New Moon, New Me

How to Celebrate the Lunar New Year

At home, or in person, but not sans dumplings.

By Malia Alexander

The Year of the Tiger is upon us. But with omicron running rampant, Chinatown–International District Business Improvement Area has decided to postpone its annual festivities in the neighborhood until April. You can still celebrate the first new moon on the lunisolar calendar February 1 with a few in-person (and virtual) events—and a bevy of takeout options too.

In Person

Through Feb 28
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Up in the wine epicenter of Woodinville at the state’s founding winery, a string of events includes some version of a wine pairing. Their Lunar New Year Feast (Jan 29) delivers a six-course menu with dishes like a prime sirloin bibimbap and banchan favorites, all equipped with sips from their cellar. A pop-up dim sum and wine experience is also in the mix until February 28. The lantern festival (Feb 12) takes place in the morning and afternoon with martial arts performances, and dragon and tiger dances. Chateau Ste. Michelle, various

Feb 1
Woodland Park Zoo
Azul and Bumi, Woodland Park Zoo's resident Malayan tigers, star in the animal sanctuary's Year of the Tiger celebration, with a tiger discovery station that lets you learn more about the endangered species. Tiger talks at 11am and 2pm show off the impressive felines. Woodland Park Zoo, free with admission

Feb 2-6
Ba Sa
A 35-minute ferry ride delivers us to Trinh and Thai Nguyen’s spot on Bainbridge Island. The siblings will prepare specialty plates that include sticky rice stuffed with pork belly or salt steamed chicken to celebrate the Year of the Tiger. The specials are available at the start of the new moon through the following weekend, ending with a traditional lion dance and some of those red envelopes. Ba Sa, free to attend

Feb 12 & 13
Tết in Seattle
For its 25th year, the organization hosts a two-day celebration to commemorate the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. The show goes on as part of Seattle Center’s Festál with an ao dai fashion show, a selection of traditional Vietnamese foods, and even a health fair that provides free services and screenings. Seattle Center, free  

Feb 12
Seattle Night Market: Lunar New Year
The monthly bazaar’s plethora of local shops rings in the new year with a handful of performances from DJs and a dragon dance from Mak Fai. Magnuson Park Hangar 30, $10–20

Feb 19
Asia Pacific Cultural Center New Year Celebration
Returning from the shackles of virtual livestreams is Tacoma’s heritage center’s annual extravaganza filled with arts and crafts, food booths, and live entertainment from the likes of Mongolia, Japan, and Samoa. Asia Pacific Cultural Center, free

At Home

Dumplings, spring rolls, noodles, and some kind of seafood are the makings of a good-fortune meal, regardless the time of year. But for reunion dinner, which takes place on the eve of the new year, families gather with these staples (and more) in hopes of bringing good luck for the coming year. Don’t forget to bring your own oranges.


Capitol Hill and Bellevue

Not only did the longstanding Vietnamese restaurant make our 100 Best Restaurants list, they also offer takeout, which can include those killer imperial rolls. 

Raised Doughnuts and Cakes

Central District 

Year-round, Mi Kim creates a lineup of mochi doughnuts that rotate with different weekend specials like a matcha strawberry or chocolate mint. But for the Year of the Tiger, the shop is whipping up glazed mochi doughnuts and brown sugar shortbread tiger cookies, January 29 and 30. If you want your sweet treats on February 1, place a pre-order ahead of time. 


South Lake Union, Edmonds, Tukwila, and Bellevue

The more mochi the merrier, and when it takes the form of delightfully chewy, gloriously fried form, all the better. Mochinut rings in the new year with two special flavors of its mochi doughnuts just for the occasion: sesame ball and berry fortune. These are on offer through February 6.

Vietnamese Restaurant Guide

In Vietnam, the Lunar New Year is known as Tết, short for Tết Nguyên Đán, and festivities include those iconic celebrations we all associate with the holiday—like eating delicious food. Luckily, we have a guide to some of our favorite Vietnamese restaurants in the city that aren’t afraid to send you off with some takeout pho or a banh mi.

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