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The Best Things To Do For Lunar New Year In Sydney

By Hugo Mathers

Lunar New Year Sydney 2024 Year Of The Dragon

A second chance to celebrate a fresh start, Sydney celebrates Lunar New Year with epic banquets, luminous lanterns and cultural performances galore.

In the Chinese calendar, we're moving into the Year of the Dragon, and there are plenty of buns and dumplings, prosperity toss salads and extra-long noodles to chow down on this Lunar New Year, as well as cultural experiences like lion dances, tea ceremonies, contemporary art exhibitions, and markets.

Here are the best menus and food specials, and celebrations and events in Sydney for Lunar New Year 2024.

Lunar New Year Celebrations And Events

The Chinese Garden Of Friendship

Pier Street and Harbour Street, Darling Harbour | Saturday 10–Wednesday 28 February


Image credit: Darling Harbour | Supplied

The Chinese Garden of Friendship will kick off its Lunar New Year festivities on 10 February with a Twilight Garden Party where jazz tunes will accompany a master calligrapher.

Events and activities running through to 28 February include one-on-one Chinese zodiac readings with Feng Shui master Mina Zheng, a free immersive tea art exhibition running throughout the month with tea workshops on 10 and 17 February, and creative kids workshops including dragon puppet making and lantern decorating.

Parramatta

Parramatta Square and surrounds | Saturday 10 February

lunar new year parramatta 2024
Image credit: City of Parramatta | Supplied

The streets of Parramatta will be alive with art installations, live performances, cultural workshops and street food to celebrate Lunar New Year. With Parramatta Square aglow with lanterns, a giant interactive dragon installation and a roving (and dancing) dragon and lion, street food stalls will offer everything from traditional dragon's beard candy and mochi donuts to gourmet crepes and BBQ skewers.

The Happy Dragon Bar will serve up drinks including the Lunar New Year-themed Dragon Sling, and you can get involved in Chinese calligraphy, flower painting, ink stamping, stamp carving and amulet card making. 

Sydney Lunar Streets

Dixon Street, Haymarket and surrounds | Saturday 10 February, 5pm–10pm

lunar new year sydney 2024 haymarketImage credit: Visit Haymarket | Katherine Griffiths

There’s nowhere better to spend the Lunar New Year than Chinatown. The curtain raiser for Sydney Lunar Festival 2024 is the Sydney Lunar Streets party, where there will be 25 market stalls offering Asian dishes on Sussex Street and Thomas Street, food trucks on Harbour Street and Little Hay Street, and a packed entertainment schedule that includes a 20-metre Chinese dragon, K-pop troupes, and live DJs.

Sydney Fish Market

Corner Pyrmont Bridge Road and Bank St, Pyrmont | Saturday 10 February


Image credit: Sydney Fish Market | Supplied

With seafood playing a significant role in traditional Lunar New Year celebrations, there’s no better time to swing by the Sydney Fish Market, which is decked out in red lanterns to mark the occasion.

Lion dancers will be performing between 10.30am and 12pm on Saturday 10 February and the market is open all weekend so you can pick up seafood to prep your own prosperity toss salad at home, or grab a festive feed from the retailers on site.

Darling Harbour And Darling Square

Tumbalong Boulevard, Haymarket and Darling Harbour | Saturday 10–Sunday 25 February

dragon boat festival lunar new year darling harbour 2024
Image credit: Darling Harbour | Supplied

Darling Harbour’s bringing in the Year of the Dragon with a bunch of events on water and land. They’re hosting the biggest dragon boat festival in the Southern Hemisphere on 16–18 February, with over 3,000 paddlers racing with onboard drummers. Then they’ve got Lunar New Year fireworks on 11, 18 and 25 February, Chinese lion dancing performances on 10 and 17 February, and jet pack water shows with costumed entertainers soaring high over the harbour on 10 and 24 February.

Up in Darling Square there'll be hundreds of lanterns and festive food specials, plus lion dancing on Saturday 10 February at 6pm and 8pm and Saturday 17 February at 6pm. Patrons who spend over $50 at a retailer in the Darling Square precinct on 10 February will receive their own lantern, which can be decorated by a calligrapher between 5pm and 10pm.

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Fascinating Thaitown

Haymarket | Saturday 17 February, 11am–8pm

lunar new year sydney 2024 thaitown
Image credit: Visit Haymarket | Supplied

Fascinating Thaitown is a vibrant, cultural event taking over a laneway in the heart of Thaitown, highlighting the rich tapestry of Thai culture, cuisine, and traditions.

Tucked down a laneway near the corner of Campbell and George Streets, the event will feature a bustling market, live entertainment, a Thai gate art installation, drum procession and 10% discount across dozens of Thaitown venues so you can try more delicious traditional Thai foods.

Market City

13 Hay Street, Haymarket | Saturday 17–Sunday 25 February

To mark the Lunar New Year, Market City will come to life with an immersive display of installations and activity, ushering in the Year of the Dragon with free, interactive and auspicious activities happening every day for a full week, including the must-see lion dances performed on three-metre-high poles.

There’ll be flying dragons sweeping across all three levels, activities like Chinese calligraphy, temporary tattoos and kids lion dance workshops, and the choice of multiple feasts from local eateries like The Eight, Fugetsu, Kogi Korean BBQ, Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet and Beijing Impression.

Lunar New Year Menus And Food Specials

Din Tai Fung

Various locations | Until Saturday 24 February

lunar new year sydney 2024 din tai fung
Image credit: Din Tai Fung | Supplied

Globally esteemed dumpling masters Din Tai Fung have crafted another seasonal dumpling special you need to try; this Lunar New Year's adorable dragon-shaped dumplings are filled with chocolate lava and sea salt, and steamed to order.

Other Lunar New Year specials on offer include black sesame mochi balls to represent abundance (all venues), XO prawn stir-fried noodles for longevity and a prosperity toss salad of 15 ingredients (both only available at Din Tai Fung World Square, Westfield Chatswood and Miranda).

Wild Life Sydney Zoo

 1-5 Wheat Road, Darling Harbour | Friday 9–Thursday 15 February

In collaboration with CBD dumpling house New Shanghai, Wild Life Sydney Zoo is bringing back its all-you-can-eat dumplings event this Lunar New Year after a three-year hiatus.

For $95 per adult and $75 per child, you can indulge in 30 minutes of never-ending dumplings in the company of the zoo’s koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and crocodiles, plus Princess the cassowary and Ringo the wombat. As well as dumplings, you'll be sipping unlimited wines, beers and soft drinks, with 45 minutes of exclusive after-hours access to the zoo prior to dining.

Lotus

Various locations | Monday 9–Sunday 25 February

lunar new year sydney 2024 lotus
Image credit: Lotus | Yusuke Oba

Lotus venues are getting into the spirit of Lunar New Year, serving super cute goldfish-shaped dumplings encasing ling fish and sugar snap peas. Other specials to mark the festivities include prosperity salad (select venues) and full banquet menus​ priced between $88 and $138 at The Galeries, The Gardens by Lotus and Double Bay.

Select venues will also have festive specials like whole steamed fish, barbecue pork platters, and the Dragon's Fire cocktail with 42 Below Vodka, hibiscus, Cointreau, dragonfruit syrup, passionfruit, lemon juice and aquafaba. You can check which specials are available at each venue and book here.

The Bob Hawke Beer & Leisure Centre

8-12 Sydney St, Marrickville | Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 February

lunar new year 2024 hawke's brewing marrickvilleImage credit: Hawke's Brewing Co. | Nikki To

Hawke’s Brewing Co. and in-house retro Chinese restaurant The Lucky Prawn have gone all out and produced a Lunar New Year beer: Hawke’s Lucky Lager is a crisp and dry lager, intended as the perfect pairing with the spice of their Dragon Wings, which will be available at The Bob Hawke Beer & Leisure Centre in Marrickville throughout the weekend.

On Saturday there'll be live entertainment from the Jin Wu Koon Lion Dancers at 7pm, and Sunday will see a festive edition of Lucky Prawn's monthly yum cha going down, with the dancers back at 2pm. Get details and book in here.

Lana

Level 1/5-7 Young Street, Circular Quay | Friday 9 and Saturday 10 February

Located in the historic Hinchcliff House, Lana is effortless, modern Italian dining punctuated with Asian flavours. Executive chef Alex Wong has devised a Prosperity Menu for Lunar New Year 2024, with a line-up featuring oysters with white soy and mandarin, rock lobster spaghetti with black pepper butter and shio kombu, Cape Grim short rib with black vinegar, and a mango budino pancake for afters for $188pp.

Lunar New Year Mahjong Club

Est., Level 1/252 George Street, Sydney CBD | Saturday 17 February, 1.30pm–9pm


Image credit: Johnnie Walker | Supplied

Join Merivale chef Dan Hong and Crazy Rich Asians actor Remy Hii for a luxe Lunar New Year celebration at the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Mahjong Club.

Whether you’re a master of the tiles or trying your hand, ticket options from $60pp include cocktails and snacks, with Dan turning out special menu items for the occasion like king crab and scallop dumplings, rock lobster bao, Wagyu skewers, and Hong Kong egg tarts.

Cocktails will utilise punchy pan-Asian ingredients like ginger, chrysanthemum and pandan, and highlight the newly released Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Dragon, presented in a bottle featuring a dragon.

Botanic House

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney CBD | Friday 9–Tuesday 13 February

Celebrate the arrival of the Wood Dragon surrounded by nature at the stunning breezy Botanic House restaurant by Luke Nguyen. This year's bespoke menus include a shared $105pp lunch menu or $125pp dinner menu with dishes like seared scallops with house-made XO sauce, pork floss and angel hair chilli, a selection of steamd dumplings, and barramundi fillets with bok choy, ice plants, mushrooms with ginger and shallot sauce.

 

Other dragons (born in years 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000) can enjoy a free glass of bubbles when they book tables of four or more.

Spice Temple

10 Bligh Street, Sydney CBD | Monday 5–Sunday 18 February 

lunar new year sydney 2024 spice temple
Image credit: Spice Temple | Supplied

Iconic CBD Chinese restaurant Spice Temple is ushering in the Year of the Dragon with a one-off banquet menu. Available at lunch and dinner for $149pp, the Lunar New Year menu features purse-shaped pipis that represent fortune, tea eggs that signify fertility, noodles that stand for longevity, and red ingredients that stand for prosperity and happiness, and ends on a vanilla chiffon cake with peaches and jasmine tea. 

Easy Tiger

182 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach | Friday 9 and Saturday 10 February

There’s a prosperity banquet going down at Bondi’s Southeast Asian eatery Easy Tiger. The one-off menu includes Hokkaido scallop and prawn with eight treasure and XO spring roll, salt and pepper whole baby barramundi with sambal dabu dabu, roti chanai, and wok-fried mud crab with crispy curry leaves. You can book your seat at the table for $88 here (bookings need to be made by 8 February).

Now fill up the rest of February's calendar with

Main image credit: Darling Square | Supplied

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