The year 2015 is the Chinese Year of the Sheep, Goat or Ram (depending on where you may be) and is celebrated for 16 days, beginning on the 19th February. Chinese New Year is a huge deal in the Chinese community and is celebrated with a number of cultural events, a stand out highlight is also the eating and drinking that goes hand in hand with the festivities. Therefore dining out at one of your favourite Chinese restaurants with friends and family is definitely one of the best things to do at this time of year!!
If you fancy going out for a bite to eat, Leeds has a number of choices to suit tastes and pockets in and around the city centre:
The first three are places where feasting on dim sum to your hearts content is easily done, I could eat it all day long, every day if I had the chance. They’re also good spots if you prefer the full-on banquet too however! Dim sum-wise I find it hard to settle on a few dishes, usually ordering three or four items if I’m being greedy, and with a pot of Chinese tea I’m in my element grazing through each delectable morsel. My go to dishes are classics that will be very common to dim sum lovers I’m sure, being a creature of habit I like what I like and that’s it. The table would probably be filled with ha gau, cheung fun (rice noodle roll) filled with either beef, prawn or char sui, then glutinous rice with lotus leaf and either sui mai or war tip.
Red Chilli located on the corner of the Electric Press is well known for Beijing and Sichuan style cookery. In terms of the food has a large menu full of classics, but is also littered with some unusual fare and less obvious westernised choices than some other establishments, such as their dishes with mutton, offal and hot clay pots.
Here I go for Xiaolongbao (steamed minced pork dumpling), stir fried soft shell crab with garlic and salt which is to die for, guotie (pot-sticker dumplings), and the last time I went we also devoured their Chinese sausage fried rice.
Noodle House is great, found in the city’s rejuvenated Northern Quarter, here you can dive straight into dishes ranging from the humble wonton soup to sliced belly pork at more than reasonable prices. For those really wanting to push the boat out then there’s always the celebratory suckling pig!! More canteen/takeaway style than a restaurant it’s a great place for a relaxed informal feed.
During the celebrations, it’s customary to see restaurants show off speciality dishes with Chinese New Year banquet menus to coincide with the festival. Great for large gatherings!!
Leeds itself will be celebrating with a number of different events being held, such as at Leeds Town Hall with The Leeds Chinese Community Association hosting a Chinese New Year Festival. Here’s people will be entertained with music, dance, the art of Chinese calligraphy and of course food.
The Business Confucius Institute has organised different cultural events at the University of Leeds, I recently attended a dumpling making workshop on the 4th February, one of a number of events held every month. Having a mother who’s pretty awesome at making dumplings, I was taught as a child and often dabble in the art when I feel a craving!!! So the event sounded right up my street and I got my dumpling mojo on, hopefully I’ll be inspired to try new fillings, wrapping techniques and test them out ready for the start of the new year. They also have other events going on such as their Chinese Tea Ceremony and Chinese art paper workshops amongst others.
Harvey Nichols will be serving Chinese New Year Afternoon Tea in their Fourth Floor Cafe from 19th February. If that wasn’t enough then celebrity chef Ching-He Huang has designed a menu especially for the store with her Yin & Yang Menu, running from the 16th – 28th February. The menu is up on their website and sounds pretty amazing, taking you on an experience which will lead you through a whole host of tastes, textures and aromas. Themed cocktails also take their place on the menu too!
So there’s certainly lots of going on in Leeds and I’m definitely looking forward to celebrating, Happy New Year!!!
6 Bingley Street, Leeds, LS3 1LX, 0113 2440552
6 Great George Street, City Centre, Leeds LS1 3DW 0113 242 9688
30-36 Cross Stamford Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS7 1BA, 0113 244 9797
- Noodle House
20 Merrion Street, Leeds, LS1 6PQ, 0113 2433 940