Gong xi fa cai! Meaning “wishing you to be prosperous in the coming year,” this Mandarin greeting is traditionally offered this time of near as Lunar New Year approaches, kicking off the beginning of a new lunisolar calendar year. Lunar New Year is observed in many countries and by a wide range of cultures, including many Asian cultures such as China, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, and more. Here in Pittsburgh, several local Asian restaurants are celebrating the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit with tasty special menu items as well as regular classics that are sure to bring you luck and prosperity in the new year. Read on to discover six of our favorites:
If you haven’t had a chance to check out Pittsburgh’s newest dim sum and Cantonese BBQ joint from chef Roger Li, make sure you stop by to try their Lunar New Year Specials! Only available between January 24-28, the menu will feature specials that celebrate the flavors of the holiday along with unique cocktails like “The Red Envelope” with hibiscus-infused Ming River Baijiu, mandarin orange, orange liqueur, chili, and yuzu and “The Year of the Rabbit” with Ming River Baijiu, Lucky Sign Vodka, chrysanthemum ginger and St. Germain elderflower liqueur that is served as a sparkling highball.
Obviously, it’s not just China that celebrates Lunar New Year, so why not celebrate with Pittsburgh’s most beloved (and top-rated!) Korean restaurant? Bae Bae’s Kitchen offers a menu packed with crave-able, savory dishes like stir-fried japchae sweet potato noodles, bibimbap, Korean fried chicken wings, and so much more! Don’t forget you can also enjoy a wide range of beverages, both alcoholic and NA, as well as assorted baked goods from Bae Bae’s Cafe.
Looking to try a little bit of everything? Try Mola, opened by chefs Alex Tang and Mimi Lee to “share authentic, delicious Asian foods” with the ‘Burgh! At Mola, you can enjoy a wide range of cuisines and foods – but know that everything is fresh, high-quality, and, perhaps most importantly, tasty. Where else can you sit down and enjoy edomae-style sushi, hand rolls rice bowls, bao buns, bubble tea, and delicious desserts? Plus, Mola offers a robust cocktail menu with unique flavors and Asian imported beers!
For a memorable Lunar New Year celebration, reserve your seats ASAP for dinner at Soba! From January 23 to 28, guests can enjoy a special menu with dishes that incorporate classic Asian flavors whole black bass with ginger-scallion sauce, maitake fried rice with roasted winter squash, and rice cake stir fry with bok choy and shiitake bacon. Don’t forget to order a round of cocktails – or maybe some sake – to take your celebration to the next level!
Since 2006, Jimmy Wan’s Restaurant & Lounge has been a top choice for contemporary, responsibly-sourced Asian cuisine in Pittsburgh. Stop by either of its two locations to enjoy both traditional and innovative dishes alongside fresh sushi, creative cocktails and so much more! Check out their full menu for meals that are just right for Lunar New Year, like the crispy whole red snapper (often considered a lucky food!), which you can enjoy for dine-in, takeout, or even delivery.
The saucily-named Thai Me Up should not be overlooked when it comes to enjoying a delicious, flavorful Asian meal this Lunar New Year. Enjoy savory, herb-packed dishes like chive dumplings, lemongrass soup, eggplant with basil leaves, and massaman curry with sweet potatoes. Best of all, it’s located right next door to Sweet Panda Asian Market, where you can shop for all the ingredients you need to make a Lunar New Year meal at home!This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.