Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chinese New Year in NYC's Chinatown...

Kris and I stopped by NYC's Chinatown for some dim sum yesterday and on our way to the restaurant we encountered over a dozen colorful lion dances performed by local kung fu clubs.

Shop owners hang lettuce and red envelopes above their storefront so the good luck lions will visit and perform the traditional 'eating of the greens' ceremony.

This lion got a mouthful (handful?) of lettuce and oranges before spitting them out:

Watch out for flying fruit! I almost got nailed by a wayward orange, but apparently that's good luck.

We also saw a few dragons wind their way down the streets of Chinatown:

A short clip of the lion and dragon dances we saw yesterday:

And although we missed the firecracker ceremony last weekend, we easily made our own mischief with a couple of boxes of party snap noisemakers (yes we have the maturity of 5 year olds):

I cracked up over the warning label on the box (who would actually put these in their mouth?!):

We eventually made it to Dim Sum Go Go for lunch and both ordered the dim sum platter, 10 pieces of assorted steamed dumplings:

The duck dumplings were our favorite, with the crabmeat dumplings coming in a close second.

Kris always gets an order of the turnip cakes (crispy crust, creamy interior):

We also tried the pumpkin cakes (sweet and custard-like, with a unique flavor and fragrance that reminded us of pandan essence):

Later on we stopped at
Joe's Ginger for some crabmeat and pork steamed buns (a.k.a xiao long bao/ soup dumplings):

I also had a sudden craving for jellyfish (What? L
ike you've never had a jellyfish craving

Served cold, tossed in a delicate sesame marinade...not much to look at but delicious and very refreshing.

For dessert, we followed our noses down the street to the egg ball waffle cart and got a bag of 15 little cakes for a $1.

GUNG HEI FAT CHOY! Happy Year of the Tiger :)



Daily Spud said...

Dancing dragons and firecrackers are all very well, but I'm intrigued by the turnip cakes - go figure!

KennyT said...

I didn't know the lucky lions "eat" oranges too! That's interesting!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Looks like you had a fun time in NYC! Happy CNY.

Heavenly Housewife said...

What a fun day out :D. You know, I think I have a hand inside my belly that comes out to grab food too. That would explain a lot.
*kisses* HH

Anonymous said...

A fun time, such a festive celebration! And all the dim sum look delicious!

Phyllis said...

Daily Spud: the radish cake (lo bak goh) is made with daikon and is one of our favorite dishes at dim sum :)

KennyT: I think the oranges are there as a 'test' for the lion, which he obviously passed because they were spit out rather violently!

Nate: So much fun! I can't get enough of the lion dances. Happy CNY!

Heavenly Housewife: LOL!!!

5 Star Foodie: We actually meant to stop at another dim sum place later on but I got too distracted with all the festivities :)

Justin said...

hmm, i was there for the parade too. it would have been funny if i stopped into dim sum go go and saw you guys, except that i really never go there. i like it, but it's just too $$ for chinatown. joe's is a little pricey too for that area. i'm all about the down-and-dirty spots, i guess. anyway, i guess you had fun. the weather was pretty decent. i actually didn't bother eating anywhere yesterday because all the good spots were too crowded, no surprise.

Tangled Noodle said...

What fun! You know, I don't think I've ever witnessed a live dragon dance before. 8-( So thanks for these great pics, especially of the dim sum. [Drooling]

Are those party snap noisemakers called 'watusi' by any chance - like little sticks? Those are the kinds I remember playing with during New Year's in the Philippines. Now I'm feeling nostalgic and hungry! 8-)

Phyllis said...

Justin: Actually, we were there the day before the parade so it was nice surprise to see some lion dances. I heard that over 500,000 people showed up for the official parade this year and the crowd was 10 people deep! Down-and-dirty is definitely the way to go when it comes to value for money, but I was really curious about all the hype with Dim Sum Go Go and Joe's. I'm glad that we tried it, but you are right about the prices being high. I guess that's what you have to pay if you don't want to share a table :)

Tangled Noodle: I hadn't seen a lion dance since I was a kid, so I was incredibly excited to run into so many that day. My hubby was unbelievably patient with me, letting me watch the festivities for hours. The party snap makers weren't 'watusi', they were tiny wrapped rocks that you throw forcefully on the ground so they 'snap' - great fun!

foodhoe said...

How fun! I find the beating drums and crackling firecrackers following the cavorting dragons to be quite exhilarating! Haven't seen one live in a long time. And now I"m craving dimsum...

Justin said...

oh, i see -- not likely i would have run into you though with all those people in chinatown at once. but about the parade on the actual day, you just have to know where to go to avoid the major crowds. i was on an off-street and just walked right up to the railing. and i understand about the $$ places -- definitely worth a try. i just wouldn't go to them on a regular basis.

Carolyn Jung said...

The parade pics remind me of growing up in SF as a kid. We'd freeze on the sidewalks watching the annual parade. But it was worth it. Those egg pancake balls are intriguing. Never seen the likes of those here, unfortunately.

Phyllis said...

Carolyn: The smell of the egg pancake balls is hard to resist. We're looking forward to trying the real deal in Hong Kong this Sept!

Bette said...

There is only one thing better than shopping in Hong Kong, and that's eating. From small noodle joints to upscale French restaurant, you will locate all sorts of restaurant, eating hall and snack stall on earth in Hong Kong. Here I found small amount of Hong-Kong-styled snacks online ( This is definitely a good choice before I have $ for another trip.

Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

It's 2012 and again a Happy Chinese New Year. Such a colorful celebration.