We’re super lucky in HK, we get to celebrate not one but two new years! Who doesn’t love the excitement of Chinese New Year? Whether you’re celebrating by taking a quick holiday overseas with the fam or soaking it in right here in the city, we’ve rounded up all that’s fun and family-friendly around town! From fireworks to parades to street markets and more, it’s all here in our Sassy Mama Guide to Celebrating Chinese New Year 2015!
Festive Field Trips
Head to the flower market between Causeway Bay’s Victoria Park and Fa Hui Park in Prince Edward. Pick up a kumquat tea to bring you prosperity for the year, some seasonal snacks, themed toys and lai see. You can also pick up some gorgeous flowers to deck out your dinner table in style just in time for a family feast!
When: 13-19 February
Where: 14 parks and playgrounds all over Hong Kong including Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island and Fa Hui Park, Mong Kok, Kowloon. See here for more details.
How much: Free!
Hong Kong Disneyland & Ocean Park
Hong Kong’s theme parks will have plenty going on to ring in the Year of the Sheep. Join Mickey and friends at Hong Kong Disneyland and check out the golden walk of fortune and Mickey’s lai see coins. Or you could head Southside to Ocean Park for their CNY party with dazzling decorations and performances.
When: Throughout late January and early February
Where: Hong Kong Disneyland, Sunny Bay, Lantau, Hong Kong; Ocean Park, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
How much: Disneyland: adults $450, children $320; Ocean Park: adults $320, children $160
Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree
Visit Lam Tsuen’s Wishing Tree to participate in the age-old custom of writing your hopes and dream for the year ahead on joss paper and throwing them into the tree’s branches, or releasing ‘wishing lanterns’ into the sky. There is also an exhibition centre for you to learn more about the tradition, plus special performances and shows, yummy food stalls and souvenirs aplenty. Just be prepared for the traffic jam to get into Tai Po on the way there.
When: 19 February – 5 March
Where: Lam Tsuen Wishing Square, Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong
How much: Free
Lunar New Year Cup
Football fans will love the annual Lunar New Year Cup, which takes place at Hong Kong Stadium and promises thrills and spills a-plenty! Our homegrown talent will pit themselves against international teams… go Hong Kong!
When: 19 February, 3.15pm
Where: Hong Kong Stadium, So Kon Po Recreation Ground, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
How much: Tickets start from $100 and are available from Cityline here.
Chinese New Year Race Day
The Chinese New Year Race Day at Sha Tin Racecourse is a classic. Start your Year of the Sheep at the races with festive programmes including lion dances, CNY greetings from the popular jockeys and forecasts from a renowned feng shui master.
When: 21 February
Where: Sha Tin Racecourse, New Territories, Hong Kong
How much: General admission is just $10!
You can also give thanks for the year that’s been, have your fortune told for the year ahead and stock up on some lucky amulets at one of Hong Kong’s many beautiful temples.
The Main Events
Tsim Sha Tsui’s annual Night Parade is a real must-see, with magnificent floats, hundreds of performers from all corners of the globe and a huge street party. This gets seriously busy, so arrive early to claim your spot.
Book a grandstand seat, spectate from along the parade route (the best vantage points are along Canton Road outside Harbour City, Haiphong Road or the junction of Nathan and Peking Roads outside Chungking Mansions) or watch from home – the entire event is broadcast on TVB Jade.
When: 19 February; parade from 8-9.45pm, entertainment from 7pm
Where: Starts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza in Tsim Sha Tsui and proceeds along Canton, Haiphong and Nathan Roads, ending at Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers.
How much: Free viewing along the parade route; $300-400 for spectator seats at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza. Tickets can be purchased at Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centre by the TST Star Ferry Pier.
Chinese New Year Fireworks
The real biggie is the superb fireworks display that takes place in Victoria Harbour each year and this year’s pyrotechnic fiesta will undoubtedly be as jaw-dropping as ever. If you really want to get up close and personal with the lightshow, various tour companies offer firework junk trips in the harbour (see our Junk Guide here!).
When: 20 February; 8pm
Where: Victoria Harbour between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui
How much: Free!
Carnivals & Festivals
AIA The Great European Carnival
If you haven’t checked out The Great European Carnival yet, why not use the holidays to do so? Your little ones will love the mix of rides and carnival atmosphere, and older kids can have a go ice-skating at the rink.
When: now until 22 February, 11am-1pm
Where: Central Harbourfront Event Space, 9 Lung Wo Road, Central, Hong Kong
How much: Tickets are $125 for adults, which includes $100 worth of tokens; $90 for children, which includes $70 worth of tokens. Buy yours here or at the door.
Don’t forget, you can even get a dose of CNY spirit while you’re hitting the shops! All the malls will have themed displays that will give you an excuse to take a breather from your spending spree and some may even have special music or dance performances too. Pacific Place, ifc and Elements all promise to dazzle!
There are plenty of yummy Chinese New Year treats to be enjoyed, and we’ve got just a small selection of the festive menus on offer around town. Needless to say, wherever you decide to go, make sure you book early to avoid disappointment (and to guarantee a good view!).
Of course, up there on the list of things to do this Lunar New Year is gathering the family together to eat! Pretty much every restaurant in town will have something going on for CNY, so here’s just a selection of the places that are on the Sassy Mama menu for a festive feast with a view or two! And if you have a sweet tooth then of course we’ve got you covered too!
T’ang Court, The Langham Hong Kong
Dine at T’ang Court where the executive chef has created a traditional lunar new year menu with dishes that carry auspicious meanings. Your taste buds will enjoy the baked shrimp with champagne and coriander as well as golden-fried beancurd stuffed with egg and spinach. The home-made puddings are to die for too!
The new year menu is only available from 19-25 February, with dim sum available during lunch service only. Book now so you don’t miss out!
T’ang Court at The Langham Hong Kong, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2132 7898, www.hongkong.langhamhotels.com
One Harbour Road at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
Celebrate CNY at One Harbour Road, the Chinese restaurant at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. The authentic menu features a casserole of assorted veggies, slow-cooked pork knuckle (yum!) and slow-cooked beancurd dumplings.
The new year menu is available from 16 to 28 February during both lunch and dinner. If you need something special to take to a friend’s house when you visit, why not order an assorted pudding gift set from Grand Hyatt? Rice pudding, turnip cake and more… your recipient will surely love these treats!
One Harbour Road at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2584 7722, www.hongkong.grand.hyatt.com
The menu at Cuisine Cuisine in ifc (not to be confused with the one at The Mira hotel), combines luxurious ingredients with symbolic meanings. So feast on bird’s nest, shredded abalone and roasted duck tossed in an abalone sauce for prosperity, poached garoupa filet with tomato in a fish broth for wealth. That’s just a taste of what’s on offer at the classy Chinese resto!
The new year menu is available from 19 February to 5 March for lunch or dinner.
Cuisine Cuisine, Shop 3101, Podium Level 3, ifc mall, Central, Hong Kong, 2393 3933, www.miradining.com/cuisine-cuisine-ifc
If you’re more concerned about getting an awesome view of the fireworks rather than getting a traditional Chinese menu, book a table at Wooloomooloo Prime in TST on 20 February. There’s a five course menu for $988, which includes a citrus cured Hamachi, as well as a dukkah-encrusted Australian lamb rack or Atlantic cod to choose from for mains. Finish your meal with a classic lemon meringue tart.
Wooloomooloo Prime, Level 21 The ONE, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2870 0087, www.wooloo-mooloo.com
Planning to stay in but don’t want to cook? No problem – Secret Ingredient’s got you covered. They’ve got a succulent crackling pork on offer for CNY that’s roasted to perfection! Their menu includes all the trimmings such as lemongrass rice, a homemade mustard dipping sauce and baby Chinese cabbage, all for $555. It’s enough to feed four people!
Secret Ingredient, 2108 4000, www.secretingredient.com.hk
Take-home sweets and treats
Duddell’s x Goods of Desire
Michelin-starred chef Siu Hin-Chi has created two cakes for CNY: new year cake and the classic turnip cake. Buy vouchers from G.O.D. and pick up a box of your favourite cakes from Duddell’s in Central. The packaging is bound to be stunning and quirky at the same time, thanks to G.O.D.’s touch!
A box of new year cake costs $270 and a box of turnip cake costs $370.
Pick up at Duddell’s, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2525 9191, www.duddells.co
Pierre Hermé Paris
Celebrate the Year of the Goat with one of Pierre Hermé Paris’ new macaron flavours! They include mandarin orange macarons and jasmine, mango and grapefruit-flavoured macarons. These are available at their K11 pop-up store from 28 January to 1 March, then available at all boutiques from 2 March onwards. If you need some gift inspiration, their 20-piece festival initiation gift box works a treat, too!
One of our favourite bakeries is doing gift boxes with deliciously sweet treats all in the name of bringing good luck! Ring in the new year with a fortune cookie box (come on, who wouldn’t love to receive an extra dose of good fortune?!), or a chocolate flower and gold coin sandwich which is a perfect gift for kids. The refreshing Kung Hei Fat Choi blackcurrant tart makes a great pudding, too.
Brighten up your living space with one of the alluring Tu Textile cushions. Some say the bold red colour is lucky during this time of year, and the symbols and Chrysanthemum designs will add a Chinese touch to your home.
Need an easy way to give lai see packets? Giftwell are offering gift cards to the value of $888 and $999 which can be used to redeem items at more than 50 of our favourite brands around town! Whether it’s for a foodie or a shopaholic, they’ll surely appreciate this cute gift card!
Place your order here before noon on 18 February latest for it to be delivered to you or your recipient on 19 February.
Converse are known for their trendy, arty and comfortable high-tops, but we’re spotlighting their backpack from their CNY 2015 collection. You’ll be the coolest gal around town and whether you’re giving or receiving lai see packets, you’ll be able to carry them all around…
Add a splash of red to your wardrobe with Ralph Lauren’s red and black purse from the Ricky collection. This swish, classy wallet will take pride of place in your handbag, and if you feel like matching, there’s a handbag in the same style and colour to go with it!
Still wondering what red item to add to your wardrobe for the season? The classic red Boston bag from Ril Creed is functional and stylish and will go great with those greys and blacks you wear to work.
Ril Creed, Shop 3-15E, 3/F SOGO Department Store, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2831 3956, www.rilcreed.com
That’s it from us, mama! Let’s stop sashaying around with the Year of the Snake and usher in the Year of the Sheep with a baaaaang!