By the lunar calendar, January 31 marks the Year of the Wooden Horse—a year that could bring you luck, adventure, and fortune (if you believe in that kind of thing). And though it’s regularly heralded as Chinese New Year, it’s actually a date celebrated in Korean and Vietnamese culture as well.
We’re not above ordering a to-go box of chow mein and eating it alone on the couch, but if you care to ring in the year with a little more culinary fanfare, here are a few options:
Monsoon and Monsoon East
Chefs Sophie and Eric Banh will be celebrating Tết on January 31 with traditional Vietnamese dishes like bánh Tét, a sticky rice roll with mung bean and pork belly, and chả lụa, pork mousse served with sticky rice and pickled veggies. All the dishes will be $12, and they’ll be served in addition to the normal Monsoon menu. At Monsoon East, diners will also have the option to partake in a whole Dungeness crab, served four ways, for $30.
The venue is hosting an evening celebration of all things Chinese on January 31 with a 7pm performance that includes martial arts, singers, calligraphers, and dancers. Plan accordingly and you can pair your $20 ticket with a dinner of Wild Ginger fragrant duck or seven flavor beef from the Asian fusion menu. The show is all-ages, but there are cocktails for grown-ups.
Lunar New Year Festival
Every year, the ID throws a neighborhood-wide party, complete with dragon dances, musical performances, and stuff to keep the kiddos happy. But the most delicious part of the fete is the food walk: More than 30 participating restaurants will be offering $2 tastes of noodles, dumplings, egg rolls, buns, skewers, you name it. The festival and food walk both run 11-4 on February 1, and you can download a menu here.
Back in 2011, Seattle Met put out a comprehensive guide to Asian restaurants in Seattle, and thanks to the success of most of these places, it’s largely still relevant. Browse through the categories to find a restaurant that best suites your tastes, but when you’re planning your evening out, keep in mind that New Year’s Eve is the big family dinner in Chinese culture, so these restaurants may be very busy on January 30 and 31. Recently opened spots you won’t find on there (but may be worth a try): Din Tai Fung’s U Village outpost for steamy soup dumplings, and Boiling Point, a hot pot restaurant next to Uwajimaya that’s great for group dining.
Happy New Year!