junction

Offering a variety of traditional Chinese dishes from fried rice and noodles to delicious dim sum, this restaurant will make you feel as if you are sitting right in the middle of China. The brunch dim sum menu comes highly recommended as does their chicken-in-nest dish. Tel 011-807-0888.

Year of the Snake

According to Chinese Astrology, this year is the Year of the Snake. The sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, the snake represents wisdom, intelligence and self-control. The snake also represents the ability to strike at will, quickly and powerfully. It has been said that The Year of the Snake holds some big challenges, but it also brings some of the best opportunities we’ve seen in a long, long time.

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